Like almost everyone else in Congress, Republican Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina's 3rd Congressional district voted to give President George W. Bush authority to invade Iraq. And like almost everyone else in Congress, he soon realized that was a mistake, fought Bush -- and at times his own party -- on the Iraq war, and has gone as far as to introduce a House resolution this year that would make it an impeachable offense for any president to ever again start a war without an act of Congress.
And lately, Jones has really had it with our continued military presence in Afghanistan.
The nine-term Congressman 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.
"I went home to my district as the other Members went to their districts ... and I'm getting the same message," said Jones on the House floor. "Why are you still in Afghanistan? Why don't you Members of Congress vote to bring our troops home? Why are you spending the money we don't have, and young men and women are getting killed?"
And like many Americans, Jones supported the initial invasion of Afghanistan and the mission at the time, which was to get Osama bin Laden and destroy any ability for al-Qaeda to use that country as a safe haven and training ground.
"We have defeated bin Laden. He is dead," said Jones. "Al Qaeda has been dispersed all around the world, but we continue to fund a corrupt leader who will not survive in the long term."
Jones ripped Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, further implying that he is not a legitimate long-term leader of the Afghan people, and that the U.S. is wasting time, money, and military lives simply to keep him in power.
"We're playing this little game of spend the American taxpayers' money to keep him in office," Jones said in the House chamber. "And let's borrow the money from the Chinese that we're spending -- because that's the way it's happening -- to keep Karzai in office."
"Seventy-two percent of the American people have agreed with most of us in the House -- not all -- that it's time to bring our troops home. There is not one thing that we're going to accomplish over there."
Representative Jones also reiterated his objection to the ongoing investment of U.S. money in maintaining a presence in Afghanistan, and lamented what Americans are losing domestically because of that.
"After 2014, we will continue to have a military presence of anywhere from 25,000 to 30,000," he said of Afghanistan. "We are spending approximately $4 billion a month -- that's probably a lowball figure -- but $4 billion a month for 10 years. That adds up to about $480 billion in addition to what we've already spent, which is over $1 trillion, in Afghanistan and in Iraq."
"The poor American people are paying the taxes and are getting their programs cut for children, for schools, for senior citizens, for health programs. Yet we in Congress continue to fund the war in Afghanistan."
And for Jones, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, it ultimately comes down to the lives that we continue to lose every day in Afghanistan, on a questionable mission that the vast majority of the American people no longer support.
"This past weekend, we had eight Americans killed," said Jones. "I have signed over 10,740 letters to families across this Nation because I bought the lie by the previous administration that said Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, which he never did have."
"We keep sending our soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen over there so they can be shot and killed and have their feet blown away. It is time for this Congress to wake up."
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