rise in opposition to this bill. The President has not asked for this
piece of legislation; he does not support it. We do not anticipate
that it will be passed in the other body. But there is one good part
of the bill, and that is the title, "Freedom Support.'' We all
support freedom. It is just that this bill does not support freedom.
Really, it undermines the liberties and the taxes of many Americans
in order to pump another in $1.2 billion into Afghanistan.
of the moral justifications, maybe, for rebuilding Afghanistan is
that it was the American bombs that helped to destroy Afghanistan
in our routing of the Taliban. But there is a lot of shortcomings
in this method. Nation-building does not work. I think this will fail.
I do not think it will help us.
not think for a minute that this is much different than social engineering
that we try here in the U.S. with a lot of duress and a lot of problems;
and now we are going to do it over there where we really do not understand
the social conditions that exist, and it is not like here. Some, especially
those in that part of the world, will see this as neo-colonialism
because we are over there for a lot of different reasons. And even
in the bill it states one of the reasons. It says, "We are to
design an overall strategy to advance U.S. interests in Afghanistan.''
I wonder what that means? Over 10 years ago there was an explicit
desire and a statement made by the administration that until we had
a unified government in Afghanistan, we could not build a gas pipeline
across northern Afghanistan. And that is in our interests. Does that
mean this is one of the motivations?
a lot of people here in the Congress might say no, but that might
be the ultimate outcome. It is said that this bill may cut down on
the drug trade. But the Taliban was stronger against drugs than the
Northern Alliance. Drug production is up since we've been involved
this past year in Afghanistan.
Chairman, I think it is important to state first off that while it
is true that the administration has not actively opposed this legislation,
it certainly has not asked for nor does it support the Afghanistan
Freedom Support Act. It did not support the bill when we marked it
up in the International Relations Committee, it did not support the
bill after it was amended in Committee, and it does not support the
Chairman, perhaps the "Afghanistan Freedom Support Act'' should
more accurately be renamed the "Afghanistan Territorial Expansion
Act,'' because this legislation essentially treats that troubled nation
like a new American territory. In fact, I wonder whether we give Guam,
Puerto Rico, or other American territories anywhere near $1.2 billion
every few years- so maybe we just should consider full statehood for
Afghanistan. This new State of Afghanistan even comes complete with
an American governor, which the bill charitably calls a "coordinator.''
After all, we can't just give away such a huge sum without installing
an American overseer to ensure we approve of all aspects of the fledgling
Chairman, when we fill a nation's empty treasury, when we fund and
train its military, when we arm it with our weapons, when we try to
impose foreign standards and values within it, indeed when we attempt
to impose a government and civil society of our own making upon it,
we are nation-building. There is no other term for it. Whether Congress
wants to recognize it or not, this is neo-colonialism. Afghanistan
will be unable to sustain itself economically for a very long time
to come, and during that time American taxpayers will pay the bills.
This sad reality was inevitable from the moment we decided to invade
it and replace its government, rather than use covert forces to eliminate
the individuals truly responsible for September 11th. Perhaps the
saddest truth is that Bin Laden remains alive and free even as we
begin to sweep up the rubble from our bombs.
sure that supporters of this bill are well-intentioned, but judging
from past experience this approach will fail to improve the lives
of the average Afghan citizen. Though many will also attempt to claim
that this bill is somehow about the attacks of 9/11, let's not fool
ourselves: nation-building and social engineering are what this bill
is about. Most of the problems it seeks to address predate the 9/11
attacks and those it purports to assist had nothing to do with those
are operating under the premise that global poverty itself poses a
national security threat to the United States, then I am afraid we
have an impossible task ahead of us.
often the case, much of the money authorized by this bill will go
toward lucrative contracts with well-connected private firms and individuals.
