Support for Afghanistan War Supplemental Amendments 4 and 5

Jul 1, 2010
Floor Speeches

Opposes further funding for U.S. military actions in Afghanistan

 
 

Washington, Jul 1, 2010 - Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes, there are snowballs in hell. I rise in support of amendments 4 and 5. I do so with a heavy heart, as I deeply appreciate the Americans whose lives are in danger in Afghanistan. They are there to protect us against the radical forces of Islam, which used Afghanistan as a base of operations that led to the slaughter of 3,000 Americans on 9/11, which is almost 9 years ago. After that vicious attack on our civilian population, yes, we cannot let down our guard. However, that does not mean rubberstamping any military operation, even if it does not have a chance of success.

I have been engaged in Afghanistan since the 1980s, and I can state emphatically that if we continue our present strategy in Afghanistan, we will not succeed, and America will eventually be weakened by loss of lives and the expenditures of hundreds of billions of dollars.

What works in Afghanistan is what has worked in Afghanistan: Let the Afghans pay the price. Let them do their fighting. Putting American boys in their place is contrary to our national interests, and will not lead to success. Trying to foist upon the Afghan people a corrupt centralized government in Kabul will not work. We need to change strategy instead of putting our people into a meat grinder in the place of Afghans themselves.

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I rise in support of Amendments Nos. 4 and 5. I do this with a heavy heart, as I deeply appreciate the brave Americans whose lives are in danger in Afghanistan. They are there to protect us against the forces of radical Islam, which used Afghanistan as a base of operations. And that is what led directly to the slaughter of 3,000 Americans on 9-11 almost nine years ago. After that vicious attack on our civilian population, we must never let down our guard, or show signs of weakness before this evil fanatic enemy. However, that doesn't mean rubber stamping any military operation even if it does not appear to have a chance of success. I have been engaged in Afghanistan since the 1980s and I can state emphatically that if we continue our present strategy in Afghanistan we will not succeed and America will eventually be weakened by loss of lives and the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Putting our courageous defenders in a no-win situation will sap the will of our people and the capabilities of our military, as it did in Iraq. And while going into Iraq was neither illegal nor immoral, it was a mistake, because there was no way to succeed and withdraw before being stuck in a bloody and costly war of attrition, from which we are only presently extricating ourselves.

Continuing the war in Afghanistan as we are now engaged will lead nowhere but to a similar meat grinder, dragging us down and at a horrendous cost. None of this means that I believe we should cede control of Afghanistan to radical anti-American Muslims. It instead means we must be realistic, so the sacrifice of our brave defenders will not be in vain.

We could have and should have eliminated Saddam Hussein through an alliance with those forces in Iraq that despised that bloody tyrant-- the Kurds, the Shiites, the professional soldiers and bureaucracy.

A similar strategy already worked in Afghanistan after 9-11, the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces were not defeated by an invasion of U.S. military troops. Only 200 American military personnel were on the ground when this terrorist army was driven out. It was the Afghans themselves--the Northern Alliance--who won the day. They had American air support but they were the ones on the ground. I'd say it was not ours, but their boots on the ground that did the job. However, most of them didn't have boots. This ``let the locals do their own fighting'' principle is the formula for success. In Afghanistan, let those forces who despise the radical Taliban fight them and defeat them with our help, but not in their place. Instead, our young people are doing the fighting, and the dying. Why? Because we are trying to foist onto all Afghans a structure of government that is totally inconsistent with their culture and tradition--a centralized all-powerful government in Kabul. That has never worked in Afghan history, especially when that central government is corrupt and backed by a foreign army.

America needs to rethink our approach in Afghanistan. We owe it to those who are risking their lives to not keep them engaged in an impossible mission. Nonetheless, I firmly believe radical Islam can be defeated in Afghanistan.

I would suggest that it is time for America to open and honestly discuss the various approaches available, and then to move toward a plan that will work.

As for me, I say, let the Afghans who expelled the Taliban in the past do the fighting for themselves now. Let them do their own fighting--it is a strategy that works.