Three members of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity’s Advisory Board are member of the United States Congress — Reps. John Duncan, Thomas Massie, and Walter Jones. It was a treat to see all three of them challenging the US government’s 16-year war in Afghanistan at a hearing earlier this month of the National Security Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
First up, Duncan discussed the futility of the US government trying to control Afghanistan where successive governments, including the Soviet Union most recently before the US, have failed in such attempts for centuries. Duncan further commented concerning US wars since 2001 that it is “very sad that we have allowed all these trillions of dollars to have been spent and all of these lives [to] have been lost needlessly.” Duncan continued, “I think that we’re long past the time that we should have gotten out of Afghanistan, and we shouldn’t keep continuing to drag this out.” Ron Paul Institute Executive Director Daniel McAdams wrote more regarding Duncan’s comments here.
Next, Massie discussed with hearing witness John F. Sopko, the inspector general in charge of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the billions spent on Afghanistan reconstruction efforts and what that spending has yielded. Sopko indicated that 120.78 billion dollars had been spent on Afghanistan reconstruction through the end of September and that another 7.42 billion has been authorized and appropriated but not yet spent. Focusing on the overlap of the US war on drugs and US actions in Afghanistan, Massie asked Sopko about US drug eradication efforts in Afghanistan and the results of such efforts. Sopko explained that, though 8.6 billion dollars had been spent on “fighting narcotics” in the country, since 2015 the production of narcotics in Afghanistan has increased by 43 percent.
Last, Jones began his comments by discussing a letter he had written to President Donald Trump on July 18 asking Trump to “come to Congress first” for a debate on the future of US policy in regard to Afghanistan before the executive branch takes any action to increase the number of troops in the country — advice Trump did not end up following. In the letter, Jones notes, he also expressed agreement with some of Trump’s remarks, from before Trump became president, criticizing the Afghanistan War. Ending the Afghanistan War has long been a focus of Jones’ work in Congress. Looking at “waste, fraud, and abuse” in the Afghanistan War, which Jones praised Sopko and SIGAR for helping uncover, Jones lamented the inability to repair roads and bridges in America while the US government has spent a great sum of money in Afghanistan. Jones emphasized the futility of the US war in Afghanistan near the end of his comments, saying:
I have the Marine base Camp Lejeune in my district. I have talked to Marines — active duty and retirees — who have been to Afghanistan five, six, and seven times. They say ‘nothing will ever change.’
Below is video of the complete hearing. You can watch Duncan’s comments starting at time marker 37:48, Massie’s comments starting at 1:05:35, and Jones’ comments starting at 1:14:32.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.