Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, it's time, after a decade, to wind down this American-Afghanistan adventure. With his speech last night, President Obama started a process America needs to accelerate, removing 100,000 combat troops from Afghanistan.
I supported the initial move 10 years ago against the Taliban in Afghanistan. It began on a very hopeful note, even with nations like Iran working with the United States in that critical 2001-2002 post-9/11 era.
It was a tragic mistake not to finish the job and withdraw with global support. Instead, the Bush administration, sadly, with support from too many in Congress, started a reckless, flawed and ultimately tragic war in Iraq.
President Obama reasonably says that we won't try to make Afghanistan a perfect place. We won't because we can't. America has already invested enough, direct costs of over 1,500 American lives, approaching one-half trillion dollars. Indirect and long-term will be much greater. Bear in mind, we have invested $2 trillion in the war against terror, and the long-term costs are going to be between $4 trillion and $6 trillion.
In Afghanistan, ultimately there will be a negotiated settlement with the least, worst guys, the Taliban and warlords, assorted tribal strongmen. It's already started.
We cannot afford to continue this effort, not when crying needs are here in America to rebuild and renew our country.
Last week, the American mayors got it right when they called this question and called for renewed investment here at home. The tragedy is that it's not ultimately going to make that much difference the longer we're there and the more we fight. Whether it's going to be 1 year, 2 years, 10 years, far in the future, it's not going to look that much different in terms of the ultimate outcome in Afghanistan.
America needs to be engaged in this dangerous region. It needs to help Afghanistan. It needs to help the Pakistani people. It needs to be involved, both diplomatically and with development assistance. No longer do we need to have combat troops being a part of that mission.