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Kucinich: We are Not Exiting Afghanistan. We are Staying.
Washington D.C. (May 2, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has led the call to end the war in Afghanistan, today released the following statement after President Obama announced that the U.S. has signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan.
“Yesterday, the President announced that the U.S. signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan, committing the United States to the country for a long time to come. The agreement addressed the transition to Afghan-led security forces by 2014. Human and monetary costs to the U.S. will continue to skyrocket.
“According to a recent article in The Atlantic, the U.S. spends an estimated $14,000 per Afghan troop per year. The long-term costs to the U.S. to train the 352,000 Afghan security troops we are counting on to allow the withdrawal of U.S. troops will be over $4 billion per year; or more than $40 billion over the next ten years. The Associated Press recently highlighted a report that raises significant questions regarding International Security Assistance Force claims that there have been Afghan-led military operations, an indicator of progress toward Afghan military self sufficiency, a cornerstone of our strategy.
“It is widely recognized that much of Al-Qaeda’s leadership and presence in Afghanistan has been decimated. Since the death of Osama bin Laden exactly one year ago, we have lost 381 U.S. troops. The President stated that ‘we must give Afghanistan the opportunity to stabilize.’ The assertion that maintaining a long-term presence in the country is the best way to prevent future attacks on the U.S. belies the reality on the ground: that our mere presence is destabilizing. The events of the past few months alone – the Koran burnings, coordinated attacks by the Taliban in Kabul, and the killing of Afghan civilians by a U.S. solider – should be enough of an indication that more time in Afghanistan is not the answer.
“America has been lulled to sleep by the mindboggling elongation of a war seven thousand miles away. The plain fact is we are not exiting Afghanistan, despite the appearances which the White House is trying to create. We are staying. Have we learned nothing from ten years of quagmire? It is time to bring our troops home safely and responsibly.”
On Proposal to Fund Military With Cuts to Food Stamps, Kucinich Asks “What Kind of Country Do We Want to Live In?”
Washington D.C. (May 2, April 2012) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today asked Americans to consider what kind of a country they want to live in – a country where our friends and neighbors have enough food to eat or a nation that wages unending warfare. The question comes as recent news reports point to a proposal to cut food assistance for hungry families to fund the Department of Defense.
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“What are our national priorities? This is not an abstract question. What kind of a country do we want to live in?
“We spend about $115 billion a year for the war in Afghanistan alone. By comparison, since the Wall Street financial disaster of 2008, the down economy has resulted in millions of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure. Tens of millions can’t find jobs. Five-point-five million people have not been able to find work in more than 27 weeks.
“Last year alone, nearly 45 million Americans needed help to simply have enough food to eat. For those not qualified through other programs, a family of four would need to survive on less than $29,055 a year in order to be eligible for this assistance. In the United States of America, nearly 1 in 6 Americans needed help just to put food on the table.
“Now, because of two wars fought on our nation’s credit card, the Bush tax cuts and a slow economy, our government is currently operating at a deficit. Economists encourage government to spend more to spur economic growth, but Congress has called for austerity instead. Because of the Budget Control Act passed last summer, we need to cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years beginning in 2013, with half the cuts coming from the Department of Defense.
“Despite the years of massive growth and well-documented inefficiency, many people in Washington think it’s unacceptable to cut the Pentagon’s budget. Instead, they are trying to find other places to make the cuts.
“Where do Washington politicians want to make cuts to protect the war budget? You guessed it: food assistance for hungry Americans.
“This is what it means to consider our national priorities. Do we want to live in a country where our friends and neighbors have enough to eat? Or a country that wages unending wars abroad?”