7/1/2010

I voted against the war supplemental because I do not believe in, and I campaigned against, pursuing a land war in Afghanistan. We should be fighting a war against terrorism and repairing our economy.

The greatest threat to our families and country is the difficult state of our still fragile and recovering economy, not a tribal culture 8,000 miles away. We have already spent hundreds of billions of dollars subsidizing and fighting to prop up a corrupt regime. Afghanistan consumes hard earned American taxpayer money while we here at home struggle to keep food on our tables and keep our homes and our jobs. This is just wrong. 

Al Qaeda has largely fled from Afghanistan, to Pakistan, Yemen, and many other lawless areas around the globe. Does this mean we should go to war with all these countries too? No, taking over entire countries is not the answer. We need to focus on hunting down the terrorists posing real threats to American citizens, not protecting Afghans from Afghans.

I conditioned my support for our efforts in Afghanistan a year ago on progress we have not seen. Afghanistan and the region are no more stable, there is only more corruption. Local tribes still have little allegiance to a weak central government. Both Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to collude with the enemy. The United States needs an exit strategy. We cannot bear the burden for the Afghans alone. Enough is enough.

We need to invest in jobs, in education, in health care, and our own public safety here in the United States of America.  That is why I voted to amend the supplemental with fully paid for investments in support for our returning soldiers, aid to the states to pay for school teachers, and Pell grants for college students.

Our brave men and women in uniform deserve better. They are doing an exemplary job. They should not be put in an untenable position where their lives depend on it.