Two high profile Republican senators, agreeing with President Donald Trump, wondered this week why the U.S. was still in Afghanistan after 19 years with no progress. “I want to find a way to end the war,” said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has long advocated ending that war.
‘We cannot show any progress’
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley seemed to agree, saying, “If we cannot show any progress on any metric — we’ve invested $1 trillion. We’ve lost thousands of lives. I don’t understand. The American people have been hugely patient, hugely patient. I just don’t see what’s going on here.”
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Frankly, they deserve better from us. Somethings gotta give. It’s just not fair to our soldiers to keep sending them into a mess where there’s no clear cut national security target.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) February 12, 2020
The senators made these statements during a Tuesday afternoon Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing that addressed the costs of the war and the many audits that revealed deep corruption and waste.
Sen. Paul’s call to bring all the troops home came mere hours after he joined the President and Vice President Mike Pence at Dover Air Force Base to pay their respects to two soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
President Trump Wants to End Afghanistan War
Trump has been urging troop withdrawal for some time and promised to end the Afghanistan war during his 2016 campaign. But those efforts have been undermined by Republicans worried about what will happen there in the aftermath. The President has also been trying to construct a peace deal that will ease the withdrawal of troops.
The Washington Examiner reported, “To make the point that the war hasn’t worked well, Paul invited several experts to testify, including John Sopko, the longtime auditor of the war in his role as the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.”
“Sopko told Secrets that he is the ‘eternal optimist’ and hopes for a peaceful solution to the constant battles in Afghanistan, but he couldn’t point to many achievements. Asked ‘what went right,’ he said that there are ‘certain areas we have seen gains,” the Examiner continued. “He cited protection and advancements for women, improved healthcare and education, enhancements to the Afghan military and air force, and in some anti-corruption initiatives.”
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) February 8, 2020
Congress Hasn’t Done Its Job
Paul said, “We’re getting to the point where people on both sides of the aisle are saying, ‘Enough is enough.” The senator added that not trying to eventually end the war is “not fair to our soldiers and their families, to put them through this if there is not a vital interest.”
“It’s Congress’s fault,” Paul concluded. “We are in this lingering war because Congress hasn’t done its job.”