WAND/WiLL Women’s Statements about the 10th Anniversary of the War in Afghanistan
Below is a compilation of statements from WAND/WiLL women about the 10th Anniversary of the War in Afghanistan.
Representative Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY)
“I rise today in recognition of the tenth anniversary of the war with Afghanistan. For ten years our country, and the brave men and women who fight for us on the battlefield, have been mired in a seemingly unwinnable war in Afghanistan, a war that has resulted in tens of thousands of casualties, and the death of 1,723 American service members. More and more Americans are expressing a desire to end the war in Afghanistan.
“Recent polls have shown that 73% of Americans want to withdraw troops, and 66% of all veterans believe the war is not worth its cost. There is no better time than now, on the 10th anniversary of this war, to reevaluate the continued conflict, and to commit to bringing our troops home.
“It is irresponsible to continue to spend over one hundred billion dollars a year on a war that Americans support less and less each day, especially as our country tries to fight its way out of the worst economic recession of our lifetimes. This is money that is desperately needed domestically, and would be better spent on fixing our deteriorating infrastructure and fixing our education system.
“Our mission after September 11th 2001 was to dismantle the infrastructure of al-Qaeda and to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, and there is no denying that the current administration and our courageous men and women serving overseas have accomplished these goals. It is time to bring our troops home, reinvest in our nation, and let the Afghani people take responsibility for securing their own nation.
“I believe the time to withdraw from Afghanistan is now, which is why I joined my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in support of H.R. 651, the United States-Afghanistan Status of Forces Agreement Act of 2011 which would establish a redeployment date for U.S. troops. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress, the President, and commanders in our Armed Forces to press for a speedier end to this war. I yield back the balance of my time.”
- October 6, 2011
Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA)
“After ten years and $460 billion invested in an unstable country with untrustworthy leadership, it is past time to end the war in Afghanistan,” said Congresswoman Lee. “Ten years is ten years too long for this wasteful war; it is time to bring our troops and our tax dollars home. That’s why I introduced HR 780 to safely and swiftly redeploy all combat troops and military contractors from Afghanistan.”
Panelists discussed the cost of ten years of endless warfare since the overly broad Authorization of Use of Military Force was approved in 2001. Thousands of soldiers’ lives have been lost, civilian Afghani casualties continue to destabilize efforts for peace, and the United States has committed to borrowing trillions of precious dollars to an open-ended military commitment. Civil liberties have been compromised, there have been illegal wiretaps, unlawful detentions, the use of torture – all justified in the name of fighting the war on terrorism.
Boston University Professor of Political Science and United States Foreign Policy Neta Crawford provided the following testimony at the hearing: “The costs in blood and treasure in Afghanistan for the U.S., its allies, and for Afghans have been underestimated and undercounted. A comprehensive accounting shows that the intensity of the war is increasing, not decreasing.”
Panelists also discussed peaceful alternatives to military action in Afghanistan. Ria Dellawar, an expert on Afghanistan testified that “with the surge, the violence has escalated and any opportunity for dialogue has closed. Despite the failure of counter-insurgency to stop the Taliban and rising civilian and troop casualties, the U.S. continues to pursue its military-first strategy.”
“Afghan civil society leaders want a shift in military strategy,” said Lisa Schirch, Director of 3P Human Security: Partners for Peacebuilding Policy. “Excluding key stakeholders, especially diverse sectors of civil society, will create a recipe for failure.”
-October 7, 2011
Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
"Let's not forget why we entered Afghanistan 10 years ago: to find Osama bin Laden and prevent Al-Qaeda from using the country as a base to attack the United States. Bin Laden is gone, Al-Qaeda has been scattered around the globe, and yet we continue to risk the lives of brave Americans and squander billions of dollars after a decade of interminable conflict. We have spent $444 billion on the war in Afghanistan – all on the nation's credit card. At least $31 billion has vanished into thin air due to contracting waste, fraud, and abuse during wars over the past 10 years. Ask yourself: how many roads, bridges, and schools could we build here with that money?
"Yet we foolishly continue the longest war in American history. It has to stop. Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars building a nation for Afghanistan, we should be using American taxpayer dollars to put Americans back to work."
-October 6, 2011
Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
“Good morning. This anniversary – 10 tragic, horrendous years at war with Afghanistan – is cause not for celebration but for sober and solemn reflection.
“On this occasion let’s remember the 1,800 brave service members who’ve given their lives in Afghanistan over the last decade. Their service and sacrifice couldn’t be more honorable; the mission they were sent on, however, was a moral disgrace.
“Let’s also acknowledge the thousands of Afghan civilians caught in the line of fire and killed for the cause of their so-called liberation. They are casualties of this war and must not be forgotten either.
“We have paid too high a price in blood and treasure over the last 10 years….too high a price for a policy that has not advanced our national security interests.
“This war would be a ripoff at any cost, but when I think about the fact that it’s costing us $10 billion every month, it takes my breath away.
“$10 billion a month! Think of what we could do with $10 billion a month. We could use it to help create the jobs the American people need. $10 billion a month could pay for a lot of Pell Grants, a lot of Head Start slots, a lot of Medicare reimbursements, a lot of school lunches.
“For pennies on the dollar, we can and we must invest in an entirely new approach to protecting America, one that emphasizes diplomacy, multilateral cooperation and peaceful conflict resolution.
“I call this platform Smart Security, and I’ve been promoting it just about every day for the last several years. Instead of invasions and occupations, Smart Security offers other nations partnership and humanitarian aid.
“Instead of a military surge, it promises a much bolder civilian surge that shows American compassion…that embodies the very best American values…that fights poverty, promotes education, rebuilds infrastructure and restores hope.
“The American people have had enough of this war. A new poll even shows that only half of post 9/11 veterans think the Afghanistan war was worth fighting. Isn’t it time we listened to them? Isn’t it time public policy caught up with public sentiment on this life-and-death issue?
“Moral decency, fiscal sanity and public opinion all tell us to do the same thing – after 10 long years, it’s time to bring the troops home.”
-October 6, 2011
This list was compiled by WAND Intern Christina Djossa