Death of bin Laden renews House effort to end war in Afghanistan
U.S. Marines watch TV as President Barack Obama announces the death of Osama Bin Laden, at Camp Dwyer in Helman Province, Afghanistan, on May 2, 2011.
May 3rd, 2011
01:52 PM ET
3 years ago

Death of bin Laden renews House effort to end war in Afghanistan

Washington (CNN) – The death of Osama bin Laden is giving a bipartisan group of House members who have long opposed the U.S mission in Afghanistan a new boost to make the case that the president should move to end the war in Afghanistan.

North Carolina Republican Walter Jones tells CNN President Obama should "declare victory" after taking out bin Laden and now come up with a timeline for wrapping up the U.S operation in Afghanistan.

On Thursday Jones will join anti-war Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern, to unveil new legislation called "the Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act, " requiring the president to submit to Congress a timeline for withdrawing troops, with specific dates, including when the U.S. will hand over security and military responsibilities to the Afghan government. The administration has said it will begin withdrawing some troops in July. While the legislation doesn't dictate an exit date, Jones said he wants to see a plan that brings U.S. forces home within a year.

Earlier this year, McGovern and Jones wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing the government of Afghanistan was corrupt and "al Qaeda was someplace else." They maintained the costs in lives and U.S. resources was too high at a time where Congress was slashing government programs, and it was time to talk about withdrawal now, "not a plan to stay there four more years and 'then we'll see'."

"Gates has already said we will be there until 2014. I think we ought to be out of Afghanistan in the next year or so," Jones said, adding, "The leader of al Qaeda is now dead – there are no al Qaeda to speak of in Afghanistan."

Directly tying the war to the broader national debate about reducing government spending, the bill would also require the president to report quarterly to Congress about the status and costs of the transition. A summary provided by McGovern's office says these reports must detail "the human and financial costs of remaining in Afghanistan, including the increased deficit and public debt."

Jones said bluntly the U.S. can't afford the costs of the war in Afghanistan. "Why are we spending $8 billion a month? We are a broke nation," the North Carolina Congressman said. "We can't even pay our own bills, there's borrowed money from China to prop up Karzai who half the time doesn't even want us there."

Hoping to highlight the significant savings of speeding up the U.S. withdrawal, Jones and McGovern would also require the president to report how much money would be saved from "an accelerated redeployment" if the U.S. concluded the transition of all U.S. military and security operations within 6 months.

While Jones criticized the U.S. mission in Afghanistan he complimented President Obama and U.S. intelligence and military personnel for the successful operation against bin Laden, arguing it should be a model for future military missions.

"This to me ought to be the new way to fight terrorism. Hit 'em in their own backyard – take them out in their own backyard. Use planes, use bombs, use killer squads."

To date Jones said he has eight House GOP co-sponsors for his bill and McGovern's office said it has an equal number of Democrats on board. Opponents of the Administration's Afghanistan strategy, McGovern and Jones were planning to introduce this bill even before bin laden was killed, and it's unclear whether it would get much more support than their previous efforts to press for an end to the war.

The GOP-led House has stood by the president and continued to provide support for the mission in Afghanistan. The number two House Democrat, Steny Hoyer of Maryland, noted Tuesday that the July date for beginning withdrawal is only few months away and said "I don't see that the Administration is going to change it's stated policy of reducing very substantially our presence in Afghanistan in the near term."

Speaker John Boehner Monday made a point to stress the need to stay in Afghanistan, saying, "This makes our engagement in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan more important, not less."

Asked about Boehner's comments Jones said, "I think he's off base on that one," and said he believes the American people support his position.

"The American people are tired of borrowing money to prop up a crook named Karzai."

Read Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz's opinion piece, "It's time to pull out of Afghanistan" here.


Filed under: Afghanistan • House • Osama bin Laden
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. gt

    hell yea get our troops home... we have no business there nowwith osoma dead...if they want to grow poppies and treat there women like cattle its none of our business... they have been doing this since time began...

    May 3, 2011 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    I heard that Bush and Cheney paid Pakistan for 6 years to hide Bin Laden so they could control Americans using fear. It makes sense to me – look at all the Press conferences, the campaigns of the republicans in those years.

    Thank GOD President Obama would NOTt go along with those political games. It was harder for our intelligence people to find him, but it GOT DONE.

