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Public Statements

Afghanistan

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.

Like most of my colleagues last week when we were home, I took as many opportunities as possible to speak at civic clubs, meet with groups of people, and talk about a range of issues. But I also always brought up the fact that we continue to fund a failed policy in Afghanistan. I was pleased and also humbled by the response from these groups as they agreed with me totally; and many of these groups, Mr. Speaker, were actually veterans. I represent the Third Congressional District of North Carolina, the home of Camp Lejeune, Cherry Point Marine Air Station, and we have over 60,000 retired military.

Those who were in the military who are now retired said, You're absolutely right; why doesn't Congress wake up? There's nothing we're going to change in Afghanistan. Stop wasting lives and spending money.

Mr. Speaker, that brings me to this. On Monday, an AP article:

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday ordered all U.S. special forces to leave Wardak within 2 weeks and requested that their operations there cease immediately. The restive province, which neighbors Kabul province and is viewed as a gateway to the capital, has been the focus of counterinsurgency efforts in recent years.

Why do we fund a man that doesn't even like us? I don't understand that at all. How in the world can the Congress in its wisdom not speak out and say, Listen, you're talking about a 10-year agreement after 2014? How can a country that's financially broke commit to 10 more years after 2014? I do not understand that.

In fact, I have introduced, with Rosa DeLauro, H.R. 125, the Congressional Oversight of Afghanistan Agreement Act of 2013, which is a bipartisan bill introduced by us, and we are reaching out to our other colleagues to say, Congress, let's get on the floor. Let's debate whether we should stay there 10 years after 2014 or not.

Mr. Speaker, I sincerely believe that the American people would back this legislation because the American people have seen the total chaos right here this week, last week, and the next couple weeks to come talking about sequestration. But I don't think the leader of Afghanistan is worried about sequestration because we're going to send him all of the money he wants while we tell the American people, We're going to cut your jobs; we're going to cut your programs. That, to me, is absolutely ridiculous and unacceptable.

Mr. Speaker, it is time for the American people to say to Congress, let's start rebuilding America and stop rebuilding the rest of the world.

Mr. Speaker, beside me is a poster of a young Army officer who lost both legs and an arm. We fail to realize here in Congress, maybe not all of us, but some of us, that we're still at war. Young men and women are still getting their legs blown off, they're losing their lives many times--not as often as in the past. But let's wake up, Congress. Let's start debating what we're going to do to rebuild our country and stop trying to rebuild the rest of the world.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I will ask God to please not let the American people and not let Congress forget that we have young men and women in Afghanistan. And I will close by asking God to please bless the United States of America and let us never, never forget the sacrifice of war.


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