Politics

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

America's longest-serving Republican congressman turns against Afghanistan

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Warmongers for peace

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."