Today, we mark the 10-year anniversary of the War in Afghanistan. After 10 years, it is clear money is being wasted on military spending and wars that aren't making us safer, and are doing nothing for ordinary people in Afghanistan and Pakistan and beyond. It's working people in Michigan, and throughout the rest of the country, who understand that -- but unfortunately not enough of my colleagues in Congress.
Sometimes it's only outside of Washington DC that the fundamental common sense of Americans shows up. This year the National Conference of Mayors passed a powerful resolution calling on the U.S. government to end the war in Afghanistan and to "bring the war money home." It was the first time since the height of the Vietnam War, in 1971, that the Mayors took a clear anti-war position. The mayors understand that the money is there, but it's being diverted -- away from jobs, away from the crucial investments in people that keep our workers employed, our children healthy, and our elders safe.
Americans get it -- 64 percent of Americans already say that the war in Afghanistan is just not worth fighting. But it sure seems like no one is listening. Because just this year, taxpayers in my congressional district are paying about $172 million just for our share of the war in Afghanistan. That war isn't doing anything to make us safer -- the CIA and all the rest of the intelligence agencies admit there are only 50 or 100 al-Qaeda members even left in Afghanistan. But the numbers of civilian casualties are higher than they've been since this war began ten years ago.
And that 172 million in tax dollars? If we weren't wasting it on a failing war in Afghanistan, we could use that money for something that really might help keep us safe -- like hiring 3,275 firefighters for a year. We could retrofit 53,807 houses in my district to provide renewable electricity. Those war dollars could cover health care for 22,447 of our brave veterans, so many of whom are coming home from the wars with devastating physical and emotional injuries. Any of those things would keep us safer than wars that create more terrorists with every civilian casualty.
We can't afford to keep fighting counterproductive wars. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan are not keeping us safe. It's time to end them; it's time to spend the money we need to bring our troops safely and quickly home. We have too much to rebuild in our cities and across our country, to waste our hard-earned tax dollars. Americans get it. After 10 years, it's time to bring our troops, and our war dollars home.
Representative Conyers is the chair of the Congressional Out of Afghanistan Caucus
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