Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Tom Udall (D-NM) proposed legislation Tuesday to end the longest war in American history and withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
Paul and Udall, both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced the 2019 American Forces Going Home After Noble (AFGHAN) Service Act to end the longest war in American history. The legislation would declare victory in Afghanistan and would provide every combat service member a $2,500 peacetime dividend using the savings from the war in Afghanistan.
Over 2,300 military members have lost their lives in the war, with another 20,000 wounded in action. The war has also cost the country $2 trillion and costs the country $51 billion every year.
The legislation arises as the U.S. government has begun negotiations with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan.
“Endless war weakens our national security, robs this and future generations through skyrocketing debt, and creates more enemies to threaten us,” Paul said in a press release on Tuesday. “For over 17 years, our soldiers have gone above and beyond what has been asked of them in Afghanistan. It is time to declare the victory we achieved long ago, bring them home, and put America’s needs first.”
Sen. Udall said in a press release on Tuesday:
Soon, U.S. service members will begin deploying to Afghanistan to fight in a war that began before they were born. As we face this watershed moment, it’s past time to change our approach to the longest war in our country’s history. Our armed forces in Afghanistan, including many from New Mexico, have served with exceptional valor and effectiveness in the face of extraordinary challenges. After expelling the Taliban from power and dismantling Al Qaeda’s base of power in Afghanistan, they enabled a new Afghan government to be formed while also eliminating Osama Bin Laden. But it is Congress that has failed to conduct the proper oversight of this nearly 18-year war. Now, we must step up, and listen to the American people — who rightly question the wisdom of such endless wars. This bipartisan resolution would bring our troops home at long last, while implementing a framework for reconciliation.
Udall added in a press conference Tuesday, “It is Congress that has failed to conduct its Constitutional oversight over this war, we must step in and step up. We need to ensure that another generation of Americans did not provide for perpetual war.”
Sen. Paul noted that although many polls show that a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents support American withdrawal from Afghanistan, it remains unlikely that the bill will get passed through the Senate.
The Kentucky Republican said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) helped pass a resolution with over a two-thirds majority in the Senate that rebuked President Trump on his withdrawal from Syria and planned withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Paul said, “We are a minority in the Senate.”
However, Sens. Paul and Udall said that they can work with fellow lawmakers to build a larger consensus on ending America’s longest war.