Congresswoman Barbara Lee Urges Congress to End the War in Afghanistan
Lee leads bi-partisan group of 91 Representatives in penning letter to President
WASHINGTON – Today 91 Members of the House of Representatives, led by Barbara Lee (D-CA), sent a letter to President Obama urging an expedited withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan. Ninety Members of the House of Representatives signed the letter, including four Republicans. The Congresswoman was joined by a dozen colleagues at a morning press conference.
“Today, I am announcing that 90 Members of Congress are joining me in requesting that President Obama expedite our troops’ return and speed up the transition to having Afghans in charge of Afghanistan,” said Congresswoman Lee. “The American people have overwhelmingly come to the conclusion that our brave men and women in uniform have accomplished all that we have asked of them and it is time to bring them home from Afghanistan.”
Today, the House of Representatives is scheduled to begin debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which provides war funding, at the same time President Obama prepares for the NATO summit in Chicago. The bi-partisan group of Members outlined the need to make a change in policy in Afghanistan.
“I believe that it is time for Members of Congress to stand with seven out of ten Americans who oppose the war in Afghanistan,” said Congresswoman Lee. “There is no military solution in Afghanistan, which is why I am pushing Republican leadership to allow me to offer an amendment to the NDAA that would bring about a responsible and immediate end to the war in Afghanistan. The amendment would end combat operations while protecting our troops by ensuring that any dollar directed to Afghanistan can only be spent for the safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors.”
Congresswoman Lee was joined by Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), Ron Paul (R-TX), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Janice Hahn (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-NY), and James McGovern (D-MA). Congresswoman Lee thanked her colleagues for joining her at the press conference, noting that “the silence on Capitol Hill on this issue has been deafening.”
Link to press release with photo here.
Copy of letter below:
May 16, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
Earlier this month you visited Afghanistan to sign a Strategic Partnership Agreement. As you stated at Bagram Air Base, “this time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” The core of al Qaeda has been greatly reduced in size and ability to attack Americans. Our brave men and women in uniform have done everything that we have asked of them. With over 17,000 dead and wounded U.S. servicemen and women, and long term costs estimated at $4 trillion for the past decade of unfunded wars, the overwhelming majority of American people want to bring the war in Afghanistan to an expedited end.
While many of us would prefer an immediate full withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is broad, bipartisan consensus in Congress and across America that it is time to accelerate the transition from U.S. to full Afghan control. We also remind you that any agreement committing U.S. troops to Afghanistan must have congressional approval to be binding.
Therefore, at the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, we ask that you announce an accelerated transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government and security forces and the expedited withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan as quickly as these can be safely and responsibly accomplished.
Members of Congress
Current Signers (91): Adam Smith, Becerra, Baldwin, Bass, Blumenauer, Boswell, Braley, Campbell, Capps, Castor, Chu, Cicilline, Yvette Clarke, Clay, Cleaver, Clyburn, Cohen, Conyers, Costello, Courtney, Cummings, John Duncan, DeFazio, DeLauro, Edwards, Ellison, Farr, Filner, Frank, Garamendi, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hahn, Hanabusa, Alcee Hastings, Heinrich, Hinchey, Holt, Honda, Jackson Jr., Eddie Bernice Johnson, Hank Johnson, Tim Johnson, Kucinich, Rick Larsen, John Larson, Barbara Lee, Lewis, Loebsack, Lofgren, Lujan, Maloney, Markey, McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, Michaud, George Miller, Moran, Moore, Chris Murphy, Nadler, Napolitano, Olver, Pastor, Paul, Pingree, Polis, Quigley, Rangel, Richardson, Rush, Loretta Sanchez, Schakowsky, Schiff, Serrano, Sherman, Sires, Slaughter, Speier, Stark, Mike Thompson, Tierney, Tonko, Towns, Tsongas, Velazquez, Waters, Watt, Waxman, Welch, Woolsey, Yarmuth.