US lawmakers opposed to the Afghan war, emboldened by a huge leak of military files on the conflict, pushed Tuesday for pulling US forces from Pakistan in a blunt challenge to President Barack Obama.
The House of Representatives was expected to vote on both an emergency spending bill to pay for Obama's strategy to turn around the faltering Afghan campaign and on a measure calling for a withdrawal under a Vietnam-era law.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Wake Up America. WikiLeaks' release of secret war documents gave us 92,000 reasons to end the wars. Pick one,Ã¢â‚¬Â Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich, author of the Pakistan measure, said as debate began.
But as the US Army announced it had launched a criminal investigation into the affair Tuesday, Representative Buck McKeon, top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, invoked US forces on the frontlines.
McKeon warned Ã¢â‚¬Å“cutting off their funding in the middle of that fight is tantamount to abandonment.Ã¢â‚¬Â He said he was Ã¢â‚¬Å“confidentÃ¢â‚¬Â US forces Ã¢â‚¬Å“will succeed in Afghanistan if given the time, space, and resources they need to complete their mission.Ã¢â‚¬Â
With November elections fast approaching, Kucinich charged the United States was shortchanging Americans struggling to make ends meet in a sour economy while Congress approved Ã¢â‚¬Å“unlimited money for war.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kucinich, who has called for US forces to leave Afghanistan and Pakistan before, said US money went to Ã¢â‚¬Å“a corrupt government in Afghanistan,Ã¢â‚¬Â or to Ã¢â‚¬Å“a corrupt government in Pakistan which helps the Taliban in Afghanistan kill our troops.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In Kabul, the Afghan government said Tuesday the leaked documents showed Pakistan helped insurgents who target Afghans and that the country's Western allies had an incoherent approach to the insurgency.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry said it was important not to Ã¢â‚¬Å“overhypeÃ¢â‚¬Â raw intelligence field reports, some of them Ã¢â‚¬Å“completely dismissable,Ã¢â‚¬Â others Ã¢â‚¬Å“unreliable.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬ÂPeople need to be very careful in evaluating what they read there,Ã¢â‚¬Â the Democrat said, insisting Washington had Ã¢â‚¬Å“made some progressÃ¢â‚¬Â in addressing the issue of Pakistan.
The former top US diplomat in Kabul, Ryan Crocker, openly worried about the US public's will to see the bitter conflict through and about the Taliban's take on Obama's July 2011 timetable for starting a US withdrawal.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Impatience is on the rise again in this country,Ã¢â‚¬Â he told Kerry's committee, warning a failure of US resolve was Ã¢â‚¬Å“what our adversaries are counting on now.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The following Kucinich press release was sent to RAW STORY:
Washington D.C. (July 26, 2010) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is circulating the following letter to Members of Congress in advance of expected votes on Tuesday:
WikiLeaks released 92,000 previously secret documents (any one of which presumably could be a case for a congressional hearing) which demonstrate that Congress has not been given a true account of the war by either the military or by two administrations.
We cannot and must not ignore the latest documented evidence from WikiLeaks now circulating on the Internet for the entire world to see:
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Our troops being placed in mortal peril because of poor logistics.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Countless innocent civilians killed Ã¢â‚¬Å“by mistake.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ An Afghanistan Ã¢â‚¬Å“governmentÃ¢â‚¬Â which is hopelessly corrupt.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Pakistan Intelligence collaborating with the Taliban against the US.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The Pentagon understating the firepower of the insurgents.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ A top Pakistani General visiting a suicide bombing school monthly.
Will we go deeper into the war in Afghanistan despite knowing that it is a growing disaster?
Will our Special ForcesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ footprint in Pakistan widen without congressional consent?
Tomorrow there will be an opportunity to stop this madness. First we can vote FOR
H. Con. Res 301, the Kucinich-Paul Resolution, which invokes the War Powers Resolution to require withdrawal of our troops from Pakistan, in order to nip the next ground war in the bud. Next, we can vote against the $33 billion supplemental war appropriation.
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we know enough now to begin to demand an end to these wars? Can we ignore the budgetary impact of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially when there are so many pressing needs for jobs, housing, education, health care and retirement security here at home?
Vote FOR H.Con.Res 301, The Kucinich-Paul Resolution to Withdraw from Pakistan.
Vote Against the $33 Billion Iraq-Afghanistan-Pakistan War Supplemental.