Rep. Barbara Lee: Bring Our Troops Home
After nearly 13 years of war in Afghanistan, it is past time for all of our troops to return. It is also time to heed one of the war’s most important lessons: Some problems cannot be solved at the point of a gun.
Saturday, Afghans voted in such high numbers that polling hours were extended nationwide. Their determination triumphed, and the Afghan people are boldly moving their country forward. This path is the only way to achieve a lasting, sustainable peace in Afghanistan, not through a continued United States military operation.
Our brave men and women in uniform have done what we asked them to do, and now we must bring all of them home. And when they return, we must aid in their transition, ensure their mental and physical health, and provide economic security.
If, however, the president determines that U.S. troops should remain in Afghanistan, then he should make that case to the American people and to Congress. Congress must then meet its responsibility by thoroughly debating and then authorizing or rejecting such a commitment.
In the frenzied moments after the horrific terrorist attacks of 9/11, Congress failed to meet this basic responsibility, and we are living with the consequences — a perpetual war in Afghanistan and beyond. This is precisely what I feared when I was the lone vote in Congress opposing the open-ended Authorization for Use of Military Force.
There is a great deal of work to do to help secure peace and to help build a future for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan. But Afghanistan is their country, and meeting this challenge is in their hands.
We can and should play a supportive role along with others in the international community, but not by making the longest war in U.S. history even longer. Our troops have done more than enough; it is time for them to come home.