WASHINGTON – Republican Rep. Walter Jones (NC) told Raw Story that the death of Osama bin Laden gives the United States an opportunity to “declare victory” and pull out of Afghanistan.
“I hope, after taking out bin Laden, that maybe President Obama will feel better about bringing our troops home,” Jones said in an interview Monday evening, while complimenting the president and the military for a job well done.
“If bin Laden was the leader of al Qaeda, well we took the leader out. And there are so few al Qaeda in Afghanistan, their presence is so limited,” added Jones, a vocal opponent of the Afghan occupation. “We could declare victory today. We have eliminated the leader of al Qaeda, bin Laden. He’s now dead. So let’s declare victory and start bringing our troops home.”
The remarks mirrored calls from Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Barney Frank (D-MA) to consider swiftly ending the ten-year military conflict in Afghanistan after bin Laden was killed.
Leaders of both parties, however, largely agreed that the military conflicts abroad must go on with the aim of disrupting al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist factions. Jones had a different idea.
“When there’s another terrorist leader who threatens America or maybe takes some type of action against America, we send in planes with bombs, we send in drones, and we send in kill squads. We take them out. Take them out where they live,” he said. “That’s exactly what a general said to me, and that’s what we did last night.”
“So we ought to use this as an opportunity to declare victory,” Jones continued, contending that the Afghan war and counterterrorism are apples and oranges. “The Taliban has very little to do with al Qaeda. So I see this as an opportunity for America to say to the international world, let’s look at other options for how we’re going to fight terrorism.”
The Obama administration initially said the U.S. would begin withdrawing troops this July, but later postponed the start of the withdrawal to 2014.