Yesterday, Congress debated the McGovern/Jones amendment on Afghanistan which requires:
1) A plan and timeframe on accelerated transition of military operations to Afghan authorities
2) A plan and timeframe on negotiations leading to a political solution and reconciliation in Afghanistan
3) A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on al-Qaeda.
The amendment would clarify that nothing in this section limits the president under existing authority to go after al-Qaeda, share intelligence, or modify military strategy and tactics while redeploying US forces under the plan/timeframe required above.
Leader Pelosi was one of 178 Democrats and 26 Republicans to vote in favor of the amendment, but it was defeated by a vote of 204-215.
Leader Pelosi in strong support:
But make no mistake, in overwhelming numbers, the American people think we have done our job there in terms of helping the Afghan people. Our purpose there was to protect the American people. We can do both by focusing more on the civilian side of the governance issues on how Afghanistan is governed, on anti-corruption issues, and initiatives that I have seen there, on this recent trip, are an improvement over the past by training the national security forces of Afghanistan, be it police, or the military, so they can maintain their own security, and by diplomatically enlisting other countries in the region because they all have a vested interest in the stability of Afghanistan.
But an open-ended, unending war there, which in cost there is nothing to compare to the cost of the loss of our young men and women. So that’s first and foremost where our concern is, but also the cost in dollars, the cost in opportunity, the cost in military strength. This involvement, engagement in Afghanistan is not strengthening our military. Americans are paying a big price there. We want to make sure we are getting a return on that investment, and time is a very important factor. It is time to come home.