Congressman Leonard Boswell says he told Afghanistan’s president this past spring that American troops couldn’t stay there indefinitely. Boswell was part of a congressional delegation that visited Afghanistan in March and met the country’s president face-to-face.
“He said, clearly, that he hoped that we’d have permanent bases there,” Boswell says. “And I said, ‘I just want you to know I don’t support that. You’re at a crossroads. You’ve got a choice.”
Boswell, a retired military officer, says the U.S. has laid the groundwork for a new Afghan government.
“They’re going to have to choose, or they can go back to their tribal system,” Boswell says. “If they choose it, that’s their choice, but it’s time for us to bring our folks home.”
The decade-long Afghan War has been a “terrible cost” to the United States, according to Boswell, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam. Boswell not only opposes keeping U.S. military bases operating in Afghanistan, he wants all U.S. bases in Iraq closed down, too. President Obama announced today that nearly all U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by year’s end. It’s unclear what will happen with all the U.S. military bases there.
Boswell made his comments this morning during taping of the “Iowa Press” program which airs at 7:30 p.m. tonight on Iowa Public Television.
Other members of Iowa’s congressional delegation have issued written statements about withdrawal from Iraq.
Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa City): “First and foremost, the men and women, and their families, who bravely served in Iraq are owed a debt of gratitude and our unyielding respect and support. Earlier this year, I wrote directly to the President to again urge him to withdraw our troops by the end of this year, and I applaud his announcement today. It’s time for the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own country,” said Loebsack. “We must focus on growing jobs here at home, and that includes helping our nation’s veterans find jobs when they come home. As a member of the Armed Services Committee, I will continue to closely monitor the safety of our troops as they complete their responsible withdrawal over the coming months.”
U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Cumming): “The men and women serving in our armed forces have more than succeeded in accomplishing the mission we asked them to do in Iraq. They have served honorably and heroically and they should be commended. I support the President’s decision to withdraw the remaining U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of the year.
“This misguided war has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $800 billion dollars and claimed the lives of 3,525 American service members and an untold number of soldiers who are physically and mentally injured. The United States now has a responsibility to ensure that they receive the care they deserve. I am pleased that U.S. involvement has come to an end in Iraq, I only regret it did not come sooner.”