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CVA Statement on Paul/Udall Afghanistan Legislation

By Concerned Veterans for America

Grassroots veterans group applauds Senator Rand Paul and Senator Tom Udall for highlighting the need to end America’s longest war

ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement following Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) and Sen. Tom Udall’s (D-N.M.) introduction of the bipartisan American Forces Going Home After Noble Service Act (AFGHAN) Service Act, a bill that would plot the course for an American military withdrawal from Afghanistan and repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF):

“The United States was justified in engaging in military action in Afghanistan in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks. Since then, the United States has largely accomplished its original military objectives, yet our men and women in uniform remain engaged in the country with an ambiguous mission and no clear definition of victory. With the AFGHAN Service Act, Sens. Paul and Udall highlight a growing sense across the country that American military involvement in Afghanistan has run its course and potentially become counterproductive to our interests. Moreover, they recognize Congress has abdicated its constitutional responsibilities by allowing the continued use of the 2001 AUMF to justify what has become open-ended American military engagements in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world. Repealing the authorization would force Congress to have the difficult but necessary discussions about where we send our men and women in uniform and, more importantly, why. We commend Sens. Paul and Udall for their leadership and courage in addressing these critical issues and stressing the need for Congressional action.”

The 2001 AUMF authorized the president “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001,” in order to prevent future attacks on the US by those actors.

As of 2013, however, the 2001 AUMF had been invoked more than 30 times to authorize military action and deployments of US forces to Afghanistan, the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iraq, and Somalia.

In recent polling by RealClearPolitics and the Charles Koch Institute, 49 percent of veterans said the U.S. should be less militarily engaged around the world while only 17 percent said we should be more engaged. Sixty-one percent do not believe it is our responsibility to ensure that Afghanistan has a liberal democratic system of government, while 69 percent of veterans would support the president if he withdrew all troops from Afghanistan.

Caldwell recently penned an op-ed with Will Ruger, Vice President of Research at the Charles Koch Institute, charting a path forward for better foreign policy. You can read it here.