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Afghanistan War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, first, any suggestion that this is any way disrespectful of the sacrifice of our troops is nonsense. Saying that we do not want brave Americans to continue in a very difficult situation in which they are at a great disadvantage and that in fact we would like to bring them home is no criticism of them at all, and nothing undermines their ability to be there. There is a policy decision as to whether they should be there.

Now my friend from Washington and my friend from California have said, well, this isn't the right forum parliamentarily, and my friend from Washington said, yes, we should have a change in strategy but not this way. But this is all we've got.

Right now, the Members have a choice, and that's the way this place is now being run: Either you vote for this resolution or you vote it down and you give an implicit and, in some cases, explicit approval to the administration to stay there indefinitely. General Petraeus said the other day he sees us jointly there with the Afghans well after 2014.

Now, yes, there is some gain we could get in deterring terrorism there, although the notion that if we stop terrorism in Afghanistan, that's going to be the end of it when there are unfortunately other places in the world--Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, elsewhere. We can't plug every hole in the world. And in fact this is an effort that, having been tried for 10 years, has not, unfortunately, looked to me like it's going to succeed.

We're told, well, but this was important because we deterred an attack on Europe. But where are the Europeans? The thing that most astounded me today was when my friend from Ohio (Mr. Chabot) said, well, what about our 47 coalition partners? What about them? They're sitting this one out. They're pulling out. This is a virtually unilateral American action with a couple of flags that we fly for a few other countries. Some of them did have people there and they've suffered casualties, but they're all withdrawing, leaving us alone.

And then let's talk about the cost of this war. The gentleman from Ohio said it's not a fiscal issue. Of course it is. This war costs us well over $100 billion a year. You will see Americans die from a lack of police and fire and public safety here if you continue to fund this futile war.

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