Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
October 13, 2011
112th Congress, 1st Session
Issue: Vol. 157, No. 153 — Daily Edition
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10 YEARS OF WAR IN AFGHANISTAN: AT WHAT COST?
(Extensions of Remarks - October 13, 2011)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E1861-E1862] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] 10 YEARS OF WAR IN AFGHANISTAN: AT WHAT COST? ______ HON. BOBBY L. RUSH of illinois in the house of representatives Thursday, October 13, 2011 Mr. RUSH. Mr. Speaker, no one will forget the fateful day of 9/11 or those who lost their lives in those shocking, cold-blooded attacks. The bombing of Afghanistan and the subsequent invasion was our response, intended to catch those who hid, armed, and helped plan the attacks on U.S. soil. And, due to the diligence and tireless efforts of the members of our Armed Forces and Intelligence community, we have eliminated nearly all the people involved in the 9/11 attacks, including Osama [[Page E1862]] Bin Laden, and overthrown the Taliban regime that supported them. If there was justice to be had surely, we have found it. Afghanistan has been embroiled in conflict since 1979 and there is no sign of an end to this conflict. The future stability of Afghanistan is, of course, an ideal we all wish for but with Americans deployed so far away from their homes and families, with our troop presence at an all-time high, and with the insurgency still on-going, we need to reassess why, 10 years later, we are still fighting a costly war with no victory or stability in sight. We have spent approximately half a trillion dollars in our war in Afghanistan. It is, therefore, past time that we remember what we've learned in the past: that fighting a war against a nationalistic guerilla organization takes more than technological superiority and force of numbers. Imagine what this resource could do on our homeland. Imagine how many schools, roads, and hospitals half a trillion dollars could build in our own country. Imagine how many hungry kids we could feed or how many of our sick we could treat. Half a trillion dollars could stamp out poverty in places like Philadelphia, Detroit, Memphis, and my hometown of Chicago. It is perplexing to me, then, why some people would rather spend half a trillion dollars on an unwinnable war abroad rather than on solutions to problems here at home. I sincerely hope that the Afghan people get to enjoy the benefits of living in a free and prosperous society. They should be free to pursue the education or livelihood of their choosing. I have great respect for our foreign policy and the fact that we care so deeply about the freedoms of those abroad but now is the time we need to be ensuring the economic freedoms of our citizens here at home. Now is the time that we must refocus on our own country and reinvest in our people and their future. Not tomorrow, not next year, but now! Our rates of unemployment and poverty, if left neglected, will only further divide a nation whose principles serve to inspire the world. The battles we should be fighting are America's war on poverty and our still-to-be-seen war against unemployment. There is terror here at home, the terror that families face when faced with the question of how they are going to pay their bills or feed their children--the terror and anxieties our citizens feel because they believe their government will simply abandon them. Once again, Mr. Speaker, that is the war we should be fighting and the one that, if we come together, I believe we can win. ____________________