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Walter J.

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  • Afghanistan

    by Representative Walter B. Jones

    Posted on 2013-07-17

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    JONES. Mr. Speaker, I must say that it is very disappointing that the last time the House of Representatives officially remembered the men and women who have died in Afghanistan was February of this year. Since then, we've lost a total of 79 members of our Armed Forces: 15 were killed in March, 14 were killed in April, 22 killed in May, and 18 killed in June.

    Why do we continue to send our young men and women to risk their life and limb in a country that will never change? In addition to this tragic waste of life, I am amazed at the lack of oversight of the taxpayers' money. After listening to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction speak on the C-SPAN program, Washington Journal, on Monday, I will give you two examples of fraud and abuse that particularly stood out to me.

    We have countless buildings in Afghanistan constructed with taxpayers' dollars that remain unused or, even worse, falling apart. Mr. John Sopko, the Inspector General, referenced one building made of brick that he said is literally melting due to poor construction. How in the world can we continue to fund these programs in Afghanistan with very little oversight and, quite frankly, a waste of the taxpayers' money? Mr. Sopko further stated that we have $20 billion in the pipeline to be spent in Afghanistan while we are dealing with the ill effects of sequestration that Mr. Hoyer just spoke about, and cutting crucial programs for our military personnel right here at home.

    In particular, our mental health programs for our veterans are suffering because we are furloughing the civilian workers who help our veterans who are suffering from PTSD and TBI. Those people that are the professionals that help them are being cut. This is why this waste of money in Afghanistan is absolutely, Mr. Speaker, unacceptable.

    Congress is not listening to the American taxpayer. The taxpayer is fed up and tired of wasting money and life and limb in Afghanistan. History has said no nation has ever changed Afghanistan and no nation will ever change Afghanistan. We need to listen to the American people and stop this spending. And more importantly than the spending is the waste of life in Afghanistan.

    I ask my colleagues on both sides to come together and work together. Let's start reducing the amount of money that we are spending in Afghanistan, and let's also reduce the number of troops that have to go back and forth to Afghanistan.

    Sequestration and furloughs are creating one of the worst situations for our military that they have faced in many, many years. And again, we are looking at furloughing the professional doctors and nurses and mental health providers.

    Mr. Speaker, beside me is really what I say speaks better than my words. It is a photograph of a full-dressed Army contingency walking behind a caisson. Apparently, the wife of the soldier in the caisson is standing there with her little girl holding the mother's hand, and the little girl is wondering: Why is daddy in that flag-draped coffin? That is what's missing here in Congress, quite frankly, is there is no debate on the waste of life and the waste of money in Afghanistan. I ask the American people to put pressure on Members of Congress to stop this waste of life and money in Afghanistan.

    With that, Mr. Speaker, I will close by asking God to please bless our men and women in uniform, to please bless the families of our men and women in uniform, and in His arms, to hold the families who have given a child dying for freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    And I ask God to bless the House and Senate, that we will do what is right in the eyes of God for God's people. And I will ask God to please give strength and courage to the President of the United States, that he will do what is right in the eyes of God for God's people. And three times: God, please, God, please, God, please continue to bless America.


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