Once You’ve Lost One of the Biggest Warhawks in Congress, It’s Time to Bring the Troops Home

C.W. Bill Young, an 81-year-old Republican congressman from Indian Shores, Fl., has turned against our continued military involvement in Afghanistan. I defy anybody to find a better barometer of how over-it-all America is of efforts to stabilize Afghanistan or push back the Taliban or train their police force to stop shooting us or whatever reason we’re giving today for still being there after the “surge” ends.

Young, America’s longest-serving congressman (21 terms!), has supported every single war from the Vietnam War onward, explain Alex Leary and Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times. He has voted repeatedly against troop withdrawals and even against setting timetables for withdrawals.

But Young got an e-mail over the summer from Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton explaining how much danger American troops in Afghanistan are in from constant exposure to improvised explosive devices (IEDs). And then Sitton was killed in August by one of them. Young’s had enough:

The 81-year-old congressman announced this week that he now sees the war in Afghanistan is no longer worth the costs. He wants the troops to come home immediately, a dramatic departure not only from his past views but also from the views of most Republican leaders.

Because Young chairs the House defense appropriations subcommittee, he had a committee staffer read Sitton's email to his colleagues Thursday to drive home a point about the growing threat of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, that are killing or wounding troops at alarming levels.

"I can't find a whole lot right about what's happening in Afghanistan," Young said after the hearing.

The 33,000 “surge troops” have finished pulling out this week. There are still 68,000 American troops out in Afghanistan. Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have supported a plan to get them out by 2014. That’s two more years of constant worries of IEDs and “inside attacks.”

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  • Lyle||

    The IEDs and "inside attacks" stop when the U.S. pulls out?

  • ||

    They stop against us. That's sort of the point. And the "inside attacks" are solely against NATO forces, to my knowledge.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Inside attacks have been occurring at least as frequently against other ANA or ANP colleagues. I think the problem is mental illness.

  • Calidissident||

    If we're not there, they can't do inside attacks against us. And I don't really care if they fight with the ANA.

    Also, do you have a link for that claim? I feel like someone posted statistics on this a while back, but I can't remember what it said

  • ||

    Since a good number of the attacks are perpetrated by ANA and ANP personnel, I'd have to say that these are people we need to forget about working with.

    They cannot kill our people if our people are not over there...period!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Cutandrunitis infects them all eventually, the peacenik.

  • rts||

    Slightly OT:

    There’s still 68,000 American troops...

    When did it become acceptable to use "there is" when the number of things is plural?

    This has become pretty prevalent in speech and now writing, and it's really irking my inner grammar Nazi.

  • Scott S.||

    Are you happy now? Huh? Huh?

  • rts||

    I've never been happy.

  • ||

    No, Scott. Now you have simply rewarded us for our behavior, and more changes will be "suggested". I thought a Reason writer would understand how this works.

    Next on our agenda: more editorial oversight on any article criticizing a political party, in recompense for the offense caused by inadequate balance of party criticism. Any article or post criticizing a political party must now criticize both EQUALLY. None of this shilling for Democrats or Republicans (depending on the post). We demand balance!!!!

  • Scott S.||

    You'll have to gather a mob and set a brew pub on fire for that.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Are you any relation to that Antarctica guy?

  • juris imprudent||

    Set a brew pub on fire? That's just unfuckingcivilized.

  • Pro Libertate||

    There's that error, but there's also "Fl." It's either Fla. or FL. Or Florida. Or Place Where the Crazy People Go.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Or America's Wang.

  • juris imprudent||

    I was thinking more like America's hanging turd.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Another example of anecdotes having more (emotional) weight in Congress than data.

  • BakedPenguin||

    At least he's not call the push to leave "Matthew's withdrawal".

  • ||

    That sounds vaguely sexual. I'm gonna need a ruling from NutraSweet.

  • ||

    I'll fill in for him.

    "Matthew's Withdrawal. Any further insertions will be just the TIP (temporary in-country forces).

