Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, this past Sunday when I turned 70 years of age, I read in the North Carolina paper, known as the News and Observer, the article that I would like to quote:
More than 100 family members, friends and uniformed servicemembers marched slowly and quietly Friday down a hill at Arlington National Cemetery following Army Sergeant Aaron X. Wittman's coffin, draped with an American flag and carried on a horse-drawn caisson.
Mr. Speaker, there are probably not many Members of Congress or Americans who know that Sergeant Wittman became the first American to lose his life in Afghanistan in 2013.
I do not know how many more Americans will have to die between now and the end of 2014. One American life is already one too many. We have done enough in Afghanistan. It will never change, as history has proven time and time again.
Obviously, there is nothing more important than an American life. But there is a second part of this sad situation, and that is the $28 million a day we are spending to rebuild Afghanistan. We could use that $28 million a day to fix our own roads and our own schools right here in America.
Yesterday on C-SPAN, I heard the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, John Sopko, speak about how much money we are spending in Afghanistan and the fact that it is impossible to give the American taxpayers an account of where the money is going. I think Mr. Sopko and his team are doing the best they can; but taxpayers are still being shortchanged, especially with the looming issue of sequestration and a pending continuing resolution.
I hope that my colleagues in the House can join in the effort to bring our troops home by the end of 2013 and to put an end to the wasteful spending in Afghanistan. Most importantly, above all else, put an end to the loss of American lives. I will quote from my friend, former commandant of the United States Marine Corps:
What do you say to the mother, father, wife of the last soldier or marine killed in Afghanistan?
My question is, Was it worth it? My answer is, No, not one life is worth it to be lost in Afghanistan. It is time to bring our troops home.
Mr. Speaker, this poster beside me shows a casket on top of a caisson getting ready to walk to the grave at Arlington National Cemetery.
May God continue to bless our troops, our men and women in uniform. May God continue to bless America. And please, God, touch the hearts of those in the House and let's bring our troops home in 2013.