Supercommittee

Sen. Merkley's Harm Reduction Plan for Afghanistan Would Save Lives and Billions

If Senator Jeff Merkley's "expedite the drawdown from Afghanistan" amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act makes a strong showing, that could tip the Obama Administration towards a faster drawdown.

 

That would likely save hundreds of American and Afghan lives - not to mention all the people who wouldn't be physically and psychologically maimed - and could easily save the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars, at a time when the alleged need for fiscal austerity is being touted as a reason to cut Social Security benefits and raise the Medicare retirement age.

 

Everyone knows the Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm." It's a great motto to try to live by. But unfortunately, in this life on Earth, "Do no harm" isn't always on the menu at the restaurant. Sometimes, you're already doing harm, and there's no feasible immediate path to zero harm. Sometimes the best you can do in the short run is to reduce the harm as much as possible. And if that's the best you can do, then that is what you must do.

 

It's not politically feasible, unfortunately, to end the war tomorrow. But we could take a big bite out of it in the next week. And that would save many lives and real money. [You can ask your Senators to co-sponsor the Merkley amendment here.]

 

Merkley's amendment (#1174) says:

 

1) the President should expedite the transition of security responsibility to the government of Afghanistan;

 

2) the President shall devise a plan 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

 

Lee-Campbell Bipartisan Letter to Super Committee on Military Spending:

Lee-Campbell Bipartisan Letter to Super Committee on Military Spending:

Dear Colleague,

As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or the ‘Supercommittee’, seeks out savings and works to end wasteful spending throughout the federal budget, it is critical that all federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, are subject to the same level of scrutiny and consideration. Significant savings can be realized without compromising our national security.

One of the main drivers of our deficit is military spending and it must be on the table for the committee to consider as they seek to reduce our deficit.

Please join us in calling for the Supercommittee to consider savings opportunities throughout our defense spending.

Please note that the letter specifically rejects any cuts that would compromise the security of American troops in the field, as well as any cuts in services and increases in fees for our veterans and military retirees.

If you are interested in signing on or have any questions about the letter, please contact Teddy Miller in Congresswoman Lee’s office; or Christopher Bognanno in Rep. Campbell’s office.

Sincerely

Barbara Lee John Campbell
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Barney Frank Ron Paul
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Gwen Moore Rush Holt
Member of Congress Member of Congress

October __, 2011
Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction Chairman Mark Prater
Senator Patty Murray (Co-Chair)
Senator Max Baucus
Senator John Kerry
Senator Jon Kyl
Senator Pat Toomey
Senator Rob Portman
Representative Jeb Hersarling (Co-Chair)
Representative James Clyburn