Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. This Friday, October 7, marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Afghanistan. Our men and women in uniform have fought valiantly in this war over the last decade at great cost. More than 1,700 American soldiers have lost their lives as they fought to destroy al Qaeda and hunt down Osama bin Laden. Thousands more have come home with very serious life-long injuries.
When I'm at home in California and talk with veterans and their families, I can see how much our soldiers have sacrificed. I want to offer my sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the men and women in uniform who have carried out their duty in Afghanistan.
As the anniversary approaches, I am thinking particularly of Army Captain John Hallett III of Concord, California, in my congressional district, and his family. Captain Hallett was killed in action in southern Afghanistan on August 25, 2009. I was honored to have provided him a congressional nomination to the West Point Academy.
This week, all of us should honor the tremendous sacrifices our men and women in uniform made for their country in Afghanistan. And our objective in Afghanistan has been achieved--Osama bin Laden has been killed, and few al Qaeda members remain in the country. Yet, unfortunately, our troops in Afghanistan are now bogged down in an unending and deadly war with the Taliban and defending the corrupt Afghan Government. To this day, the government in Kabul, led by President Karzai, has not been able to take charge of its country, even as it has been able to provide enormous favors for the President's cronies and family.
In these difficult times, we cannot afford to spend tens of billions of dollars per month defending a corrupt regime. We cannot afford to continue to provide payments to contractors who turn around and use those payments to pay off the very same Taliban who are killing our troops in Afghanistan. But above all, our soldiers cannot be asked to continue to risk their lives for years and years to come. Instead, it is time to bring all of our troops home and to invest in America instead. By doing so, we can honor the enormous sacrifice that our troops have made, and at the same time ensure that they have a strong and prosperous country to come home to.