Twenty three organizations from across the political spectrum and representing a variety of constituencies have sent a letter urging the Senate to adopt bipartisan amendments by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY) to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. Sen. Merkley’s amendment would call for an accelerated drawdown of US troops in Afghanistan and help end the longest war in American history. Sen. Paul’s amendment would repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq and finally put the Iraq War behind us. Together these amendments represent a unique opportunity to turn the page on a relentless decade of war that has brought our nation to the brink of bankruptcy and cost the lives of over 6,200 American men and women in uniform.
The full text of the letter and a list of signers follows:
November 28, 2011
We are writing today to urge you to support Amendment 1174 offered by Senator Jeff Merkley and Amendment 1064 offered by Senator Rand Paul to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (S. 1867). Sen. Merkley’s amendment calls for an accelerated drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and an expedited transition of security responsibility to Afghans. Sen. Paul’s amendment would recognize U.S. policy to finally end the Iraq War by repealing the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq. Together, these important, bipartisan pieces of legislation turn the page on a decade of war.
After more than 10 years in Afghanistan, it is time to bring our troops home. American men and women in uniform have done everything asked of them. Today, Osama bin Laden is dead, al Qaeda has been significantly diminished, and the future of Afghanistan is firmly in the hands of Afghan people.
It is time for our troops to come home.
Congress is in the midst of a debate over how to right our economy and address our growing federal debt. With the U.S. currently spending nearly $2 billion every week in Afghanistan, an accelerated drawdown would free up tremendous resources desperately needed here at home.
While even our military leaders have admitted that the current challenges in Afghanistan can only be solved with a political solution, we simply cannot justify continuing down our current path in Afghanistan. Sen. Merkley’s amendment recognizes the need to focus on nation building at home, not in Afghanistan, while allowing for a responsible drawdown that honors the sacrifices made by our troops.
In Iraq, the President has reaffirmed U.S. policy to remove all troops by the end of this year. Sen. Paul’s amendment is a responsible reflection of U.S. policy that will help ensure a complete drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq. It is time to repeal the 2002 AUMF and finally turn the page on the Iraq War.
We strongly urge you to support these important, bipartisan amendments by Senators Merkley and Paul.
3P Human Security:
Partners for Peacebuilding Policy Appeal for Justice
Center for International Policy
Church of the Brethren
Council for a Livable World
Friends Committee on National Legislation
International Justice Network
Just Foreign Policy
Minnesota Peace Project
National Council of Churches of Christ, USA
Peace Action West
Peace and Justice Resource Center
United Church of Christ: Justice & Witness Ministries
United for Peace and Justice
United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)
Win Without War
Women’s Action for New Direction