Congress Signals Afghanistan Exit

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action, pmartin@peace-action.org

Congress Signals Afghanistan Exit

WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives voted today on various amendments to the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act that gave the strongest signal yet that Representatives want an end to the Afghanistan war.

Paul Kawika Martin, the political and policy director of Peace Action — a group founded in 1957 and the largest grassroots peace organization in the U.S. — organized over twenty organizations to support amendments that would speed up bringing troops home from Afghanistan, especially the McGovern/Jones amendment. He said, “Congress is catching up with voters who believe It’s time to transition from extremely expensive and counterproductive Pentagon strategies in Afghanistan to political negotiations and Afghan-led aid and development.”

The amendment received the most votes in history pushing for an accelerated transition in Afghanistan. 204 Representatives voted aye, including a record 26 Republicans.

The amendment offered by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Walter Jones (D-NC), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA-47), John Lewis (D-GA), Justin Amash (R-MI), David Cicilline (D-RI), Ron Paul (R-TX), and Peter Welch (D-VT) would have, among other things, required plan and timeframe on accelerated transition of military operations to Afghan authorities from the Pentagon.

In 2009 McGovern offered a similar amendment that garnered 138 votes. Last year, it received 162 votes.

Polls continue to show that Americans have long turned against the war in Afghanistan with as much as 60% of Americans opposing.

The organization supports all troops and contractors out of Afghanistan within one year with resources focused on political reconciliation and Afghan-led aid and development.

“If the President wants to get reelected in 2012, it’s clear he needs to convince his base and independent voters that he is ending the war in Afghanistan by bringing troops home in significant numbers no later than July,” concluded Martin.

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Founded in 1957, Peace Action, the United States' largest peace and disarmament organization with over 100,000 members and nearly 100 chapters in 34 states, works to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs and encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights.

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