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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ROHRABACHER. Madam Chairman, first of all, let me note that our goal after the vicious terrorist attack on the United States on 9/11 was to eliminate Osama bin Laden and to clear Afghanistan, which had been the staging area of the 9/11 attacks, of Osama bin Laden's allies, who happened to have been the Taliban.

My fellow colleagues, Osama bin Laden is dead. The Taliban were cleared from Afghanistan years ago. So it is time for us to declare victory and to bring our troops home. It is not time for us to declare that there is going to be an extension of the deployment of our troops and to leave them there to expend their lives for a cause that has already been decided. They have done their duty. We have accomplished the mission. Let's have a victory parade, not an extension of deployment.

Why are we in this predicament? Why are we even discussing $88 billion and perhaps hundreds, if not thousands, of more American lives being sacrificed halfway around the world, in some canyon somewhere, where some young
American loses his life or loses his legs? Why are we even discussing the expenditure of the billions of dollars that we really need so much here at home if, for nothing else, than to help bring down this level of deficit spending?

Why are we in this position now? Why are we not recognizing this? First of all, let's just note that we are now in a situation where year after year it is taking place after we've actually accomplished our goals in Afghanistan, and our troops are still there losing their lives. It's almost like a ``Twilight Zone'' episode. It is worse than some of the situations that we saw in Vietnam that degenerated year after year after year of America's deployment of forces there. We don't need to spend this money. We don't need to lose their lives. We just need to say we've done our job and come home. Who are we watching out for?

The State Department ended up basically stealing victory out of the jaws of defeat. We won this years ago. Years ago the Taliban were cleared out of Afghanistan. Now we find the situation getting worse. I've been in Afghanistan. I fought with the mujahadeen against the Soviets there personally. Over the years, I was deeply involved with Afghan policy, and people know that. The longer we stay there, the more enemies we're going to make for the United States.

It's going to be harder for us to get out next year than it is for us right now, and we will have made more enemies out of those people when they see foreign troops. Who cares if there is someone in a canyon far away screaming that he hates America? So what. Our guys are going out there right now and investigating situations like that and putting their lives on the line because someone was heard to say good things about the Taliban in some desolate canyon somewhere. What a waste of American lives. What a waste of our resources. On top of it, our State Department has created a system of government--we created a system of government--for the Afghan people, and we're shoving it down their throats now, the most highly centralized and corrupt system of any government in this world. Mr. Karzai is creating a kleptocracy in Afghanistan. No matter how much we're trying to help, that money is disappearing. We're not able to accomplish it, even though the money is going out.

We should recognize that we cannot make history for the Afghan people. They will have to make it for themselves. We have cleared Afghanistan of the Taliban. We have eliminated Osama bin Laden. The Afghan people will now have to shape their own destinies. It is not up to us to expend more of the lives of our young people in order to get the goal that we want, especially when we know now that our government is allied with such a corrupt regime that it will never succeed.

It is time for us to cut the spending, get the troops home as soon as we can, and not waste the lives of more of our people.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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