For Immediate Release

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold on the 8th Anniversary of the War in Afghanistan

has now been eight years since the United States launched military
operations in Afghanistan to bring to justice those responsible for the
murder of nearly 3000 people on September 11th, 2001.  In the last
eight years, we have lost nearly 800 courageous Americans in
Afghanistan and thousands have returned home wounded.  Like all
Americans, I am deeply grateful for the service and sacrifice of our
troops in Afghanistan.

years ago, I voted in favor of the authorization to use military force
against those who planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks.  That was
the right step to protect our national security. Unfortunately, the
decision to go to war in Iraq was a tragic mistake that undermined our
efforts in Afghanistan and our ability to go after al Qaeda. 

eight years later, the Obama administration has appropriately refocused
our attention on the threats to our security in Afghanistan and
Pakistan.  But while our military presence in Afghanistan has doubled
over the past year, and the administration is contemplating additional
troop increases, the resilient al Qaeda leadership is now located in
neighboring Pakistan.  Devoting billions more dollars and tens of
thousands more troops to Afghanistan is not likely to significantly
improve conditions in that country and it will not help – and could
even hurt – our efforts to dismantle al Qaeda's global network with
safe havens in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, North Africa and elsewhere. 

eight years, it is time to give the Afghan people, the American people
and people around the world an idea of when our massive military
presence will end.  A flexible timetable to draw down our troops from
Afghanistan would defuse the perception that we are occupying that
country, which fuels militancy and instability in Afghanistan and
nuclear-armed Pakistan."


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