For years, Senate Democrats have advocated for a refocused commitment to the mission in Afghanistan – the central front in the fight against al Qaeda. While the White House and its Republican allies have continued to divert critical resources away from the campaign in Afghanistan in support of its endless war in Iraq, Senate Democrats have consistently worked to sustain our focus on winning the battle against the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists that attacked our country on 9/11.
Democrats Fight for Smart Change in Strategy; Republicans Sit on Sidelines
At nearly every turn, Democratic efforts to right our course in Afghanistan have been thwarted by the Bush Administration and Congressional Republicans. At a direct cost to our mission in Afghanistan, Bush Republicans have poured nearly four times the funding and troops into a war of choice in Iraq, leaving the fight to secure Afghanistan and combat the resurgent Taliban and al Qaeda under-resourced and largely neglected. Since the start of the war on terrorism in October 2001, the Administration has provided $172 billion for efforts in Afghanistan and the global war on terror, while allocating more than $650 billion for operations in Iraq over the past five years.
Even as the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated, Bush Republicans have kept that campaign a second-tier priority. In December 2007 testimony, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, underscored the impact of the Bush focus on the war in Iraq over our efforts in Afghanistan. While noting that violence in Afghanistan had risen 27 percent from a year ago and the increased infiltration of foreign militants and al Qaeda terrorists into the country, Mullen stated that Afghanistan remained “an economy of force operation… In Afghanistan, we do what we can. In Iraq, we do what we must.” (House Armed Services Committee Hearing, 12/11/07)
The results of this strategic failure have been devastating for U.S. national security: