ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, voted in favor of authorizing the War in Afghanistan in September of 2001. But since then he has been one of the most outspoken critics of the war, which is approaching its tenth year.
Today, the House of Representatives will once again debate his resolution to pull troops out of Afghanistan.
H. Con. Res. 28 calls for President Obama to remove troops from Afghanistan within 30 days of adoption, or if the president determines such a rapid withdrawal would be jeopardize the safety of U.S. troops, then delay the withdrawal to no later than the end of the year.
“This is an effort to get us out of Afghanistan no later than the end of the year,” Kucinich, D-Ohio, told ABC News Thursday morning. “Most American people know that this war isn’t worth fighting for, that we should have been gone a long time ago, that the cost of it at $100 billion a year, and the cost of lives to our troops, the deaths of innocent civilians, all of this makes this war dangerous, risky, a waste of time, a waste of money.”
Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. plan to begin withdrawing troops in July, 2011 is still on schedule. But the pace of withdrawal is expected to be gradual, with some troops remaining to train and assist the Afghan military after the final pullout planned for the end of 2014. Currently there are about 97,000 American troops on the ground in Afghanistan.
Kucinich, a two-time presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination, unleashed on President Obama’s policy in Afghanistan, criticizing the president’s strategy to slowly withdraw troops, even though the Pentagon is set to begin decreasing troop levels this summer.
“We’re there, No. 1. That’s the first thing that’s wrong. We shouldn’t be there,” Kucinich said. “The second thing that’s wrong is we’ve stayed too long. The third thing that’s wrong, we’re spending $100 billion a year, the fourth thing that is wrong is the counter-insurgency strategy, which is almost an oxymoron. The minute that you’re there occupying, the occupation fuels an insurgency. So who are these geniuses that are keeping us there in Afghanistan while our troops bear the brunt of this disaster with more fatalities, more injuries, and also there’s more civilians who are being killed.”
Kucinich has repeatedly brought similar resolutions to pull troops from Afghanistan to the floor in the past. Even under Democratic control, the resolution has never passed. Last year, the resolution was defeated 356-to-65. Just five Republicans, and 60 Democrats backed the effort.
So what’s the point of today’s resolution?
“To continue to show the American people that there are individuals in Congress who get it, who know what’s going on, who didn’t fall off a Christmas tree, who understand that we’re in a war that is not just not-winnable, but it’s a mission impossible for our troops,” Kucinich explained. “We need to get out of there and the faster we get out of there the better.”