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Afghanistan War Powers Resolution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DUNCAN of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution.

First, I want to thank the gentleman from North Carolina for yielding me this time. And I want to pay tribute to the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Jones), who is one of the kindest, most sincere, and most courageous Members that we have in this body.

I voted, Mr. Speaker, for this war, but I sure didn't vote for a 10-year war or a forever or a permanent or an endless war.

There is nothing fiscally conservative about this war, and I think conservatives should be the people most horrified by this war.

Alfred Regnery, the publisher of the Conservative American Spectator magazine, wrote last October: ``Afghanistan has little strategic value, and the war is one of choice rather than necessity.'' And he added that it has been a ``wasteful and frustrating decade.''

The worst thing about Iraq and Afghanistan is all the young people who have been killed. But it is also very sad, Mr. Speaker, that we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars--in fact, some estimates are $2 trillion or $3 trillion now in indirect costs--to carry on these two very unnecessary wars.

Our Constitution does not give us the authority to run another country, and that is basically what we have been doing. We have been doing more nation building and more civilian functions than anything else, and we have been turning the Department of Defense, at least in Iraq and Afghanistan, into the Department of Foreign Aid.

I had a conservative Republican elected official from my district in my office this past Monday. His son is in Afghanistan in the Army, and he said he asked his son recently what we were accomplishing there, and he said his son said, ``Dad, we're accomplishing nothing.''

We seem to be making the same mistakes in our policies toward Afghanistan that we made in Iraq. Even General Petraeus has said some time ago that we should never forget that Afghanistan has been known as the ``graveyard of empires.''

George C. Wilson, a military columnist for the Congress Daily, wrote a few months ago: ``The American military's mission to pacify the 40,000 tiny villages in Afghanistan will look like mission impossible, especially if our bombings keep killing Afghan civilians and infuriating the ones who survive.''

The Center for Defense Information said late last year we have now spent $439.8 billion on war and war-related costs in Afghanistan, and $1.63 trillion so far on the war and war-related costs in Iraq. As I said a moment ago, these figures should astound fiscal conservatives.

Georgie Anne Geyer, a syndicated columnist, wrote a few years ago: ``Critics of the war have said since the beginning of the conflict that Americans, still strangely complacent about overseas wars being waged by minorities in their name, will inevitably come to a point where they will see they have to have a government that provides services at home or one that seeks empire across the globe.''

I just finished, Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago doing field hearings around the country in relation to the transportation and highway bill. These were done in Oklahoma, Arkansas, West Virginia, and west Tennessee--very conservative districts. And in each of those places, I said that it's time that we stop spending hundreds of billions on these unnecessary foreign wars and stop rebuilding in Iraq and Afghanistan and start rebuilding the United States of America.

In each of those conservative districts, the people erupted into applause. Only 31 percent of the American people, according to the latest ABC/Newsweek poll that just came out, think this war is still worth it.

William F. Buckley, the conservative icon, wrote a few years ago that he supported the war in Iraq and then he became disillusioned by it, and he wrote these words:

``A respect for the power of the United States is engendered by our success in engagements in which we take part.''

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. JONES. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.

Mr. DUNCAN of Tennessee. William Buckley said:

``A point is reached when tenacity conveys steadfastness of purpose but misapplication of pride.''

President Karzai last year told ABC News he wanted us to stay there another 15 or 20 more years. That's because he wants our money. This war is more about money and power. Every gigantic bureaucracy always wants more money, but this war has gone too far and too long, and I support this resolution.


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