Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) delivered a powerful speech Wednesday on the floor of the United States House of Representatives advocating ending the US government’s ongoing war in Afghanistan. In the speech Jones challenges President Barack Obama’s claim that the Afghanistan War has ended. Jones supports the challenge by noting that thousands of US troops remain in Afghanistan, US taxpayers’ dollars continue to be spent in Afghanistan for military intervention, and the US and Afghanistan governments have recently entered into a bilateral security agreement purposed to keep US troops in Afghanistan.
Jones’ speech is part of his continuing effort to end America’s longest war.
Despite Obama’s insistence otherwise, the Afghanistan War continues in the new year. As Kia Makarechi argues in Vanity Fair, the so-called ending of the Afghanistan War in December is more properly characterized as a “re-branding” given that over 10,000 US troops remain in the country with a newly expanded 2015 combat mission.
Jones, a member of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Advisory Board, observes in his speech the sad state of affairs where Afghanistan War spending means “taxpayers' money ends up in the hands of the Taliban, to kill Americans and to blow up the buildings that we built for them with taxpayer money.” He also addresses, as did fellow RPI Advisory Board Member Dennis Kucinich on Sky News the same day, how spending on war stands in the way of spending in America.
Jones concludes his brief speech by urging Congress “to meet its constitutional duty to debate war and not let any President have an [Authorization for Use of Military Force] to send our young men and women overseas to die and see the taxpayers' money wasted.”
Watch Jones’ speech below, and read below, from the Congressional Record, a transcript of the speech:
Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, I am sure that my colleagues would agree that we have many needs in our districts. For example, my district has an inlet that cannot be dredged, which causes an economic problem. And the reason it cannot be dredged is because of lack of funds. We continue to spend billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there is no money for necessary infrastructure projects back here in North Carolina and across the Nation.
Mr. Speaker, as you know, I have been outspoken on the continuation of war in Afghanistan. I would like to recite a segment from Rudyard Kipling's poem, ``Epitaphs of the War,'' as Ron Paul did when we went into Iraq: ``If any question why we died, tell them because our fathers lied.''
Mr. Speaker, a recent letter to the editor of the Marine Corps Times echoed the same sentiment. Bryan Chou wrote:
``Remember the part I said about ending the Marines' presence in Afghanistan? I lied,'' said every politician.I assume Mr. Chou was referring to the President's recent statement that the war in Afghanistan is over.
How can the war be over when we just committed to a 10-year bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan to keep thousands of troops there while spending millions of dollars? The Afghan Parliament voted on the bilateral security agreement while we in Congress had no discussion and no debate.
According to the Constitution, the President does not need to come to Congress for permission on an agreement, but I think we have a responsibility to the American taxpayer and our men and women in uniform to discuss an agreement that will keep more taxpayer dollars and more troops in Afghanistan in the coming years.
Just a couple of weeks ago the Marine Corps announced that the marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina's Third District, which I represent, are getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. When does it end, Mr. Speaker? When does it end?
I would like to quote Grant Filbeck from Erie, Pennsylvania, who wrote a letter to the Marine Corps Times last week about Afghanistan:
I believe in the mission 100 percent, but we have given the Afghans the tools to succeed, and it's up to them to use them. We have been in the country for more than 13 years. That is ridiculous. We have spent so much money funding these guys. If the Afghans want to fight for their country, then they will, or the Taliban will take over without much of a fight.These two men whose letters I referenced are marines who have been to Afghanistan.
Mr. Speaker, this is a poster from a book titled, ``How U.S. Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban.'' It was written several years ago by Douglas Wissing. It is a great expose on how the taxpayers' money ends up in the hands of the Taliban, to kill Americans and to blow up the buildings that we built for them with taxpayer money.
Mr. Speaker, in closing, we owe it to the American people, our military, and our Constitution to debate war. As James Madison wrote: ``The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature.'' I agree with James Madison and urge the Congress to meet its constitutional duty to debate war and not let any President have an AUMF to send our young men and women overseas to die and see the taxpayers' money wasted.
May God continue to bless our troops, and may God continue to bless America.
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