The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act won’t be voted on in the Senate until after Thanksgiving, but we’re still keeping an eye on a huge move toward accountability for the war in Afghanistan.
A bill introduced by Sen. Tammy Duckworth to create a commission to study the full 20 years of war could be added to the NDAA as an amendment. That proposal comes with bipartisan support from Sens. Todd Young and Jerry Moran.
It also has support from VoteVets and us at Concerned Veterans for America. Recently, CVA Federal Affairs Liaison Luis Cardona and VoteVets Senior Advisor Will Fischer wrote about their joint support for Sen. Duckworth’s proposed commission.
Though we often disagree with each other on policy, on this issue we are united: There must be accountability for Afghanistan — for the sake of all those who served and their loves ones.
One of the keys to this legislation is the scope and makeup of the commission:
The proposed Afghanistan War Commission would be tasked with examining all military and diplomatic activities surrounding the war, along with how decisions were made, and what role congressional oversight played during the war. That study would include a diverse set of voices and expertise chosen in a bipartisan manner.
The commission would exclude current and former members of Congress who served during the war in Afghanistan, as well as those who played a direct role in decision-making and operations during the war. This is a sensible choice. Intimate involvement in operations could diminish honest evaluation of how the war played out.
Additionally, the proposed commission would be transparent so the American public can hold leaders accountable for the war’s failures. Cardona and Fischer continue:
The commission would provide accountability for the war and its coordinators by creating actionable recommendations and an unclassified report at the end of the review. The American public deserves to know exactly how the military and U.S. political leaders conducted America’s longest war and why certain decisions were made.
After 20 years of war, trillions of dollars spent, and thousands of lives lost and altered, a review commission is necessary to ensure our leaders don’t make the same mistakes again.
Read the full op-ed in The Hill.