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      Friday
      Mar182011

      Eighty Congress Members Join Lee in Demanding Faster U.S. Withdrawal

      Rep. Barbara Lee, following up on the Democratic National Committee’s resolution demanding a faster Afghan withdrawal from the Obama administration, has rallied 80 members to send the president a letter with the same message. The messages, including the names of signatories, are available at UFPJ Legislative Action. At the same time, Rep. John Conyers, on behalf of the Out of Afghanistan Caucus, held a press conference to criticize the testimony of Gen. David Petraeus.

      For information, contact mdarner@gmail.com.


      The full text of Rep. Lee's letter and list of co-signers follows:

       

      March 16, 2011

      The Honorable Barack Obama

      President of the United States

      The White House

      1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

      Washington, D.C. 20500

      Dear Mr. President,

      We write to you to express our utmost support for your planned drawdown of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan beginning no later than July of this year. We, the undersigned members of Congress, believe the forthcoming reduction in U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan must be significant and sizeable, and executed in an orderly fashion.

      Our nation’s economic and national security interests are not served by a policy of open-ended war in Afghanistan. At a time of severe economic distress, the war in Afghanistan is costing the United States more than $100 billion per year, excluding the long-term costs of care for returning military servicemembers. At the same time, military and intelligence officials agree that Al Qaeda’s presence in Afghanistan is diminished and that there will not be a military solution to resolve the current situation. It is simply unsustainable for our nation to maintain a costly, military-first strategy in Afghanistan. 

      A significant redeployment of U.S. troops from Afghanistan beginning in July 2011 will send a clear signal that the United States does not seek a permanent presence in Afghanistan. This transition will provide incentive for internal stakeholders to improve upon the political status quo, reduce corruption, and take meaningful steps toward the establishment of an effective, trustworthy, and inclusive governance structure. A meaningful start to withdrawal will also empower U.S. diplomatic engagement with regional and global stakeholders who share a common interest in the long-term stability of Afghanistan.

      The majority of the American people overwhelmingly support a rapid shift toward withdrawal in Afghanistan. In fact, a Gallup Poll released on February 2, 2011 indicated that 72% of Americans favor action this year to "speed up the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.” Let us be clear. The redeployment of a minimal number of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in July will not meet the expectations of Congress or the American people.

      Mr. President, as you work to finally bring an end to the war in Iraq by the end of this year, we must commit ourselves to ensuring that our nation’s military engagement in Afghanistan does not become the status quo. It is time to focus on securing a future of economic opportunity and prosperity for the American people and move swiftly to end America’s longest war in Afghanistan.

      Mr. President, we look forward to working with you to make that goal a reality.

      Sincerely,

      Full list of co-signers:

      Rep. Joe Baca

      Rep. Tammy Baldwin

      Rep. Karen Bass

      Rep. Lois Capps

      Rep. Michael E. Capuano

      Rep. Andre Carson

      Rep. Yvette D. Clarke

      Rep. Steve Cohen

      Rep. John Conyers Jr.

      Rep. Jerry F. Costello

      Rep. Elijah E. Cummings

      Rep. Danny K. Davis (IL)

      Rep. Peter A. DeFazio

      Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro

      Rep. Theodore E. Deutch

      Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. (TN)

      Rep. Donna F. Edwards

      Rep. Keith Ellison

      Rep. Sam Farr

      Rep. Bob Filner

      Rep. Barney Frank

      Rep. Marcia L. Fudge

      Rep. John Garamendi

      Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva

      Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez

      Rep. Alcee L. Hastings

      Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey

      Rep. Mazie K. Hirono

      Rep. Rush D. Holt

      Rep. Michael M. Honda

      Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.

      Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee

      Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson

      Rep. Hank Johnson Jr.

      Rep. Timothy V. Johnson

      Rep. Walter B. Jones

      Rep. Barbara Lee

      Rep. John B. Larson

      Rep. John Lewis

      Rep. Zoe Lofgren

      Rep. Ben Ray Luján

      Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney

      Rep. Edward J. Markey

      Rep. Doris O. Matsui

      Rep. Jim McDermott

      Rep. James P. McGovern

      Rep. Michael H. Michaud

      Rep. George Miller

      Rep. Gwen Moore

      Rep. James P. Moran

      Rep. Christopher S. Murphy

      Rep. Grace Napolitano

      Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton

      Rep. John W. Olver

      Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr.

      Rep. Ron Paul

      Rep. Donald M. Payne

      Rep. Chellie Pingree

      Rep. Jared Polis

      Rep. David E. Price

      Rep. Mike Quigley

      Rep, Charles B. Rangel

      Rep. Laura Richardson

      Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard

      Rep. Linda T. Sánchez

      Rep. Loretta Sanchez

      Rep. Janice D. Schakowsky

      Rep. Bobby Scott

      Rep. José E. Serrano

      Rep. Albio Sires

      Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter

      Rep. Jackie Speier

      Rep. Pete Stark

      Rep. Mike Thompson (CA)

      Rep. John F. Tierney

      Rep. Edolphus Towns

      Rep. Niki Tsongas

      Rep. Maxine Waters

      Rep. Anthony D. Weiner

      Rep. Peter Welch

      Rep. Lynn C. Woolsey

      ###

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