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Public Statements

Motion to Instruct Conferees on H.R. 4310, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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(Mr. ANDREWS asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding.

I am immensely proud of the service and sacrifice of our men and women in Afghanistan. They have done a great job in defending our country, and our hearts go out to all of them who are serving, or who have served, for the greatness of their service.

I am one who believes that the time to bring them home is a lot sooner than later. I'd like to see them all come home as soon as possible. When they do, it's important that, as we leave Afghanistan, we leave an imprint of a value that is not just an American value but, I think, a value of humanity around the world and, that is, that your opportunity to thrive in a community should not be determined by your gender. It is astonishing to most Americans, but it was the reality for most female Afghans that during the rule of the Taliban, for a young girl, a visit to a school put her life at risk. A girl who dared to try to go to school was risking a violent assault or even death.

I am very proud of the fact that our military leaders, our civilian employees, and brave Afghans have worked very hard to change that fact. Today, Afghan girls are in school, and Afghan women are serving in positions of authority and leadership and education and health care and government and commerce in Afghanistan. As we make the transition to Afghan security in that country, let us make sure that the transition to full human rights for women and girls continues in that country.

That is the purpose of this motion to instruct, and it is gratifying that Members of both political parties have spoken up in favor of this very basic principle. Being a girl or being a woman should not subject one to violence or short-change one's opportunities. I am proud to support this motion. I certainly hope that, as we go forward with this bill, the principles of fairness and equality will be included.

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