Rep. Walter Jones: Congress Should Debate Nine More Years in Afghanistan

by | May 14, 2015

Speaking Tuesday on the United States House of Representatives floor, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) again urged Congress to exercise its constitutional responsibility by debating and voting on if the United States government will continue militarily intervening in Afghanistan for nine more years. Referring to Afghanistan as “well known by historians as the graveyard of empires,” Jones, a Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity Advisory Board member, details the high cost in thousands of US troops killed, tens of thousands more US troops wounded, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent by the US government in the first 14 years of the Afghanistan War. Jones proceeds to note that a new bilateral security agreement President Barack Obama has entered into with Afghanistan “ties us — our nation — to a failed policy for another nine years.”

Jones’ speech begins with an examination of the US government’s debt and deficit to which foreign interventions, including military actions around the world, contribute greatly.

Below are the video and, from the Congressional Record, text of Jones’ four-minute House floor speech:

Mr. JONES. Mr. Speaker, last week, while we were in recess, I traveled through my district and had the opportunity to appear on local television and to speak at civic clubs. Every time I mentioned that we have an $18 trillion debt, eastern North Carolinians were astounded and could not believe it.

To put the debt into perspective, on January 20, 2009, the total Federal debt stood at $10.6 trillion. As of last Friday, May 8, 2015, it has risen to $18–an increase of $7.5 trillion. Our debt now stands at over $200,000 for every full-time private sector worker. I agree with my constituents that it is time Congress stopped passing legislation that is not paid for.

Republicans have control of both Chambers of Congress now because voters want us to cut the debt and deficit and stop passing legislation that is not paid for.

In an April article for Forbes Magazine, Stan Collender wrote:

If you haven’t noticed that Congress is about to increase the Federal deficit substantially, you haven’t been watching carefully . . . or at all. Virtually every policy change that has already or soon will be considered seriously in the House and Senate will make the deficit higher rather than lower.

He further writes:

Based on what Congress is now considering, the deficit could be $100 billion or more next year than it otherwise would be if you just put Washington on autopilot; that is, if you made no changes to existing tax and spending policies. That would be an almost 21 percent increase. It is obvious that our current fiscal policies are unsustainable.

Mr. Speaker, I have been speaking for months and even years about the waste of money in Afghanistan. It is sad to me that we have been pouring money down a rat hole known as Afghanistan.

We have spent over $685 billion in Afghanistan in the last 14 years, and President Obama just entered into a bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan late last year that ties us—our Nation—to a failed policy for another 9 years.

What have we gained there, with over 2,000 American troops killed, over 20,000 wounded, and billions of dollars spent? My answer to my own question is: nothing. Absolutely nothing.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center to meet some of our veterans who had been wounded and are trying to heal. Some have wounds that will never truly heal.

Congress owes it to them–and all of our men and women who serve—and the American taxpayer to have a serious debate about our future in Afghanistan. I think it is high time to leave Afghanistan. Nine more years is absolutely fruitless.

Mr. Speaker, out of fairness to American taxpayers and future generations, we can no longer delay the need to pay down our debt and work toward sound economic policies. And out of fairness to our veterans and the men and women who serve in the military, we need to have a serious debate about spending more money and time in Afghanistan, when it has been proven and is well known by historians to be the graveyard of empires. Is it worth it, Mr. Speaker? I think not.

May God continue to bless our men and women in uniform and may God continue to bless America.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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