This was a vote on final passage of a resolution that would have required the president to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by December 31, 2011.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), the Democratic sponsor of this resolution, urged members to support it: “There are those who are saying the war could last at least another 10 years. Are we willing to spend another $1 trillion on a war that doesn't have any exit plan, for which there is no timeframe to get out, no endgame, where we haven't defined our mission? The question is not whether we can afford to leave. The question is, can we afford to stay? And I submit we cannot afford to stay.”
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) also supported the measure: “I rise in support of the resolution, and again with great respect and concern for those great people who we are sending overseas to defend us. If we don't think they can succeed, it is incumbent upon us to bring them home as soon as possible….We will not succeed if we are planning to force the Afghan people to accept the centralized government that our State Department has foisted upon them. All we are going to do is lose more people. All we are going to do is have more wounded people and more of our military sent over there…”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) urged opposition to the resolution: “I rise in strong opposition to this resolution, as it would undermine the efforts of our military and our international partners in Afghanistan and would gravely harm our nation's security. Insanity has been described as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Three thousand people died on September 11 because we walked away once from Afghanistan, thinking that it didn't matter who controlled that country. We were wrong then. Let us not make the same mistake twice. Completing our mission in Afghanistan is essential to keeping our homeland safe.”
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) also opposed the resolution: “We may have a legitimate debate about what our presence should be, how we should change it, but the notion that we can simply walk away from this problem…is simply not true. And it is a problem that, believe me, I, as much as anyone in this body, would love to be able to walk away from. It is an enormous challenge….we can't simply walk away from them and let them fall because of the national security implications that that has for us right here at home, given what the Taliban and al Qaeda would plan. I am all in favor of a more reasonable plan for how we go forward in Afghanistan, but simply heading for the hills and leaving is not a responsible plan. It's not even really a plan for how to deal with the very difficult challenges that we face in that region, and I urge this body to oppose this resolution.”
The House rejected this resolution by a vote of 93-321. Voting “yea” were 85 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 8 Republicans. 222 Republicans and 99 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected resolution that would have required the president to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by December 31, 2011.