It’s Time to Bring Our Troops Home

In President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address, he highlighted his plan to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. While I disagree with much of the president’s agenda, I do agree it is time to bring our troops home. I am also pleased with the president’s decision to give military leaders flexibility to phase troops out as they see fit.

Since I came to Congress, I’ve had the great honor of visiting Afghanistan on two different occasions to meet with our troops. I couldn’t be prouder of our men and women in uniform that put themselves in harms way each day to help rebuild the country of Afghanistan.

As of early last week, at least 2,045 U.S. soldiers have died since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001, and an additional 18,255 Americans have been wounded. These brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country, and we owe them our utmost respect and eternal gratitude. As a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I will work to ensure that our soldiers coming home from battle have the resources they need to transition back into civilian life.

It costs $1 million per year to keep a soldier in Afghanistan. According to Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies, the total cost of our military presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan could be up to $4.4 trillion by the time every soldier is home. Instead of risking further loss of American life, I believe we should support the reconstruction of Afghanistan in a much safer, less costly way. Our mission in Afghanistan isn’t finished, and there’s still work to be done. But it’s time to change our strategy. We don’t need to keep putting Americans in harms’ way.

I could not be more proud of our armed forces and intelligence officers or the work they have done abroad. By directly combating terrorist groups like al Qaeda and eliminating evil leaders like Osama Bin Laden, they have made the world safer. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Source: Communication from U.S. Congressman Phil Roe, M.D., 1st District of Tennessee