U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson released the following statement today in response to the news that the United States had lost its 2000th soldier in Afghanistan. The statement also was read into the Congressional Record.
"Last week U.S. forces in Afghanistan hit a tragic milestone with the death of the 2,000th American service member. This passing reminds us of the devastating consequences of war while reinforcing the urgency in which we need to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
"We cannot continue to send our hardworking service men and women into a conflict that has no proximate connection to the well-being of our Nation. While the U.S. was successful in the death of Osama bin Laden, our mission in Afghanistan has constantly changing objectives with no clearly defined goal in sight. The death of 2,000 American service members and counting, along with over 12,000 service members injured in this conflict is an unacceptable number of casualties for a mission that ten years later still has no clear definition of victory. These numbers do not even take into account the causalities of our allies or the countless numbers of Afghani civilians that have been killed or negatively affected by this conflict.
"Millions of American dollars have been invested in development programs for the country of Afghanistan with few positive results. Time and time again there have been no solutions found as the Afghan government is corrupt in its entirety and there remains a dangerously close relationship between the Afghani Taliban and Pakistani sympathizers. Finally, Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, believes there are less than 100 members of al‐Qaeda in Afghanistan. Such a small number of does not warrant such large scale involvement from the U.S.
"Two thousand American service men and women killed is the most visible of many negative consequences of war, consequences which inflict innumerable costs upon our country. Brave American service men and women will continue to lose their lives so long as we continue to send them there. It is unacceptable to for the United States to finance the defense and construction of projects inAfghanistan while our economy struggles and we face numerous domestic issues. To date we have spent over $634.1 billion on the our war in Afghanistan that our country will never see any return from. The use of our nation's resources should be directed toward the betterment of American lives at home, and not be depleted chasing unobtainable victories.
"This week I and colleagues on both sides of the aisle, from all parts of the country have stood up and marked this somber occasion. I am not a fortune teller and I do not know what the future brings, but mark my words that continuing our needless involvement in Afghanistan ensures that one day a member of this institution will stand up and mark another tragic benchmark. My friends and colleagues, it is time for us to withdraw from Afghanistan and avoid the tragic loss of anymore American lives in this conflict."
Rep. Johnson has been a longtime opponent of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and other involvements in the Middle East. Last month, Rep. Johnson joined with a bipartisan group of colleague to press the House leadership and the White House to expedite the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.