  • ||

    Pull out! Pull out!!!

  • ||

    If we pull out now we will leave Afghanistan frustrated.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    "Matthew's Withdrawal. Any further insertions will be just the TIP (temporary in-country forces).

    TIP = temporarily in place

  • Cytotoxic||

    I really wish his position wasn't just based on emotionalism.

    On the bright side, local fighters in Afghanistan are rising up against the Taliban, like the Anbar Sunni Awakening. The province is even called 'Andar'. We should be buying their opium and selling them weapons. I recommend reading this article.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....SecondNews

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I really wish his position wasn't just based on emotionalism.

    Yes, how dare anyone change their opinion to match ours.

  • Kolohe||

    There's been stories of "Tribes have rejected the Taliban joined GIRoA and are now fighting against the Taliban" for years now.

    Here's one two and half years ago http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01.....emityn.www

    Here's what they're doing now
    http://www.google.com/hostedne.....f62cc0.ae1

  • ||

    WUT? PEEPLE DYE IN DEH WAR? I NOT NOE DIS! I SAI WAR BAD NOW!

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Just think, when we perfect drone soldiers, the U.S. will never have to close the Doors of Janus.

  • ||

    "We now give the floor to Congressman Lolcat."

  • FD||

    "Young, America’s longest-serving congressman (21 terms!), has supported every single war from the Vietnam War onward, explain Alex Leary and Craig Pittman of the Tampa Bay Times. He has voted repeatedly against troop withdrawals and even against setting timetables for withdrawals."

    So basically, Young is now old, perhaps suffers from dementia, or fears his maker, now that sun is setting. Time to come to Jesus and see the light of peace, I imagine. And as far as those other killing fields went? Well, the old coot must have surmised there was more justification back then.
    Alas, I suppose it's better late than never.
    Meanwhile U.S. (and other) soldiers continue to die while the White House empty suit and leftist low-life apologists wring their hands because, well, there was just nothing the the Big O could have done to get us out. And it was Bush's fault anyway. Or Reagan's. Or Ike's. Or maybe some Republican's from the 19th century...
    And so, disgust over this pathetic president returns a volley of 'yuh-but' excuses from children of all ages.
    Meanwhile other children wearing Stars and Stripes continue to die.

  • Virginian||

    I agree with everything you said, except that last line. There no American children dying in Afghanistan. Some of them may have been 17 when they enlisted, but they are fighting soldiers, not children. Anyone who comes back home in a flag draped casket is an adult.

  • Scooby||

    Many are under 26, which means they are still children in need of parental support according to the Affordable Care Act.

  • Calidissident||

    BUT IF WE DONT STAY OVER THERE THE TERRORISTS WILL INVADE AMERICA!

    /conservative idiots

  • Cytotoxic||

    Our army of strawmen will stop them.

  • ||

    It isn't a strawman. Commenters on this very website have thrown out the "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here" bullshit.

  • Calidissident||

    Come on Cyto, you know that isn't a strawman. There are people who actually think that.

  • The Hammer||

    Cyto is one of the ones who actually "thinks" that. That's why he's calling it a straw man.

  • ||

    No, he just wants them nuked. That way there isn't anyone who CAN attack us.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Only if necessary.

  • ||

    And it's always necessary.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Only in your world.

  • ||

    Not in mine, fortunately. Whenever you want to live here, just say the word.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I think that they won't 'invade' America but they can use Afghanistan as a base Op to kill Americans. Which isn't really so crazy because that's exactly what happened.

  • ||

    Yeah, with Al-Qaeda, a large-scale international terrorist movement. But we're talking about the Taliban here, which is pretty local. They don't seem interested in anything beyond their own area.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Aw, the Taliban is a harmless local movement. That's adorable.

  • ||

    I notice you only responded with sarcasm, since you can't refute that they're a local movement. Isn't that adorable? And I never said they were harmless.

