WASHINGTON — Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) released the following statement regarding news of President Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by September:
“I strongly applaud President Biden’s decision to fulfill his promise to bring our troops home and end the U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan. This war has dragged on over nearly two decades and four presidencies, and has cost America hundreds of billions of dollars, the deaths of thousands of Americans and many tens of thousands of Afghan civilians.
“Just as in the case of Vietnam a generation ago, U.S. officials have repeatedly misled the American people for years on the nature of this war. Today, President Biden is demonstrating the courage and leadership to break from this broken state of affairs, so corrosive to our democracy, to side with strong, bipartisan majorities of Americans who have long demanded an end to our military involvement in Afghanistan. President Biden understands that now is the time to refocus our energies toward robust diplomacy and humanitarian assistance to help ease this conflict and facilitate a sustainable, Afghan-led, negotiated settlement.
“I am proud of the role our Progressive Caucus members have played as a collective voice of conscience on behalf of the millions of Americans, demanding—for decades—an end to our forever wars. The Biden Administration’s decision is the culmination of the tireless work of grassroots movements for peace, who have partnered with so many of my CPC colleagues, including Representative Barbara Lee, who cast a fateful vote against the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force; Representatives Jim McGovern and Adam Smith, who worked across the aisle to force votes on safely and expeditiously withdrawing from Afghanistan; and Representative Ilhan Omar, who, just last year, secured a majority of the House Democratic Caucus in support of her amendment to end the occupation of Afghanistan in the National Defense Authorization Act.
“In the coming months, the CPC looks forward to working with President Biden in bringing a responsible and timely conclusion to this 20-year U.S. occupation. We also intend to work closely with the administration to end other conflicts, from the Saudi-led war in Yemen, to ongoing hostilities in Syria and Libya, as well as U.S. operations in dozens of other countries where our tax dollars can be put to better use to build a more peaceful world. Finally, Congress must repeal the 2001 AUMF so there is no longer a blank check for war, and cut a bloated $740 billion Pentagon budget that is larger than those of the next 10 countries combined.”