* Mr. Speaker, ten years ago today the United States pursued the perpetrators of 9/11 into the mountains of Afghanistan. Our original mission--which I supported--was to bring justice to members of al Qaeda who planned and executed one of the largest mass murders in history and the Taliban who enabled al Qaeda.
* Members of the U.S. military have done everything that has been asked of them. They have fought heroically, and have selflessly served their country.
* But, thanks to strategic and diplomatic missteps, a disastrous and unnecessary war in Iraq that distracted the U.S. from accomplishing our original mission, and the pursuit of failed policies, we have lost our way in Afghanistan.
* The war in Afghanistan has cost the United States greatly in lives and taxpayer dollars. We have lost more than 1,700 American troops in Afghanistan, with this past August being the deadliest month. Tens of thousands of Americans have been injured, maimed or made permanently disabled. Meanwhile, we continue to hemorrhage taxpayer dollars trying to sustain an unsustainable war. To date, the U.S. has spent $454 billion--nearly half a trillion dollars--in Afghanistan.
* As we make drastic cuts in infrastructure, education, social services, and federal programs here at home, we are spending tens of billions of dollars per year to build critical infrastructure in Afghanistan, investing in roads and bridges in Afghanistan, and training Afghan troops and law enforcement officers.
* That's wrong. We should use that money to hire teachers here at home, modernize our schools, repave our crumbling roads, rebuild our failing bridges, put sheriffs back on the roads and police back on the street.
* It is long past time to bring this ten year war--the longest in the history of the United States--to a responsible end. I will continue to do everything I can in Congress to bring our troops home and to reinvest scarce federal resources in rebuilding our own country, rather than nation building in a failed state half a world away.