Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Speaker, I join my colleagues here in Congress from both sides of the aisle to call for an end to the war in Afghanistan. After more than a decade of war, with now more than 2,000 lives lost and hundreds of billions of American tax dollars spent, it's time for our troops to come home to their families.
I represent the military communities of Travis Air Force Base, and come January I will represent the community of Beale Air Force Base as well. I can tell you from firsthand experience that the men and women who serve in our Nation's military and their families are America's finest. They are not afraid of sacrifice. They joined the armed forces because they love our country and they are willing to give everything to keep our Nation safe, but their sacrifice must be for a reason. If we're going to ask them to risk life and limb on the other side of the world, it must be for a mission that is vital to our Nation's security. We can no longer say that about the mission in Afghanistan.
Our brave soldiers are continuing to die in Afghanistan for what is now a war of choice. We sent them to eliminate the terrorists responsible for the terrible 9/11 tragedy, and they did it with remarkable courage and competence. The al Qaeda training camps have long been eliminated; most of al Qaeda's top leaders have been killed or captured; Osama bin Laden is long dead.
Terrorism remains a global threat, and we must combat it. But keeping tens of thousands of troops in a country the size of Texas is no way to achieve this objective. Rather, we must continue to use our superb intelligence capabilities and our special operation forces to root out the terrorist networks and destroy their leaderships wherever they may be.
When we do bring our troops home, we must ensure that our returning heroes receive the support that is their due when they get back. We must make sure that they have access to housing, medical care, employment, educational opportunities that they deserve, and we must take care of all of our veterans.
The war in Afghanistan has lasted 11 long years, and it must not last another. It's time to bring our troops home. And as we do so, we must turn our attention to rebuild America's economy. One way to do this is to focus on enhancing our green energy sector.
The American wind energy industry is in jeopardy. The production tax credit will end December 31, 2012. It must be extended or else 30,000 jobs will be lost and 450 manufacturing businesses will close.
Two additional measures must also be considered. First, we could apply the master limited partnership and the real estate investment tax programs to the green energy sector and, thereby, bring significant financing opportunities along with the production tax credit.