[Congressional Record Volume 155, Number 163 (Wednesday, November 4, 2009)]
[Page H12340]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Massa) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. MASSA. Madam Speaker, on the 7th of October of 2001, when we 
invaded Afghanistan, a soldier's then 10-year-old child in 5th grade is 
now 18, and either out of the house, off to college, or starting a 
young adulthood of his or her own, having grown up virtually without 
the benefit of military parents, some of whom today face their fifth 
  Today marks the 2,950th day of combat in the war in Afghanistan; 
2,950 days, without asking for a concurrent sacrifice from the American 
people. It is only the uniformed forces and their families upon whom we 
have placed the burden of these 2,950 days of war.
  The Congressional Research Service estimates that we have now spent 
or committed $300 billion, and that is only the money for which we can 
account. Some will say it is twice that, for this war, like the war in 
Iraq, was funded off-budget with no transparency. $300 billion. That is 
about $101 million per day for 2,950 days. Or, to put out another 
average, that is $3,947 per family of four that every American family 
has paid to date.
  Tragically, that is the good news, because the irrevocable loss is 
comprised of 911 American combatants killed and 4,198 seriously 
wounded, and we do not have the ability to estimate the long-term 
wounds that we cannot see or quantify that will be carried by the 
soldiers and sailors and airmen and marines of this conflict for the 
rest of their lives.
  We have now been in Afghanistan for 2,950 days. We fought World War I 
for 584 days. We have been in Afghanistan five times longer than we 
fought the ``war to end all wars.'' And we have been in Afghanistan 
twice as long as the entire combined combatant days of World War II 
fought by the Greatest Generation.
  Today is the 2,950th day of this war. It has cost us $300 billion, 
$3,947 per American family.
  Enough is enough. It is time to bring our troops home.
  More than any other issue that I have studied, sought counsel on, and 
drawn from my own life's experience for guidance since becoming a 
Member of the United States Congress, the expansion of the war in 
Afghanistan has drawn my late night focus. There, in the quiet of the 
office, I have arrived at the inevitable conclusion that the deployment 
of additional troops in Afghanistan and the continuation of this 
conflict is both not in the interest of our Nation, and, in fact, is on 
par with a potential error the size of our initial invasion in Iraq.
  The recent election in Afghanistan has underscored the fact that we 
will never create a Jeffersonian democracy in that nation. After Hamid 
Karzai had about one-third of his ballots thrown out due to election 
fraud, his opponent withdrew from the coming election because he stated 
publicly there could not be a scenario under which he could trust the 
election process.
  A continued escalation of this conflict to do things like secure 
elections and build an Afghan national identity is a false and foolish 
waste of American lives and treasure. Quite simply, we will never 
create a Jeffersonian democracy, and to continue to fight and die for 
what the people of Afghanistan will not fight and die for is simply 
  Our military should not be expended to secure elections, nor should 
we continue to engage in global nation building. To those who would say 
that we must win in Afghanistan, I simply ask after 24 years of service 
in the United States military and a degree from the United States War 
College, what does a victory look like and when can we obtain this 
indefinable goal?
  Are we now to subordinate ourselves to an Afghan Government that has, 
at best, limited legitimacy in its own nation following a travesty of 
an election that only recently was determined to be the number one 
priority of our on-scene and on-the-ground commander?
  When we first invaded Afghanistan, the mission was to identify, 
locate, capture and kill those who did or would do us harm. Al Qaeda 
terrorists and their camps were destroyed and the remaining elements of 
the organization are now in Pakistan. The regional Commander of U.S. 
military forces has clearly stated this reality.
  Today, November 4, 2009, is the 2,950th day of the war in Afghanistan 
and I think that is long enough.
  After these 8 years, it is clear that only the Afghan people 
themselves can determine their future. We built the army that destroyed 
Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in 3 years. We have now been fighting a 
war for the Afghan people for 8 years. Enough is enough. We have 
achieved our military goals, and our forces have been militarily 
victorious. We are now fighting an enemy who is attacking us because we 
are in their country and are perceived as an occupying military police 
force. We are not, and it is time to come home.
  To continue this war at its current level and to escalate it beyond 
its current scope is a trillion dollar question. Are those who would so 
cavalierly make this commitment willing to demand another $3,947.36 
from every American family of four to pay for it? Thousands have 
protested federal spending to rebuild America's schools, roads, bridges 
and critical infrastructure, but are they willing to do the same when 
their taxes are being spent to rebuild Kabul? At the end of the day, 
what will we have bought? What have we purchased for the $300 billion 
we have already spent or committed to the war in Afghanistan and where 
will the next $300 billion come from?
  Should terrorist camps reemerge there, we must deal with that, but 
there is no evidence that any of the numerous tribal factions want 
this; in fact, it is clear that they do not. The ``war of necessity'' 
has been fought, our enemies killed or captured. We have won and it is 
our clear, patriotic duty to bring our military forces home to defend 
vital American interests; 2,950 days and $300 billion is enough.