Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan:
Promoting peace at home and abroad is one of my top priorities as a Member of Congress. I believe Congress has a Constitutional obligation to debate the wisdom of fighting wars. I serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee, which oversees U.S. diplomatic and national security interests throughout the world. I have visited both Iraq and Afghanistan and I believe that it is time for the United States to start winding down both conflicts. Over the last decade, we have spent over a trillion dollars on war -- funds that could have been used to create jobs, rebuild our nation's infrastructure, and educate our children.
After almost nine years and the sacrifices made by thousands of our brave service men and women, the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is not succeeding. In order to defeat the Taliban, the Afghan government must build up its own police force, crack down on corruption, empower women, and strengthen civil society. I believe that reducing the U.S. military footprint and increasing civilian assistance in Afghanistan will both save lives and assist the process of democratization.
I believe that the United States pursued an unwise and unnecessary war with Iraq and I have consistently voted against continuing to fund this war without specific timelines to withdraw our troops. Thanks in part to the tireless efforts of advocates for peace -- all the way from President Obama and Congressional leaders, to the activists on the Lake Street Bridge in Minneapolis -- the United States officially ended combat operations in Iraq on September 1st, 2010. Despite this victory for peace, there are many important lessons that I believe we must learn from the lead-up to the Iraq War and its execution -- mistakes that we must never repeat as a nation.