In short, when you look past all the talk about building civil society
in Afghanistan and defending against terrorism, this bill is laden
with the usual corporate welfare and hand-outs to special interests.
other harmful things, this legislation dramatically expands the drug
war. Under the group we have installed in Afghanistan, opium production
has skyrocketed. Now we are expected to go in and clean up the mess
our allies have created. In addition, this bill will send some $60
million to the United Nations, to help fund its own drug eradication
program. I am sure most Americans agree that we already send the United
Nations too much of our tax money, yet this bill commits us to sending
drug war has been a failure. Plan Colombia, an enormously expensive
attempt to reduce drug production in that Andean nation, has actually
resulted in a 25 percent increase in coca leaf and cocaine production.
Does anyone still think our war on drugs there has been successful?
Is it responsible to continue spending money on policies that do not
bill also reflects a disturbing effort by the Washington elite to
conduct experiments in social engineering in Afghanistan. It demands
at least five times that the Afghans create a government that is "broad-based,
multi-ethnic, gender-sensitive, and fully representative.'' We are
imposing race and gender quotas on a foreign government that have
been found inappropriate and in some cases even illegal in the United
States. Is this an appropriate activity to be carried out with taxpayer
Chairman, the problem with nation-building and social-engineering,
as experience tells us time and time again is that it simply doesn't
work. We cannot build multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, gender-sensitive
civil society and good governance in Afghanistan on a top-down basis
from afar. What this bill represents is a commitment to deepening
involvement in Afghanistan and a determination to impose a political
system on that country based on a blueprint drawn up thousands of
miles away by Washington elites. Does anyone actually believe that
we can buy Afghan democracy with even the staggering sum of 1.2 billion
dollars? A real democracy is the product of shared values and the
willingness of a population to demand and support it. None of these
things can be purchased by a foreign power. What is needed in Afghanistan
is not just democracy, but freedom- the two are not the same.
of funds authorized by this legislation is dependent on the holding
of a traditional Afghan assembly of tribal representatives- a "loya
jirga''- as a first step toward democratization. It authorizes $10
million dollars to finance this meeting. That this traditional meeting
will produce anything like a truly representative body is already
in question, as we heard earlier this month that seven out of 33 influential
tribal leaders have already announced they will boycott the meeting.
Additionally, press reports have indicated that the U.S. government
itself was not too long ago involved in an attempted assassination
of a non-Taliban regional leader who happened to be opposed to the
rule of the American-installed Hamid Karzai. More likely, this "loya
jirga'' will be a stage-managed showpiece, primarily convened to please
Western donors. Is this any way to teach democracy?
Chairman, some two decades ago the Soviet Union also invaded Afghanistan
and attempted to impose upon the Afghan people a foreign political
system. Some nine years and 15,000 Soviet lives later they retreated
in disgrace, morally and financially bankrupt. During that time, we
propped up the Afghan resistance with our weapons, money, and training,
planting the seeds of the Taliban in the process. Now the former Soviet
Union is gone, its armies long withdrawn from Afghanistan, and we're
left cleaning up the mess- yet we won't be loved for it. No, we won't
get respect or allegiance from the Afghans, especially now that our
bombs have rained down upon them. We will pay the bills, however,
Afghanistan will become a tragic ward of the American state, another
example of an interventionist foreign policy that is supposed to serve
our national interests and gain allies, yet which does neither.
that the President has not been interested in this legislation. I
do not see a good reason to give him the burden of reporting back
to us in 45 days to explain how he is going to provide for Afghan
security for the long term. How long is long term? We have been in
Korea now for 50 years. Are we planning to send troops that provide
national security for Afghanistan? I think we should be more concerned
about the security of this country and not wondering how we are going
to provide the troops for long-term security in Afghanistan. We should
be more concerned about the security of our ports.
Chairman, over the last several days and almost continuously, as a
matter of fact, many Members get up and talk about any expenditure
or any tax cut as an attack on Social Security, but we do not hear
this today because there is a coalition,
well built, to support this intervention and presumed occupation of
Afghanistan. But the truth is, there are monetary and budget consequences
this bill is passed, if this bill is to pass, we will be close to
$2 billion in aid to Afghanistan, not counting the military. Now,
that is an astounding amount of money, but it seems like it is irrelevant
here. Twelve months ago, the national debt was $365 billion less than
it is today, and people say we are just getting away from having surpluses.
Well, $365 billion is a huge deficit, and the national debt is going
up at that rate. April revenues were down 30 percent from 1 year ago.
