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Afghanistan War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, my colleagues, we're debating the wrong resolution here today.

We should be debating a resolution that honors the continuing sacrifice, service, the courage and the steadfastness of our men and women in uniform--all volunteers--as they work to carry out their missions in the global war on terror. And their families back at home.

These warriors serve today in Afghanistan, and yes, in Iraq.

Both are active war zones where there are no ``front lines'' and every deployed servicemember lays his or her life on the line every day.

And they have made significant progress. General Petreaus told our Defense Subcommittee this morning that ``The momentum of the Taliban has been halted in much of the country and reversed in some important areas.''

The Afghan Security Forces are growing in number and capability.

And the day when we turn all operations over to the Afghans gets closer and closer.

None of this has been easy.

Progress has been made through hard fighting and considerable sacrifice of so many Americans and our allies.

There have been tough losses along the way. And there have been setbacks as well as successes.

But instead of debating a resolution that honors the sacrifice of our brave warfighters, we are considering a measure that seeks to ``turn off the lights and slam the door as we withdraw.''

Well, we've been down this road before.

Two decades ago we celebrated alongside our Afghan allies as the invading Russian military rolled back into the USSR in defeat.

And when the celebration ended, we walked away--we did not follow-up with the necessary investments in diplomacy and development assistance, turning our back on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Had we not done that in the early 1990s, we would have better secured our own country's future, as well as peace and stability in the region.

Instead of intensifying our humanitarian efforts to help the Afghans meet their postwar challenges, we simply walked away--leaving a destroyed country that lacked roads, schools, and any plan or hope for rebuilding.

Into this void marched the Taliban and al-Qaeda. My Colleagues, as they say, ``the rest is history'' for the Afghans and for all Americans:

Horrors perpetrated on Afghan men, women and children;

A curtain of oppression which denied half the population--women--any rights and dignity; Closed schools. Destroyed cultural institutions and national treasures;

A modern-day Dark Ages;

Mr. Speaker, the resolution we debate today would have us repeat that sad and dangerous saga.

I urge defeat of the resolution.

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