Afghanistan War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

By:  Steve Chabot
Date: March 17, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CHABOT. Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you for your steadfast commitment to the men and women who gallantly serve our country on the battlefield.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the resolution. First, let me get one argument out of the way. I've heard before some of my colleagues who support an American retreat from Afghanistan describe this effort as a fiscal matter. I would respond to that argument by simply stating that it's not a question of whether we can afford to fund a military presence in Afghanistan, it's a matter of whether we can afford not to, particularly at this point.

I think my colleagues know that I'm very uncomfortable spending taxpayer dollars without a solid justification, and I would match my fiscal conservative credentials with anybody in this body. But when it comes to national security and when it comes to the care and protection of our troops in harm's way, we must not be, to use a phrase that you often hear on this floor, penny wise and pound foolish.

Further, a premature withdrawal of American troops from the Afghan theater would send a terrible message to both our friends and also to our adversaries. To our allies in the war on terrorism whom we would leave essentially twisting in the wind, to those 47 other nations that have joined the coalition in Afghanistan, we would essentially be saying, ``Good luck. You're on your own.'' Not exactly what they had in mind when they joined us in this fight.

And, of course, to al Qaeda and to the Taliban, whom we would embolden by adopting this ill-advised resolution, we would be providing, once again, the sanctuary which they enjoyed in Afghanistan before our Armed Forces reversed their momentum.

I don't often find myself in agreement with President Obama's policies, but I did agree with him when he said a little more than a year ago, ``I am convinced that our security is at risk in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak.'' That was President Obama.

I also agree with General Petraeus who said last week that ``our core objective in Afghanistan, needless to say, is to ensure that the country does not become a sanctuary once again for al Qaeda, the way it was prior to 9/11.''

I know memories fade with time, but it's been not quite 10 years since 3,000 lives were lost on American soil--in New York, in Pennsylvania, and just minutes from here down the street at the Pentagon. Let's not forget what al Qaeda did then and let's keep working to prevent it from happening again. Let's not quit until the job is done.

Vote ``no'' on this resolution.

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