Hon. Barbara Lee / US House of Representatives – 2009-05-15 22:23:50
WASHINTON, D.C. (May 14, 2009) – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) voted against the Supplemental Appropriations Act to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. She released this statement:
“I opposed the 2001 resolution authorizing the use of force because I believed it gave President Bush and any future President an open ended blank check to wage war anywhere on the globe, starting in Afghanistan. Today, nearly eight years later, I oppose the supplemental appropriations bill for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq because it continues us down the wrong path and can lead to war without end.
“Specifically, I opposed the bill because it favors military activities over diplomatic, development, and reconstruction efforts by a ratio of 9 to 1. Afghanistan will not be stabilized through military might. As noted by the Carnegie Endowment, ‘the presence of foreign troops is the most important element driving the resurgence of the Taliban.’
“The bill does not include an exit plan for Afghanistan. In committee I offered an amendment that would have ensure we have in place an exit plan in the event our objectives for that country prove to be unattainable, unrealistic, or too costly in blood and treasure.
“Additionally, it does not require the fully funded redeployment of troops out of Iraq within 12 months, the LEE Amendment would have corrected this problem but was not made in order by the Rules Committee.
“It does not prohibit ‘drone’ attacks. These unmanned aerial attacks don’t help us because they cause high level of civilian casualties and alienate the population we are trying to help.
“Finally, the bill does not include the strong regional approach the situation demands, nor does it provide for a strong nuclear non proliferation strategy in Pakistan.
“President Obama is correct in saying that ‘we should be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in’ – that’s good advice for Iraq and great advice for Afghanistan. The best way to help the Afghan people develop a stable and functioning state is to decrease our military presence and increase our use of diplomatic, development, and reconstruction activities.
“The supplemental appropriations bill does not reflect a new direction. Therefore, I could not vote for it.”