Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) gave the following statement at a press conference on the growing support for an expedited withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan:
"Good morning. We're here today because, on the eve of the NATO summit in Chicago, a bipartisan group of 86 members has written to the President asking for an expedited withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. Our current Afghanistan policy is on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of moral decency and also on the wrong side of public opinion.
"When are policymakers in Washington finally going to catch up with the American people? Public support for the war in Afghanistan is now at barely one-quarter of the country -- 27 %. And this is not a partisan issue -- only 37% of Republicans still favor this ongoing war that is undermining our national security.
"The American people aren't blind. They see a military occupation that has gone on more than a decade that has killed nearly 2,000 Americans and wounded thousands more that has not brought security or stability to Afghanistan that is costing billions every month -- and they know it's a raw deal for everyone.
"At the last NATO Summit in late 2010, we learned that the war would be extended until 2014. Now in advance of the NATO Summit beginning next week, the President has signed an agreement with the Afghan government that would lock us into a military commitment for years to come.
"We're moving in the wrong direction. Instead of extending this war, we should be expediting the full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. That's not just Lynn Woolsey talking. That's not a dozen members of Congress talking. That's a convincing majority of the American people talking.
"It's time we moved to a Smart Security approach to global engagement. In Afghanistan and in other parts of the world, we need to emphasize development, diplomacy and humanitarian aid. For a fraction of the cost, a peaceful, civilian surge can do more to advance our national security goals than any military surge.
"ThomasFriedman of the New York Times put it best. He was talking about arms sales to Egypt, but the lesson applies in Afghanistan and elsewhere: "how about we stop being stupid? How about we stop sending planes and tanks to a country where half the women and a quarter of the men can't read, and start sending scholarships instead?"