  • Calidissident||

    They really can use anywhere as a base. There's no reason why they have to be located in Afghanistan, which is actually a pretty shitty location for someone trying to unify Muslims, as it's in the periphery of the Muslim world and is not an Arab country. That's the nature of terrorism. You don't need an army and bases. And even if we're over there, there's still plenty of area in Afghanistan and the Pakistan border area to hide and plot fairly safely. Instead of wasting billions of dollars, not to mention thousands of lives, both ours and foreigners, for something that's at the very best makes us marginally safer from terrorist attacks, how about we get out of there? Use intelligence services to try and uncover credible plots, and if we do, then have those people captured, or if necessary, killed.

  • ||

    While I don't think they'd be a threat to us, or be interested in being a threat to us, if we left, this is perfectly sound. It's pretty much the only part of the "find Bin-Laden" strategy that worked for us. Aside from the early years of Afghanistan, our military has been practically no help with finding the guy. Killing him, sure. But it wasn't drone striking and sitting on Afghanistan after he left that did it. It was covert intelligence.

  • Lisa||

    Sometimes I think the biggest philosophical difference in foreign policy can be boiled down to "people who played Risk as a kid" versus "people who didn't play Risk, or lost every time"

    If we left the middle east, there is an increased chance we would have to fight them here. You can argue the morals of that statement, but you can't argue that it isn't accurate.

  • FD||

    Rubbish.
    Not to mention there is so much wrong with your reply.
    Who's we?
    Who's poking a stick in the hornet's nests over there?
    And when "they" get here, how well will they fare against the biggest army in the world, and a populace armed to the teeth (thankfully still).
    When "they" get here, let me know and we'll see what awaits them.

  • Calidissident||

    How exactly are they going to come over here and fight us? They don't exactly have the navy or air force to transport the army they also don't have over here. And if you're just referring to terror attacks, how exactly does us being over there prevent them from attacking us here?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Indian Shores. One of those beach towns. I can't remember what's there. I think the Lobster Pot is in Redington Beach. Or maybe Redington Shores. Or is that Indian Rocks?

  • Mensan||

    The Lobster Pot is in Reddington Shores, but they opened a second location in Clearwater Beach.

  • Pro Libertate||

    A second location? The ways of Pinellas are mysterious.

    Haven't been there in a while but it used to be quite good.

  • Raven Nation||

    Good grief! 21 TERMS!

  • Pro Libertate||

    We don't need term limits, though. Because it's perfectly rational and not a threat at all to the concept of limited government to let people stay in office that long.

  • Raven Nation||

    No kidding. I'd be fine with no term limits if Congress functioned as it did in 1789: meeting for a few weeks of the year, paid a per diem, and Washington D.C. was still mostly a swamp.

  • db||

    He's been in office so long, it was called "Red Man Beach" when he was elected!

  • Mensan||

    I think the truly shocking part of this article is that Indian Shores has a Congressman.

  • Mensan||

    Nevermind, looks like the 10th District is most of Pinellas County.

  • RightNut||

    Romney made noises about ending the war in Afghanistan before the primaries. He's since moved away from that, but I wonder if it was just because he didn't want to be called a pussy by Newt Gingrich. I don't really think Obama wanted to keep troops in Afghanistan when he was first elected, but he didn't want to be called a pussy by McCain and the rest of the hawks in congress.

    I guess I would give the edge in ending the war to Romney, if only because most of the hawks are in his own party so he doesn't have to worry about them as much after election.

    Personally I'm waiting for a major politician who will stand up and proclaim "I think Afghanistan is a waste of time, I'm pulling our troops out, and if you call me a pussy so be it". Probably shouldn't hold my breath

  • Calidissident||

    I think that's being pretty generous to Romney. I see both guys having very similar policies towards Afghanistan (then again they have very similar policies towards almost everything)

  • RightNut||

    That's a simplification, what you mean to say is: they have similar policies towards almost everything libertarians care deeply about.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Meanwhile...

