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Afghanistan War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McKEON. Mr. Speaker, I join with my colleagues from the Foreign Services Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, and my colleagues from the Armed Services Committee in opposition to this resolution. This resolution would undermine the efforts of our military commanders and troops as they work side by side with their Afghan and coalition partners.

Yesterday, in his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, General Petraeus, commander of the U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan, described significant progress made by our troops and Afghan forces. But while the United States is on track to accomplish our objectives by 2014, the general also warned that this hard-fought progress is fragile and reversible; and he urged that continued support from this Congress for our mission in Afghanistan is vital to success.

When asked specifically how our troops and enemies would view the resolution before us today, General Petraeus stated: The Taliban and al Qaeda obviously would trumpet this as a victory. Needless to say, it would completely undermine everything our troopers have fought so much and sacrificed so much for.

Mr. Speaker, when the President authorized a surge of 30,000 additional troops, he reminded us of why we are in Afghanistan. It's the epicenter of where al Qaeda planned and launched the 9/11 attacks against innocent Americans. It remains vital to the national security of this country to prohibit the Taliban from once again providing sanctuary to al Qaeda leaders.

Moreover, withdrawing before completing our mission would reinforce extremist propaganda that Americans are weak and unreliable allies and could facilitate extremist recruiting and future attacks.

Like most Republicans, I supported the President's decision to surge in Afghanistan. I believe that with additional forces, combined with giving General Petraeus the time, space and resources he needs, we can win this conflict.

During a visit last week with our troops in Afghanistan, Secretary Gates observed the closer you get to this fight, the better it looks. Having just returned myself from Afghanistan a few weeks ago, I couldn't agree more.

Our delegation to Afghanistan met with senior military commanders and diplomats, talked to airmen at Bagram, marines in Helmand and soldiers in Kandahar. It was clear to our delegation that our forces have made significant gains and have reversed the Taliban's momentum.

Our forces and their Afghan partners have cleared enemy strongholds, swept up significant weapons caches, and given more Afghans the confidence to defy the Taliban. We have made considerable progress in growing and professionalizing Afghanistan's army and police so these forces are more capable and reliable partners to our own troops.

As significant as our troops' achievements in the fields are, they can easily be undone by poor decisions made here in Washington. Today's debate is not being conducted in a vacuum. Our troops are listening. Our allies are listening.


Mr. McKEON. The Taliban and al Qaeda are also listening. And, finally, the Afghan people are listening.

Mr. Speaker, I want to send a clear message to the Afghan people and government, our coalition partners, our military men and women that this Congress will stand firm in our commitment to free us from the problems that the Taliban created for us on 9/11. We will not have this sanctuary ever happen again.


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