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Afghanistan War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

* Ms. ESHOO. Madam Speaker, it is with a heavy heart that I oppose this resolution.

* I have serious reservations about the presence of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan. I opposed the President's plan to send additional troops into that country, and I opposed funding for the surge. I was reassured when the President said that he wanted to begin withdrawing U.S. troops beginning in 2011. I joined 137 of my colleagues to vote with Representative MCGOVERN to demand that the President provide a plan for withdrawing from Afghanistan, and have been deeply concerned that the mission for our troops there is not clear. If their mission is not well defined, how can we expect to judge success?

* I do not support an open-ended commitment without clear goals. But I also cannot support a sudden withdrawal without a plan to protect American lives and American interests. And that's why I will vote against this Resolution.

* This Resolution directs the President to remove all U.S. forces from Afghanistan 30 days from adoption, unless the President decides it is not safe to do so. He would then have until the end of 2010 to remove all U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

* This language is absolute and provides no exceptions.

* It does not provide exceptions for U.S. forces that might be necessary to safeguard U.S. embassy personnel.

* It does not provide exceptions for our intelligence community or Special Forces so they can continue to support Afghanistan and Pakistan in the search for al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

* It does not provide exceptions for U.S. military personnel who are engaged in training the Afghanistan National Army or Afghanistan National Police to provide their own security.

* We should not be involved in a civil war in Afghanistan, but there are a few, limited missions in Afghanistan that may be necessary to protect our national interests. This Resolution does not allow us any flexibility to address those missions, and this is why I cannot support a policy that endangers the lives of U.S. personnel on the ground and allows al Qaeda to continue to destabilize the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and potentially strike us here at home.

* I hope Representative KUCINICH will refine his legislation and work with the President to present us with a plan to bring our troops home safely and in a timely manner.

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