Sen. Merkley Introduces Bipartisan Amendment to Speed Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Today Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced he is introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act calling for an accelerated drawdown in Afghanistan.

The bi-partisan amendment is currently supported by:

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM)

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Resolution on Afghanistan

To be offered to National Defense Authorization Act

Whereas, after al Qaeda attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, the United States rightly sought to bring to justice those who attacked us, to eliminate al Qaeda’s safe havens and training camps in Afghanistan, and to remove the terrorist-allied Taliban government;

Whereas, the Afghanistan War is now the longest in American history;

Whereas, United States’ troops, intelligence personnel and diplomatic corps have skillfully achieved these objectives, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden;

Whereas, national security experts, including Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, have noted that al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan has been greatly diminished;

Whereas, over the past ten years the United States' mission has evolved to include a prolonged nation-building effort, including the creation of a strong central government, a national police force and army, and effective civic institutions;

Whereas, such nation-building efforts in Afghanistan are undermined by corruption, high illiteracy, and a historic aversion to a strong central government;

Whereas, members of the United States military have served in Afghanistan valiantly and with honor, and many have sacrificed their lives and health in service to their country;

Whereas, the United States is now spending nearly $10 billion a month in Afghanistan at a time when at home there is high unemployment, a flood of foreclosures, a record deficit, and a debt that is over $15 trillion and growing;

Whereas, the United States has now accomplished its original objectives in Afghanistan;

Whereas, the continued concentration of American and NATO military forces in one region, when terrorist forces are located in many parts of the world, is not an efficient use of resources;

Whereas, the battle against terrorism is best served by using our troops and resources in a counter-terrorism strategy against terrorist forces wherever they may locate and train;

Whereas, the United States will continue to support the development of Afghanistan with a strong diplomatic and counterterrorism presence in the region;

Whereas, the President is to be commended for announcing in July that the United States would commence the redeployment of United States troops from Afghanistan in 2011 and transition to Afghan security control; and

Whereas, the President has established a goal of removing all United States combat troops by December 2014;

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that—

1) the President of the United States should expedite the transition of the responsibility for military and security operations to the Government of Afghanistan;

2) the President shall devise a plan based on inputs from military commanders, the diplomatic missions in the region, and appropriate members of the cabinet, along with the consultation of Congress, for expediting the drawdown of U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan and accelerating the transfer of security authority to Afghan authorities prior to December 2014; and

3) and not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Resolution, the President shall transmit to Congress a plan with a timetable and completion date for the accelerated transition of all military and security operations in Afghanistan to the Government of Afghanistan.

The demand for speed is so hard to achieve. As that is not the only thing that people are doing.

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