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Public Statements

Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding, and while I certainly appreciate the sincerity of the people who are offering this amendment, I disagree with it, inasmuch as it ties the hands of the military.

I have had the opportunity to go to Iraq and Afghanistan several times, and I can say war is complicated. War does not always go your way. The enemy does not always cooperate with the best of our plans. And yet we here in the safety of the U.S. Congress can dictate to the commanders in the field what direction the war should go in and the timeframe and what should happen next, according to a political guideline and a political deadline as opposed to military guidelines and military deadlines.

When the Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations visited General McChrystal and Ambassador Eikenberry and the rest of our leadership in March in Afghanistan, one of the things that they told us is that there had been a difference, some significant differences, in the war. Part of it was that the Afghan army was stepping up in a completely different way, a new culture, if you will. They were taking ownership in the war.

In Pakistan, troops had been shifted from the Kashmir border over to the Afghan border and they were being attacked themselves by Taliban terrorists, and so the Pakistanis were showing an interest and an energy which up until now they had not given us or given the Afghan people. They are no longer looking at this war as America's war in Afghanistan. They are seeing it as their war that has spilled into Pakistan, and it is causing instability in the region.

But I will say this, that our commander at the time, General McChrystal, said, I am not over here to waste our time and to waste soldiers' lives. I am keenly aware that the clock is ticking and we have to have a resolution on this.

The campaign in Marja had just been concluded. It went very well. The shift to the next campaign in Kandahar was already underway, and people were moving in that direction.

So, Mr. Speaker, I think it is very important for us to let the military make these decisions and not political representatives in Washington. I think, furthermore, bogging this bill down with all kinds of extracurricular amendments further sends a mixed signal to our troops and the international community.

I ask unanimous consent to take from the Speaker's table H.R. 4899, with the Senate amendments thereto, and concur in the Senate amendments.


Mr. KINGSTON. It is a shame, because when it comes to war, it is too bad that we are going to let parliamentary procedures tie our hands in doing what is right for the soldiers.


Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I just want to make this point about H.R. 4899 and the Senate amendment. It's that it gives a clean bill and a bill that will unfetter the generals so they can do the right thing. They have worked closely with the administration.

As we know, the transition from McChrystal to Petraeus has probably been traumatic or tenuous enough on all of us on a bipartisan basis, and at this time we don't need to add to the military woes in the international efforts in Afghanistan by sending a bill, which, incidentally, is not going to be signed by the President. The President has already said he is going to veto it, and the Senate is not going to pass it anyway, so why are we doing this on the eve of the Fourth of July?

We need to have a clean bill. That is why I think, Mr. Speaker, the best thing for us to do is take H.R. 4899 with the Senate amendment and concur with the Senate resolution.


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