When military leaders coined Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, they likely had no idea “enduring” would be the key word.
But almost two decades later, operations in support of the Global War on Terror have eclipsed the initial intent of the war in Afghanistan. Thousands of troops remain in the country, not solely for fighting al-Qaida or punishing the Taliban for harboring terrorists, but for the purposes of “nation-building.”
Members of Congress are finally getting on board with what Americans have felt for a while – it’s time to bring our troops home. Sens. Rand Paul and Tom Udall brought the conversation front and center earlier this week when they introduced the American Forces Going Home After Noble (AFGHAN) Service Act.
The AFGHAN Service Act would prepare the United States to end operations in Afghanistan. Once forces are fully removed from the country, a provision in the bill would repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used and exploited to justify our prolonged entanglement in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.
CVA Executive Director Dan Caldwell had this to say about the bill:
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.
Ending the AUMF puts Congress back in the driver’s seat of foreign involvement. As Caldwell puts it, Congress needs:
“to have the difficult but necessary discussions about where we send our men and women in uniform and, more importantly, why.”
In Afghanistan, we have largely achieved what the United States needed to do there for our safety, so it’s time to come home. Every year spent in Afghanistan costs billions of dollars and, more importantly, puts American lives in danger.
Sens. Paul and Udall’s AFGHAN Service Act is a good step toward a new, more responsible foreign policy for America.
Caldwell also 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.