Afghanistan Weekly Reader: Congress Backs Spending Billions on Afghanistan War

For a brief time, the war in Afghanistan took center stage this week as the U.S. House of Representatives started debate on next year’s defense spending levels. A number of amendments to the defense spending bill call for speeding up the drawdown and scaling back war costs. On both sides of the aisle members are making the case for ending this unnecessary, expensive war. Unfortunately policymakers with a reasonable position on Afghanistan are still in the minority. Until members of Congress start listening to the American people, most of whom believe the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting, the war is likely to continue, to the tune of $2 billion taxpayer dollars per week.

From ASG
Money as a Weapons System
Afghanistan Study Group by Mary Kaszynski

Condolence payments are just one example of the flawed U.S. strategy in Afghanistan – a strategy based on the idea that we can buy our way to victory. Pouring money into the Afghan economy hasn’t won us many friends, but it has created an aid bubble that will burst as international donors realize the current path of Afghan aid is unsustainable.

Afghanistan war protested by GOP, Dems to start debate on DOD spending bill
The Hill’s Floor Action by Pete Kasperowicz

Several House Democrats and Republicans started debate on a 2013 Department of Defense spending bill by protesting the ongoing war in Afghanistan, and calling on members to support amendments over the next several days aimed at reducing funding for the war.

Top Senators Can’t Explain Romney’s Afghanistan Policy
Foreign Policy’s The Cable by Josh Rogin

Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s policy on the future of U.S.-led war in Afghanistan war is unclear and confusing, complicating attempts to either support or criticize it during the campaign, according to leading senators from both parties.

GOP Congressman on Afghanistan: ‘There Is Not One Thing That We’re Going to Accomplish Over There’
Huffington Post by Bob Geiger

Republican Representative Walter Jones took to the floor of the House of Representatives Tuesday to again announce his dismay at continued U.S. presence in Afghanistan, saying that people in his district have turned against the war and told him again over the Independence Day holiday that they want all American troops to come home.

Five lessons we should have learned in Afghanistan
PBS by Joshua Foust

As the war in Afghanistan reaches its 2014 transition, when the major combat mission ends and U.S. troops take on a more sedate training role, we should take the chance to look back on what lessons we’ve learned there. With the war shifting from outright combat to maintaining the Afghan government and security forces; can we apply lessons from the last 11 years of warfare to what comes next?

Q&A with CFR’s Richard Haass: 2012 elections, Afghanistan and why corporations are important in foreign policy
The Washington Post by Allen McDuffee

It’s not likely that additional investment on our part will produce results that are commensurate with greater investment…we need to be realistic about what we can accomplish given the nature of Afghan society, the continued existence of a sanctuary for hostile forces in Pakistan and the agenda and commitment of the Taliban.

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