A bipartisan group of House members are pushing a new plan to end the war in Afghanistan. Many of the lawmakers who spoke at event on Wednesday announcing the new effort have been outspoken on ending what has become America’s longest military conflict for years, but one Republican, Rep. Walter Jones (NC), says the names on the list of legislators opposing the Afghanistan conflict are expanding on his side of the aisle.
“The number of Republicans is slowly growing,” Jones told reporters. “There were 12 tea party-types who won election that we checked to see what their position was on Afghanistan and 12 said for either policy reasons or financial reasons we need to get out.”
Jones said some veteran Republicans are also signing on to an end to the war, which has has been met with growing public discontent according to public opinion polls. “In time, they’re beginning to say, ‘I don’t know what we’re trying to accomplish, there seems to be no end point,‘“Jones said. “It is slowly on the Republican side changing to [support for] getting our troops out.”
Jones has been an outspoken critic of keeping the Afghanistan conflict going for some time now, and he was joined at the press conference by several of his colleagues who’ve been saying the same thing for as long or longer.
Jones and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), the progressive superstar who’s been one of the most vocal when it comes to calling for end to the war, are co-sponsoring a bill calling for a US pullout of Afghanistan by the end of 2011. Should it make it to the floor, the bill would require the House to vote its opinion on keeping the war going.
Lawmakers have tried to bring an end to the war on the House floor in the past. Kucinich was asked about the chances of this bill versus his others. Kucinich didn’t sound hopeful, but he said American opinion is on his side.
“The American people are not going to stand for their sons’ and daughters’ lives being continually put on the line for a corrupt government in Afghanistan and for no strategic purpose.”
Kucinich took a shot at President Obama, saying the White House “keeps sliding the exit day.”
“Even Secretary [of Defense Robert] Gates is talking about ‘years’ now,” Kucinich said. “What? We were supposed to be out by 2011.”
Also in attendance at the event were Reps. Ron Paul (R-TX), Pete Stark (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA), all longtime critics of the war. All said the public is turning on the war and want America out of Afghanistan yesterday.
Recent polling has registered an increasing discontent with the conflict, which America launched in the days following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A Rasmussen poll cited by Kucinich and others present at the event found 52% of likely voters want troops to come home at the end of this year.
Asked about a potential future conflict that may have some support in the halls of Congress, U.S. military action in Libya, all four members at today’s press conference said they were against it.
“No, that’s a war,” Stark said. “And there are plenty of ways for us to intervene [other than military action] and I hope we’ve learned as the greatest, most powerful nation on Earth to use that power wisely and humanely.”