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Rep. C.W. Bill Young Drops Staunch Support Of Afghanistan War: 'We're Killing Kids That Don't Need To Die'


From Huffington Post

A Republican congressman who has long been a staunch supporter of sticking with the war in Afghanistan is now changing course, arguing that the United States needs to pull out as quickly as possible.

"I think we should remove ourselves from Afghanistan as quickly as we can," Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday. "I just think we're killing kids that don't need to die."

Young has consistently opposed even setting a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. In May 2011, an amendment requiring the president to present Congress "with a timeframe and completion date" for the war failed by just 12 votes, garnering the support of 26 Republicans. Young, however, was one of the ones who voted to kill it.

Young, who is chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, also told the Times that he believes many of his GOP colleagues now feel the same way he does, but "they tend not to want to go public." He added that when he's talked to military leaders about his views, he doesn't "get a lot of reaction."

The congressman said he came to his new position after talking with veterans over the past three months and hearing about what a "real mess" Afghanistan is in.

According to the Times, Young was particularly affected by the death last month of 26-year-old Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton, who attended the Christian school run by the church Young attends.

Before he passed away, Sitton wrote Young a letter about the problems in Afghanistan, including with the command structure and the fact that they were "being forced to go on patrol on foot through fields that they knew were mined with no explanation for why they were patrolling on foot."

Sitton died after stepping on an improvised explosive device.

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