76 Members of Congress Oppose Staying in Afghanistan Forever

By David Swanson

Imagine if Spain indicts Gonzales, Bybee, Haynes, Yoo, Addington, and Feith, but the United States fails to extradite them and in fact appears guilty of having harbored and possibly even employed them at good salaries. Then suppose — use your imagination! — that Spain invades and occupies the United States. Now, imagine that seven years later we still aren’t happy with being occupied by Spain, and the people of Spain oppose their own government’s crimes and follies. Wouldn’t it be decent and appreciated if some crusading Spanish legislators were to propose a piece of legislation requiring that within the next seven months their nation produce a plan to eventually someday withdraw all of its troops from our country?

Congressman Jim McGovern attempted to include as an amendment to the “supplemental” war funding bill that the House passed on Thursday (with 51 Democrats and 9 Republicans voting No) a requirement that by the end of 2009 the U.S. Secretary of “Defense” produce an exit plan for Afghanistan. It could be a plan to exit by 2092; it would just have to be a plan of some sort, and Secretary Gates could take up to seven months to write it. The Democratic leadership blocked this, despite support for it from 76 members of Congress, almost all of them Democrats. So, McGovern introduced his proposal as an independent bill (H.R. 2404).

McGovern said on the floor of the House:

Everyone I know – including President Obama – keeps telling me that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, only a political solution. And I believe this, too. So, I’m very concerned when we put billions of dollars into building up our troops and the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan without a clear mission – and without an exit strategy. I believe if we’re going to make the previous Administration provide Congress with clear benchmarks and an exit strategy for Iraq, then we should demand the same with this Administration in Afghanistan.

I’m not advocating for an immediate withdrawal of our military forces from Afghanistan. All I’m asking for is a plan. If there is no military solution for Afghanistan, then, please, just tell me how we will know when our military contribution to the political solution has concluded….

Mr. Speaker, when I first ran for Congress, I promised my constituents that I would never send our servicemen and women into a war without a clearly defined mission. And I’m sticking to that promise. I’m sick and tired of wars that have no exits, deadlines or an end. We owe our troops and their families much better.

And I’m deeply concerned about how long we will be able to sustain and pay for an expanded military presence in Afghanistan. Mr. Speaker, I simply want to know, ‘What is the exit strategy that brings our servicemen and women home?’

These Congress Members are cosponsoring the bill. If yours is not on this list, you know what to do.

Jim McGovern (MA)
Walter Jones (NC)
Donna Edwards (MD)
John J. Duncan, Jr. (TN)
John Tierney (MA)
Carol Shea-Porter (NH)
Maurice Hinchey (NY)
John Olver (MA)
Lynn Woolsey (CA)
Steve Cohen (TN)
Phil Hare (IL)
Carolyn Kilpatrick (MI)
Keith Ellison (MN)
Dennis Kucinich (OH)
Jim McDermott (WA)
Peter DeFazio (OR)
Raul Grijalva (AZ)
Chaka Fattah (PA)
Diane Watson (CA)
Jan Schakowsky (IL)
Yvette Clarke (NY)
John Lewis (GA)
Neil Abercrombie (HI)
Ron Paul (TX)
Jose Serrano (NY)
Bob Filner (CA)
Peter Welch (VT)
Ed Whitfield (KY)
Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Paul Hodes (NH)
Dana Rohrabacher (CA)
Roscoe Bartlett (MD)
Tim Ryan (OH)
Bill Delahunt (MA)
Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX)
Donna Christensen (VI)
Marcy Kaptur (OH)
Donald Payne (NJ)
Chellie Pingree (ME)
John Conyers, Jr. (MI)
Tim Walz (MN)
Barbara Lee (CA)
Wm. Lacy Clay (MO)
Rush Holt (NJ)
Michael Capuano (MA)
Niki Tsongas (MA)
Bobby Rush (IL)
Betty Sutton (OH)
Maxine Waters (CA)
Alan Grayson (FL)
Luis Gutierrez (IL)
Danny K. Davis (IL)
Joe Sestak (PA)
Edolphus Towns (NY)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
Laura Richardson (CA)
Gwen Moore (WI)
Corinne Brown (FL)
Steve Rothman (NJ)
Nydia Velazquez (NY)
Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL)
Marion Barry (ARK)
Doris Matsui (CA)
Mike Thompson (CA)
Steve Kagen (WI)
Lloyd Doggett (TX)
Kurt Schrader (OR)
Sam Farr (CA)
Jim Oberstar (MN)
Bruce Braley (IA)
Jerry Costello (IL)
Tom Perriello (VA)
Jared Polis (CO)
Mary Jo Kilroy (OH)
Shelley Berkley (NV)
Dave Loebsack (IA)

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