Friday, May 28, 2010

Feingold amendment requesting a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan voted down 18-80

The singular factor which will determine our withdrawal from Afghanistan - and Iraq - is when the political will to keep our military in occupation of these countries runs out. And that will never happen so long as the American people are silent, fearful of recreating the mythical atmosphere of the Vietnam era, when hippies and communists supposedly spat on returning soldiers and called them baby killers, and the country was nearly torn to pieces. No, we must support our troops, and that means supporting the mission, even though there is no mission, except to protect the opium crop and to continue throwing massive profits at the military industrial complex and the banks who loan us the money, at interest, to fund it all.

    Think Progress -

    This morning, the Senate debated Sen. Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) amendment to the war supplemental bill, which called on President Obama to provide a flexible timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan to Congress. Arguing for the amendment on the floor, Feingold complained that he is “disppointed that” Congress is passing a bill “providing tens of billions of dollars to keep this war going with so little public debate about whether this approach makes any sense.” After Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) objected to the Feingold amendment, arguing that it sends the wrong message to the region, Feingold retorted, “The Senator suggests that somehow this sends the wrong message to the region. The real wrong message is that we intend to be there forever”:

    FEINGOLD: In light of our deficit and domestic needs and in light of rising casualty rates in Afghanistan and in light of the growing Al Qaeda threat around the world, an expensive troop-intensive nation-building campaign just doesn’t add up for me. We should be focusing on Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other terrorist safe havens. Frankly I am disappointed that we are about to pass a bill providing tens of billions of dollars to keep this war going with so little public debate about whether this approach makes any sense.

    LEVIN: If we adopt the Feingold amendment, Mrs. Madame president, we’ll be sending a…message to the government and people of Afghanistan. It would reinforce the fear, if we adopt this amendment, already a deep seated fear in Afghanistan, that the United States will abandon the region. That is a message that we can ill afford to send regarding the future stability of Afghanistan, and it is a particularly unwise message to send while our forces are still deploying to Afghanistan.

    FEINGOLD: The Senator suggests that somehow this sends the wrong message to the region. The real wrong message is that we intend to be there forever.

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