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Public Statements

Afghanistan

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. JONES. Yesterday was a remembrance of a tragedy beyond belief that happened to America on 9/11. There's another tragedy taking place, but it happens to be in Afghanistan. The tragedy is our young men and women are going there to give their life for a corrupt leader and a policy that will never change Afghanistan.

During the August break I had the privilege, like most Members of Congress, to be in my district to speak to numerous civic clubs. Two of the clubs I spoke to were retired military groups, one being the American Legion. Every time I talked about the failed policy in Afghanistan and the need to bring our troops home, I got applause. And I'm not a great speaker. But our military has done everything that it can do.

Three marines from my district at Camp Lejeune were in Afghanistan training Afghans to be policemen, and one of the trainees turned around and shot and killed three marines. This isn't the first time it's happened, and it's not the first time that I've lost marines from the Third District of North Carolina. But the person they were training was an Afghan officer in the police force. It is an absolutely unwinnable situation. The purpose that the former President, Mr. Bush, said we're going to Afghanistan for is to get bin Laden. Well, he's dead. To disperse al Qaeda. It is dispersed.

On the 20th, which is next Thursday, we're going to hold a bipartisan news conference with the author of a book called ``Funding the Enemy,'' by Douglas Wissing, who spent a number of years embedded with our military in Afghanistan. He has seen the tragedy of the money going to Afghanistan ending up in the coffers of the Taliban to buy weapons to kill our young men and women.

If I could advise Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama, I would say: Listen to the American people on our policy in Afghanistan, because the American people want our troops home. I hear both sides complaining about the debt, the cliffs, sequestration, and all these things. And yet we're spending $10 billion a month in Afghanistan. And, as ``Funding the Enemy'' says, we can't even account for most of it. Yet we're going to cut programs here for children and senior citizens. But no, we don't even debate Afghanistan on the floor of the House. That is the tragedy.

Just a few of us on both sides have been speaking out constantly on the failed policy in Afghanistan. The former commandant who has been my adviser for 3 years--I'm not at liberty to say his name for the Record--he has said to me:

What do we say to the mother, the father, the wife of the last marine or soldier killed to support a corrupt government and a corrupt leader in a war that cannot be won?

Congress needs to awaken to the fact that we need to bring our troops home in 2013--the spring of 2013 and not the end of 2014.

Madam Speaker, next week I will go to Walter Reed. I will visit the wounded from Afghanistan, some from Iraq. And I will leave with a heavy heart because I will see the broken bodies. I will see the young men and some women that have lost legs, other parts of their bodies, some paralyzed from the waist down, some with burned faces. And yet the Congress sleeps through this war. I ask my friend on both sides, when we get back in November, let's pass a resolution saying that we need to bring our troops home in 2013.

Madam Speaker, before closing, I've signed over 10,855 letters to families and extended families in America because of my weakness and my mistake on Iraq, a war that never had to be fought. Look at Iraq today. It's falling apart. It's time for us to stop trying to build empires and to rebuild America.


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