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April 13, 2011

Afghanistan

[Page: H2578]  GPO's PDF 

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Jones) for 5 minutes.

Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, as many people know, and I do not say this with pride, but for years, I've been signing letters to the immediate and extended families of those killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have signed over 9,966 letters. It is a constant reminder to me of the high cost of war.

Our country is in deep financial trouble. It continues to amaze me that we would raise the debt ceiling, spend money we don't have and cut much-needed programs from our seniors and children while we continue to spend $8 billion a month in Afghanistan.

Karzai is a corrupt leader. His government is corrupt. He has stated that he would rather side with the Taliban than the United States. This is based on an article in the Washington Post on December 8, 2010. What sense does it make to sacrifice our young American lives, our money and our resources for a man who does not want our troops in his country? It simply does not make any sense at all.

According to a March 15 Washington Post/ABC News Poll, 73 percent of Americans want our troops out of Afghanistan this summer. Last week, every Member of Congress received an Associated Foreign Press article from Congressman Peter Welch. I do not have time to read the whole article, but let me share some excerpts from his letter to each of my colleagues and his colleagues, and I will quote the letter from Congressman Welch.

``I want to draw your attention to a recent Associated Foreign Press article detailing the funneling of USAID dollars to the Afghan Taliban, reportedly making Western reconstruction funds the main source of income for insurgents.

``According to the story, an estimated 10 percent of the cost of every development project is used to pay off the Taliban. The United States has spent $56.1 billion in Afghanistan since 2002.''

Mr. Speaker, let me remind the Congress and the American citizens that the Taliban are killing and maiming American soldiers and marines. It is time that this Congress debate the Afghan war and to bring our troops home. Here we are talking about cutting spending for programs that help the American people, but yet we continue to send billions and billions of dollars to a corrupt leader. It doesn't make sense. Mr. Speaker, we could save American lives, which is the most important, but also $8 billion a month if we were to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.

Mr. Speaker, I will continue to come to the floor once a week, and I will bring photographs in the way of posters to remind the American people and my colleagues in Washington of the price of war. Right beside me now is the Air Force Honor Guard at Dover bringing a hero home in a transfer case, which is known as a coffin as well, flag draped.

Mr. Speaker, it is time for this Congress to debate the issue of bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. How much longer can we afford to give lives of our young Americans to a corrupt leader? It makes no sense. I want my colleagues in both parties to awaken.

Jim McGovern, Democrat, and Walter Jones, a conservative, will soon have a bill that we will put on the floor to debate bringing our troops home. I want the American people to join us in bringing our troops home.

Mr. Speaker, as I do always when I close, I will ask God to please bless our men and women in uniform. I will ask God to please bless the families of our men and women in uniform. I will ask God in His loving arms to hold the families who have given a child dying for freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And, Mr. Speaker, I will ask God to please bless the House and Senate that we will do what is right in the eyes of God for the American people. And I will ask God to give wisdom, strength and courage to President Obama that he will do what is right in the eyes of God for His people.

And I will close by asking God three times, please God, please God, please God, continue to bless America.

(House of Representatives - April 12, 2011)

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