Congressman Garamendi Votes to End the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, today voted against the $32 billion supplemental for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The supplemental passed by a 308-114 vote. He issued the following statement:
"Today the House of Representatives voted to lead our great nation down the wrong path in Afghanistan and Iraq. For at least another year, we will continue to spill brave American blood and spend tens of billions of dollars in the longest war in American history. I do not think a large scale military presence in Afghanistan or Iraq is in the best interests of our economy or national security. I want our troops home.
"I recognize that the threat from Al Qaeda is very real. With our allies, we must focus like a laser on eradicating Al Qaeda’s presence wherever it may be. I think a speedy withdrawal of most soldiers from Afghanistan furthers this goal.
"$32 billion is a lot of money. It’s enough to pay for the health care of 12 million children for a year. It’s enough to keep 500,000 police officers patrolling our streets for a year. It’s enough to employ 500,000 teachers for a year. It’s enough to provide 20 million households with renewable energy for a year.
"I am deeply disappointed by the deficit hawks who say that we can’t afford jobless benefits, we can’t afford to keep teachers in our classrooms, we can’t afford the infrastructure investments needed to continue our climb out of a recession, yet we can afford more war.
"We’ve been in Afghanistan for nine years, and it’s come at a tremendous cost. We’ve tragically lost more than 1,100 American lives and spent close to $300 billion. We’ve also been in Iraq for seven years, where we’ve lost more than 4,400 American lives and spent more than $700 billion. I do not want to see one more American lose their life in an internal Afghani civil war.
"I’m a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, and I know that a foreign policy built in mutual respect and assistance can transform hearts and minds. I believe disengagement from war really means a return to the policies that put America’s best face forward in the international community. Diplomacy and development should be our goal in the Middle East, not the continued dragging out of wars without an exit plan.
"Regardless of where we may stand on war policy, we must always honor the troops. Our brave men and women in uniform and their families must always be honored, respected, and treated as heroes. It is an honor and privilege to serve Travis Air Force Base and the thousands of military personnel, veterans, and their families that call California’s 10th Congressional District their home. They deserve everything we can provide to make sure that they can thrive in uniform and in civilian life."