Lisa McCormick released the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s August 21 address on the future of the war in Afghanistan:
President Trump outlined a vague framework for a ratcheting-up of force in the now 16-year-long conflict in Afghanistan but he failed to define what victory would look like or explain why any American should lose his or her life fighting in that remote part of the world.
The president’s pronouncement that disclosing troop levels, military strategies and timelines may weaken the United States’ ability to fight terrorism is an excuse to put additional U.S. troops at risk without giving details on their missions or telling us how we can measure their success.
That is a cop out, not a long-term approach in America’s best interest. Americans are exhausted by what seems to be an endless war so we need to ask why our nation should be responsible for the intentional death of any teenager from Iowa or Kabul. It is time to stop killing.
America invaded when the Afghans refused to turn over Osama bin Laden. The al-Qaeda leader was killed by US Navy Seal Team 6 on May 2, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Our mission there is over. Nothing in Afghanistan today is worth another American life.
Our effort to restore order to Afghanistan has been welcomed with rampant corruption, weaknesses of the central government, and ethnic tensions that fuel the insurgency. We owe all members of our military who have served there an extraordinary debt of gratitude but we have lost too many brave young Americans without a defining reason to stay. Our local allies may be rewarded with wealth, weapons, food, technology or the means to exit the area but America’s departure is long overdue.
It is imperative that the President consult with Congress before moving forward with any major new actions in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Our citizens demand a clear mission that defines victory and measures success, not a vague plan to continue the failed strategies of the past.
President Trump is echoing President Bush and President Obama, instead of commanding the Pentagon to show how we can win this war or acknowledging that all we can achieve with deadly force has been done, so it is time to leave.
It is time for the president to present a compelling plan for regional stability, world peace and an end to American military involvement. If President Trump fails to do that, then Congress must be more assertive.
Congress can restrain the imperial presidency and curtail war powers granted to the executive branch. This is a time to do that.
Any real threats to the United States in Pakistan and Afghanistan have been neutralized. We must not be motivated by unfounded fear. While we maintain a right to self defense and share an obligation to help our brothers and sisters around the world, we must not continue killing innocent people or sacrifice America’s blood and treasure unless there is a clear and present danger.
Sinister suspects lurking in the shadows are the stuff of nightmares, not American Dreams. Today, guerrilla insurgent groups active in Afghanistan and Pakistan pose virtually no existential threat to the United States of America or its vital interests, except soldiers we put in their way. It is time for the United States to wake up and move to replace endless war with an honorable peace.
I repeat my call for Congress to enact restrictions on any one person’s ability to launch a nuclear war. I repeat my call for an audit of the Pentagon.