Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, today called for a Senate hearing to investigate U.S. strategy and obstacles to success in Afghanistan.
Gillibrand’s letter comes following the Washington Post’s release of previously confidential documents and interviews, in which senior U.S. military, administration, and diplomatic officials make clear that there was no clear objective to U.S. policy in Afghanistan, and no way of reaching stated goals, and that this was hidden from the American people.
“These papers show that past administrations, and our civilian and military leaders, have misled the American public about their objectives in Afghanistan and the potential of reaching those objectives. This is absolutely unacceptable,” said Senator Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee.
“We have spent the last 18 years in Afghanistan, in what has become the longest armed conflict in U.S. history. It’s far past time that Congress reclaim its Constitutional role in our nation’s decisions to go to — and remain in — war. The men and women who serve our nation deserve much better, and the Senate must investigate how our nation got tangled in this mess,” she argues.
Senator Gillibrand introduced legislation earlier this year to restore Congress’s role in the nation’s war powers. The War Powers Reform Resolution would repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs), which were passed to authorize military action, respectively, against September 11th terrorists hiding in Afghanistan and the perceived threat from Iraq.
Additionally, Gillibrand’s legislation would require the president to provide Congress with a clear objective for military action; evidence that the use of the United States’ armed forces is necessary, appropriate, and proportional to the mission; a finite list of adversaries; and the names of the countries where the U.S. military will deploy.
If U.S. forces remain beyond two years without Congressional approval, Congress would not provide operational funding. This would require any administration to come to Congress with adequate time before the two years is over to pass a new AUMF, if necessary.
The full text of Gillibrand’s letter to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, may be found here.