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Bring Our Soldiers Home:

It's Time to Accelerate our Military Withdrawal from Afghanistan

By James Moran

USA Today, April 23, 2012


Afghanistan is simply no longer a sufficient threat to the domestic security of the U.S. to warrant 65,000 troops and nearly $100 billion in annual spending. Our reasons for invading Afghanistan were to dismantle al-Qaeda and to prevent that country from becoming a haven for terrorists. That objective has been achieved: Osama bin Laden is dead, and al-Qaeda has been largely dismantled in that country.

The recent Quran burnings, the massacre of innocent civilians and the other disturbing incidents of uncharacteristic behavior have unfortunately reinforced Taliban propaganda that we are occupiers rather than liberators.

In many ways, this is a civil war. The Taliban is made up of Pashtuns living in the more rural south. The Afghan government and security forces largely consist of non-Pashtun tribes. These factions in Afghan society are centuries deep and cannot be repaired by an outside force that is largely unfamiliar with their history, language and culture. Further, the Afghan government, largely due to U.S. funding that is many times greater than the countryís economy, is tied for the most corrupt in the world.

The Afghanistan war, the longest in U.S. history, has become unpopular for Americans of all political stripes because our political leaders cannot articulate why our continued presence is in our vital national interest. Every day that our brave men and women in uniform remain in Afghanistan is another day they risk their lives for a mission that is no longer worth the cost in dollars, let alone lives.

The generous investment of our capital, the valorous example of our men and women in uniform, and the unselfish support of the American people have given the Afghan people the opportunity to now determine their own future.

Itís time to bring our soldiers home.

US Congressman James P. Moran (D-VA) is currently serving his 11th term as U.S. Representative from Virginia's 8th District, comprised of the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, Arlington County, and portions of Fairfax County, including Lee District, Mason District, Providence District, Mt. Vernon District and Reston. A senior member of the US House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Moran serves as the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on the Interior & Environment, and also serves on the Defense and Military Construction Subcommittees.

This article was first published at USA Today, on 19 April 2012.




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