    May 3, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. GI Joe

    Bossy republicans. They are paranoid and petty. If 2013 is only a few months less than 2014, it's not worth the stink.

    Republicans ran on Jobs Jobs Jobs - they appear to be avoiding THAT at all costs to the American people.

    The President IS DOING HIS JOB – you petty little paranoid republicans need to do your job instead of following Turtle Face around with your nose up his butt yelling HELL NO.

    May 3, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. ConservaFASCISTS

    We got who we came for. Mission Accomplished!!! Time to pack the rucks sacks and come home. Our strategy in the region should be strictly counterterrorism and not counterinsurgency. Bring our troops home!!!

    May 3, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Fiscally Disciplinarian

    In any complex governmental or corporate initiative [the wars in Afghanistan & Iraq qualify for this description], there are people, organizations and companies put in positions of authority, power and influence that are reluctant to give those perks up. All those tough taking Republicans who are so worried about spending and, ehem, JOBS!, should be the same ones advocating for an end to the WAR in Afghanistan.

    We went after Osama bin Laden - DEAD OR ALIVE - was the rejoinder from our last President (No.43). Well, under the current President (No. 44 Magnum), we got him. It cost American Families well over 5,000 lives [fathers, sons, husbands & wives too] in Iraq & Afghanistan. It ADDED well over $2 TRILLION dollars to the NATIONAL DEBT for this unfunded war for which US President 43 didn't have the courage to raise taxes to fund. But the job is done! NO MISSION CREEP!

    May 3, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. GrogInOhio

    North Carolina Republican Walter Jones sounds like a sane Republican. A rare breed these days. Good luck to him!

    May 3, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. GOP is not based in reality

    " North Carolina Republican Walter Jones tells CNN President Obama should "declare victory" after taking out bin Laden"

    Of course the Repubs always want to "declare victory" or "mission accomplished" even though reality fails to support such a statement. Come back to earth, there is an ongoing war going on. We may want to pull our troops out, but to declare "victory" is insane...well insanity and repubs goes hand in hand.

    May 3, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. david

    Just leave "The logical thinking to the President" I don,t think the Administration needs any advice from Republicans? A Liberal sitting President "Ended World War ll , Our President will end Iraq and Afganistan? Hail to our Commander and Chief,and our "Awesome Military!!!!!!

    May 3, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Out out out

    Go Jones & McGovern! Now there's some great bi-partisanship. Let's cut our losses and get out of the hopeless Afghanistan quagmire.

    May 3, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. Bill

    While we're declaring, why don't we just declare that the "recession" is over, too?

    May 3, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. Republican Robber Baron

    Yes that's a wrap. Not really much else the Military can do in Afganistan or Pakistan because it requires a political solution.
    Occupying won't really accomplish much except for drain our $ resources and help drive recruitment for the enemy.

    We already wasted TONS of billions of $ in Pakistan aid, Afganistan and Iraq...time to end this wasteful spending and let the Arabs fight it out on their own

    May 3, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. sonny chapman

    The ghost of Jack Murtha rises. WHY are we still in Afghanistan ? El Quida ? Pineta put their number at 150 in Afghanistan. What do we need 100,000 troops for then ? Does anyone see a similarity between Pakistan/Cambodia in the Vietnam War ?

    May 3, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Time for practicality and reason to kick in. We really do need to balance our budget. I say scale Afghanistan back some, but not right away. Staying on the offensive is a good strategy when you have the upper hand. We don't. As much as we would like to think that we don't, we really do not have the upper hand. Sorry. If we did, wouldn't you think our capable armed services would have resolved this war a long time ago?

    May 3, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Russ

    Wow!! A Republican wanting a time line to get out of Afghanistan. Seems like Obama has already proposed that. Boy, don't let McCann or Palin hear about this or you may bear their media wrath.

    May 3, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    We can't really leave just yet. This is a case of we broke so we have to fix it. We can't leave until things are relatively stable there. It won't be for a while.

    May 3, 2011 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. Bo

    This is the best idea I've heard in a while. We can use some of the war money to fund intelligence so we can monitor and extract individuals like OBL.

    May 3, 2011 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. peace

    bonehead needs to stfu we are tried of thier greed. I miss nancy p.

    May 3, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    You darn right President Obama can declare victory because the Republicans are declaring victory for GWB but take no ownership of Bush part in the economic disaster.

    May 3, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |