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CONTACT: US Senator Russ Feingold, US Representative Jim McGovern and US Representative Walter Jones
Feingold, McGovern, Jones Introduce Legislation to Require Timetable for Deploying US Troops From Afghanistan
Open-Ended Military Presence in Afghanistan is Counterproductive to our National Security Goals
WASHINGTON - April 14 - Today, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) announced they are introducing legislation requiring the president to develop a flexible timetable to draw down U.S. troops from Afghanistan, in order to enhance our national security and reduce the burden on our armed forces and on taxpayers. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation would require the president to provide a plan for drawing down our forces in Afghanistan. The legislation also increases oversight by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) over work done by private contractors with records of waste, fraud and abuse in order to safeguard U.S. taxpayer dollars.
"At the listening sessions I have held throughout Wisconsin over the last several months, people across the political spectrum have asked why we continue to have a massive military presence in Afghanistan," said Senator Feingold. "A large, open-ended presence in Afghanistan is counterproductive to our global fight against al Qaeda. Rather than pour resources into a nation-building strategy in a country that isn't even al Qaeda's base, we should develop a timetable to end our massive presence in Afghanistan, so we are better able to go after al Qaeda's global network. We need to be as agile as al Qaeda and we can't do that if we are bogged down in Afghanistan."
"After 8 long years, hundreds of billions of dollars and - most importantly - thousands of our brave soldiers killed or wounded, it is past time to re-examine this strategy. Instead of nation-building in Afghanistan, I believe we should be doing some more nation-building here at home. The American people deserve accountability - in terms of how and when our troops will be returned to their families and in terms of how taxpayer dollars are being spent," said Representative McGovern.
"I believe the war on terror needs to be thought of in a different way. I believe there are other strategies that could be used, as I have discussed with several former generals. As recent as yesterday I visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Bethesda Naval Academy. Being there and seeing the true cost of war only strengthens my belief that it is time to change our strategy and reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan. It is time to put an end to the tremendous stress we are placing on our military and their families," said Representative Jones.
Feingold, McGovern and Jones recently wrote to President Obama outlining their concerns that the military strategy for Afghanistan is "not in our best national security interest and makes us dependent upon an unreliable partner in the Afghan government." In the letter urging the president to set forth a timetable, the legislators wrote, "The attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day serves as a reminder that we have not been adequately prioritizing the need to track down al Qaeda, especially in emerging safe havens such as Yemen. Rather than investing a disproportionate amount of our resources in Afghanistan, we need to shift resources to pursuing al Qaeda's global network."
- Would require the president to provide a plan and timetable for drawing down our forces in Afghanistan and identify any variables that could require changes to that timetable.
- Would safeguard U.S. taxpayer dollars by ensuring all U.S. activity in Afghanistan be overseen by an Inspector General.
- Does not set a specific date for withdrawal.