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Public Statements

Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

* Mr. KIND. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 4899, the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010. As long as our troops are in harm's way, it's important that they have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs safely and effectively. In the meantime, we need to be sure that we continue to have the right policy.

* I am pleased that President Obama has been asking the right questions about what our exit strategy will be. While I supported the War Supplemental, I have a number of concerns with how this effort is proceeding. We know that our success depends on having a credible, responsible Afghan government. Unfortunately, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has not demonstrated that he is willing or able to seriously tackle corruption in his government.

* Furthermore, nearly nine years after combat in Afghanistan first began we continue to see only limited progress in training Afghan security forces and developing the capability for Afghans to take full responsibility for the safety and security of their people.

* Of course, even if we have our policy right, we still need full cooperation from Pakistan, particularly in preventing Afghanistan's western provinces from becoming a safe haven for al Qaeda and allowing the Taliban to operate with impunity.

* We must, however, carefully consider the consequences of simply cutting and running, which would likely result in the Taliban taking over the country and providing a sanctuary to al Qaeda, which continues to threaten terrorist attacks on America and other countries.

* I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to hold both the Afghanistan and Pakistan governments' feet to the fire and closely review the effectiveness of our efforts to stand up competent and capable Afghan security forces. I support the War Supplemental because we have to give our troops the resources they need to carry out their mission and because abandoning the Afghan people now would only strengthen those who seek to do us harm. It also endangers the many Afghans who have worked with coalition forces to help stabilize their country.

* Throughout this difficult war, our troops have performed bravely and I am deeply honored by the sacrifices they and their families make. Wisconsin families have provided more than their fair share of troops to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

* Recently, the 32nd ``Red Arrow'' Brigade returned to Wisconsin after being deployed for one year in Iraq. I was privileged to take part in a ceremony to welcome them back and thank them for their exemplary service. Their experience shows that with appropriate training, our troops can adapt to any situation in order to achieve their mission. We must work to ensure that we can bring our troops back home in a responsible way that protects America's security.

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