    Pro-democracy protesters overtake Islamist group's HQ in Benghazi

    Unfortunately, there seems to be a dearth of charred Islamist corpses being dragged through the streets. Hopefully, they will correct this the next time.

  • db||

    That is pretty fucking cool.

  • Cytotoxic||

    As militia members fled, the protesters torched a vehicle and took over the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia without firing a single shot. They also claimed to have freed at least 20 captives held in the building.

    And now I have a boner.

  • Calidissident||

    Remember this next time you suggest nuking the entire region

  • ||

    Remember this next time you suggest nuking the entire region

    But it's the only way to be sure!

  • ||

    God will know his own.

  • Jerry on the road||

    Just pull out and let the Iran, China, Pakistan and Indian figure out what to do with Afghanistan.

  • Lyle||

    It's just amazing Iran, China, Pakistan, and India didn't sort them out while the Taliban controlled the country and harbored bin Laden.

    In India's defense they would have to sort out Pakistan first.

  • Cytotoxic||

    India won't let Afghanistan just 'go' this time. They will fill the vacuum America leaves behind. Maybe they'll have a saner attitude to opium and won't institute insane combat restrictions.

  • db||

    In case anyone cares to talk Scientology and hasn't been looking at the "The Master" post for a while:

    If any of you folks have taken the time to read Hubbard's Mission Earth series all the way through, I'd be interested in your comments on the following:

    What does his characterization of Gris and Hisst's paranoia, megalomania, and hatred of people say about Hubbard?

    Did Hubbard see himself as a victim? A ruler? Did he really just diagnose all his fucked up psychological problems through a not-so-subtle autobiographical expose in the person of Soltan Gris?

    Did Heller represent a real person to Hubbard? A hated alter ego? An ideal he never met?

    What happened around Book 8 when the narrator changed? Did Hubbard just get too crazy to write anymore? Had he died before it was written (he definitely dies before it was published)?

    SPOILER

    Did Gris' exile to the Widow Tayl's estate, locked up in the attic, watching all the perversions that her scions committed, represent Hubbard's loss of control of the CoS?

    And did Hubbard manage to write this entire series on the weirdness of the CoS under their noses, and actually get them to publish it for them, all along knowing that even though they controlled him, they were too unself-aware to recognize a satire of their own organization?

  • db||

    I'll take that as a "no interest."

  • Tom Beebe||

    Out now! There was a documentary on Hussein on TV today which traced his role, ruthless as it may have been, back to World War Two! We are such "Johnny-come-latelies" to the region that our policies lack any horistical perspectiive, and thus have no relevance. Events rising from the Arab spring show our inexperience has reduced our efforts in the area to a laughable exercise in futility. Laughable, that is, except to the families of the lost and maimed. Bring 'em home!

  • DRM||

    US personnel killed in Afghanistan due to hostile action [monthly average rate], October 2001 - January 2009: 424 [4.81]

    US personnel killed in Afghanistan due to hostile action [monthly average rate], February 2009 - September 2012: 1,264 [28.73]

  • FD||

    Aww, now this can't be right! When W was Occupying Pennsylvania Ave, the NYT and other establishment left mouthpieces were posting front page death tolls, replete with soldier portraits, on a daily basis.
    Did they run out of ad space or something?

    If this doesn't expose the cynical, lowlife, despicable, journalistic hypocritical trash for what they truly are, then what does?
    But hell, now that their man Barack is in there, stick all that news in the Auto Sales section. Or maybe, hmm, don't even print it at all.

  • db||

    I'd like to see a day-by-day tabulation of this: deaths, page position of the reporting of the deaths over time.

  • deified||

    John Dingel is America's longest-serving Congressman, you ignorant slut Scott Shackford.

  • stevenhs||

    Yes, Dingell is, but good god cut the guy some, you ignorant misspeller. It is double els.

  • deified||

    Misspelling the Congressman's name is a brave act of explicit disrespect. I expect that this brilliant and innovative move on my part will change the conversation.

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