The only way we pay for programs like this is either we rob Social
Security or we print the money, but both are very harmful to poor
people and people living on a limited income. Our funds are not unlimited.
I know there is a lot of good intention; nobody in this body is saying
we are going over there to cause mischief, but let me tell my colleagues,
there is a lot of reasons not to be all that optimistic about these
wonderful results and what we are going to accomplish over there.
Chairman, earlier the gentleman from California (Mr. Rohrabacher)
came up with an astounding reason for us to do this. He said that
we owe this to Afghanistan. Now, I have heard all kinds of arguments
for foreign aid and foreign intervention, but the fact that we owe
this to Afghanistan? Do we know what we owe? We owe responsibility
to the American taxpayer. We owe responsibility to the security of
provision of this bill takes a $300 million line of credit from our
DOD and just gives the President the authority to take $300 million
of weapons away from us and give it to somebody in Afghanistan. Well,
that dilutes our defense, that does not help our defense. This is
not beneficial. We do not need to have an occupation of Afghanistan
for security of this country. There is no evidence for that.
occupation of Afghanistan is unnecessary. It is going to be very costly,
and it is very dangerous. My colleagues might say, well, this is all
for democracy. For democracy? Well, did we care about democracy in
Venezuela? It seemed like we tried to undermine that just recently.
Do we care about the democracy in Pakistan? A military dictator takes
over and he becomes our best ally, and we use his land, and yet he
has been a friend to the Taliban, and who knows, bin Laden may even
be in Pakistan. Here we are saying we are doing it all for democracy.
Now, that is just pulling our leg a little bit too much. This is not
the reason that we are over there. We are over there for a lot of
other reasons and, hopefully, things will be improved.
I am terribly concerned that we will spend a lot of money, we will
become deeply mired in Afghanistan, and we will not do a lot better
than the Soviets did. Now, that is a real possibility that we should
not ignore. We say, oh, no, everything sounds rosy and we are going
to do this, we are going to do it differently, and this time it is
going to be okay. Well, if we look at the history of that land and
that country, I would think that we should have second thoughts.
been said that one of the reasons why we need this legislation is
to help pay for drug eradication. Now, that is a good idea. That would
be nice if we could do that. But the drug production has exploded
since we have been there. In the last year, it is just going wild.
Well, that is even more reason we have to spend money because we contributed
to the explosion of the drug production. There is money in this bill,
and maybe some good will come of this; there is money in this bill
that is going to be used to teach the Afghan citizens not to use drugs.
Speaker, if this is successful, if we teach the Afghan people not
to use drugs, that would be wonderful. Maybe then we can do something
about the ravenous appetite of our people for drugs which is the basic
cause of so much drug production.
spend money on these kinds of programs I think is just a little bit
of a stretch. Already there have been 33 tribal leaders that have
said they will not attend this Loya Jirga, that they are not going
to attend. The fact that we are going to spend millions of dollars
trying to gather these people together and tell them what to do with
their country, I think the odds of producing a secure country are
in the papers just a few weeks ago it was reported in The Washington
Post that our CIA made an attempt to assassinate a former prime minister
of Afghanistan. He may have been a bum for all I know, but do Members
think that sits well? He was not an ally of bin Laden, he was not
a Taliban member, yet our CIA is over there getting involved. As a
matter of fact, that is against our law, if that report is true. Yet,
that is what the papers have reported.
I would say that we should move cautiously. I think this is very dangerous.
I know nobody else has spoken out against this bill, but I do not
see much benefit coming from this. I know it is well motivated, but
it is going to cost a lot of money, we are going to get further engaged,
more troops are going to go over there; and now that we are a close
ally of Pakistan, we do know that Pakistan and India both have nuclear
weapons, and we are sitting right next to them. So I would hardly
think this is advantageous for our security, nor advantageous for
the American people, nor advantageous to the American taxpayer.
this as a threat to our security. It does not reassure me one bit.
This is what scares me. It scares me when we send troops into places
like Vietnam and Korea and other places, because it ultimately comes
back to haunt us.