« Rep. Luján to Hold Congress on Your Corner in Las Vegas During NMHU Homecoming | Main | EPA Appeals Board Rejects Air Permit for Sithe's Desert Rock Coal-Burning Plant on Navajo Nation Land »

Friday, September 25, 2009

(Updated) Rep. Luján Urges Administration to Reject Troop Increase in Afghanistan, Develop Exit Plan

Update: I contacted Rep. Martin Heinrich's office to ask if he signed on to this letter. The response was that he had not because he has a policy of not signing on to letters that have an effect on business that would come before the Armed Services Committee, of which he is a member.
******************
Rep. Heinrich did not sign the letter. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, we have a policy not to sign on to letters that have an effect on business that would come before the Committee.

At last. Almost 60 House Democrats -- including Rep. Ben Ray Luján (NM-03) -- are speaking out against a proposed plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan. Amid concerns about news reports suggesting the Administration may request a significant increase in American troop levels in Afghanistan, Congressman Luján and 57 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives asked President Obama to reject a troop increase in a letter (pdf) sent today.

“While in Afghanistan in August, I met with various U.S. and Afghan officials, discussing the conditions in the country. In my conversations, I focused on our efforts moving forward and how the United States can help the Afghan people through humanitarian and diplomatic means. Through such means, I believe that we can help the Afghan people and support their efforts to take control of their country," said Rep. Luján in a statement released this afternoon.

"It is clear that it is time to develop an exit strategy and prepare to bring our young men and women home," Luján said. "I am concerned about becoming involved in a long-term counterinsurgency that requires hundreds of thousands of troops. We need to give support to the Afghan people through humanitarian and diplomatic means, but troop increases are troubling at this time. I urge the Administration to reject a troop increase.”

In August, Rep. Luján visited Afghanistan, speaking with officials including General Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, a United State diplomat to Afghanistan.

In June, Rep. Luján voted in favor of an amendment that would have required the Secretary of Defense to provide Congress, by the end of the year, with an outline of its exit strategy for U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. The amendment was considered as part of the FY 2010 National Defense Authorizations Act (H.R. 2647). The amendment failed by a vote of 138 to 278. There was a similar standalone bill introduced earlier by Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), H.R. 2404, which Rep. Luján cosponsored.

September 25, 2009 at 07:14 PM in Afghanistan, International Relations, Military Affairs, NM Congressional Delegation, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03) | Permalink

Comments

Thank you Rep. Lujan! It is refreshing to hear some common sense from an elected official. The Soviet Union engaged over 200,000 troops in Afghanistan and failed to pacify the country. Considering the recent election, and how similar it was to the fraudulent Iranian election, one cannot help but wonder what excuse is left to continue our presence there...

Posted by: alwaysaskeptic | Sep 26, 2009 11:40:02 AM

Yes, I, too appreciate Rep. Lujan signing on to this letter rejecting the troop increase in Afghanistan.

Where Heinrich is concerned, however, his excuse sounds like a cop-out to me. What's his excuse for not signing on to the letter circulated by members of the Progressive Caucus saying they will not vote for any health care legislation that does not include a robust public option??? And better yet, what's his excuse for not becoming a co-signer on HR 676, Medicare for All??? I've called his office several times asking those questions but have never received an answer to either one.

Posted by: Ronnie | Sep 27, 2009 11:49:25 AM

Heinrich is pretending not to be a Democrat. He acts like he's ashamed of being one.

Posted by: JJ | Sep 27, 2009 4:03:34 PM