WASHINGTON -- A recent trip to Afghanistan, the death of Osama bin Laden and the toll on U.S. soldiers has convinced Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) that the United States should withdraw all combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.
"This isn't a decision I came to lightly, but one that I have struggled with for some time," Braley said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "Our justifications for going into Afghanistan are no longer valid, and meanwhile, the costs -- both human and financial -- of continuing this war are just too high."
His campaign also sent an email out to supporters Thursday asking them to sign a petition to bring troops home from Afghanistan immediately.
Braley told HuffPost lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are losing patience with the war, a fact he realized after conversations with his congressional colleagues.
That dynamic played out on the floor on Thursday. Two amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) calling for withdrawal plans and timeframes from President Obama received significantly more support than they have in past votes. One amendment failed by just 12 votes.
"When you look at the cost of this war, what you see is a nation going into crippling debt," said Braley. "We've appropriated nearly half a trillion dollars for the war in Afghanistan, and the President's 2012 budget is requesting a combined $114 billion for operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. So these are why I'm joining with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and calling for an end to our combat involvement in Afghanistan."
During a congressional fact-finding trip to Afghanistan in March, Braley said military commanders told him they expect the United States to have a "significant presence" in Afghanistan for another eight to 10 years.
Braley's "True Cost of War" amendment to the NDAA passed the House on Wednesday. It requires the President and pertinent Cabinet members to submit a written report to Congress on the long-term human and financial costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through 2020.
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