Statement in Response to President’s Afghanistan Strategy

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Earlier today, President Trump outlined a plan for Afghanistan and South East Asia. His rhetoric joins with many others who have hawked for continued war, and it is something that should not be taken lightly. The statements that he has made about winning and victory are ignorant of regional history going back to the days of the Roman Empire. It lacks a fundamental understanding of the cultures within the region.

There is no path to victory in Afghanistan. That is a plain and simple fact. Because of the remote tribal nature of most people in the country, there is no unity for a nation. Loyalty is to tribal elders, not national leaders. No occupying force has ever been successful in controlling Afghanistan. Rome learned this lesson, as did Russia.

Leaving our men and women over there does nothing to help the United States. We are fighting a war for sixteen years, the leadership that planned the 9/11 attacks have been killed or captured. The mission is finished. Remaining in the region will only result in more flag draped coffins coming home. There is no longer a national security threat present from Afghanistan.

In the event that intelligence reveals a threat, a tangible and credible threat to our people, our technology and personnel are sufficient to respond to those threats, but to leave them in harm’s way when the threat only exists to our troops as long as we are deployed abroad, we must look at bringing our boys and girls home.

The President also cited our withdrawal as bringing about the rise to ISIS as an excuse to have troops remain deployed. What the President fails to mention is that ISIS did not exist until we overthrew the government in Iraq. The events we witness today, the cities that fell in Iraq, are not because we pulled out, but because we went in. I say this as a Marine who served in Falluja. This is not a statement of ignorance, but a statement of direct knowledge from enforcing the foreign policy with a rifle in my hands.

Our policies are needlessly causing our young men and women to be injured and killed, with costs beyond the trillions spent. It is true we are weary of war, but it isn’t because there hasn’t been victory, it is because we have stayed involved beyond the necessities of the mission. We should not be there to nation build, we should not be there at all. When the President states that we are there to kill terrorists, what that actually results in is innocent lives being taken by a drone strike that causes more people to become incited to fight against us. We have become a terrorist organization’s greatest recruiting tool as young men see their children and siblings torn apart by shrapnel for being at the wrong place. It is a never ending cycle doing what we have done for nearly two decades.

I call on the House and Senate to reject the President’s plan and call for our troops to come home. It is time for this to end. It is time for our nation to heal.

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