Letter from Congressman Loebsack on Afghanistan

Letter from Congressman Loebsack on Afghanistan

February 2010
Dear Constituent,
Thank you for contacting me about US operations in Afghanistan. I'm honored to represent you in Congress. Your opinion is very important to me and my priority is to provide Iowa's Second District with the best representation possible.
In December 2009, President Obama announced a new strategy for US operations in Afghanistan, including the deployment of 30,000 additional US troops to the country. I have visited Afghanistan four times and have participated in a number of hearings and briefings on our progress in the country over the last several years, including hearings regarding the President's recently announced strategy with Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, General McChrystal, and Ambassador Eikenberry.
Our service members and their families who will be, and who are being, deployed to Afghanistan deserve a thorough, accurate, and ongoing assessment of the President's strategy.  They need a well-defined mission, with clearly laid out goals, and an actively followed rubric for measuring progress. I have worked to ensure that our service members, military families, and the American people receive this information by asking the tough questions necessary to ensure they get the answers they need and deserve.
As a member of the Military Personnel and Readiness Subcommittees, I remain deeply concerned about the toll multiple deployments are taking on our service members and our ability to respond to emergencies at home as well as other possible contingencies abroad.  I do not believe that an open-ended commitment to Afghanistan will enhance our national security, nor do I believe that it is the best use of American resources, especially as Iowa families are tightening their belts here at home. That is why I cosponsored HR 2404 on May 18, 2009, which would require the President to submit a report to Congress detailing a strategy to succeed in Afghanistan and bring our troops home.
As the President's strategy is carried out, it must enhance our national security and it must meet achievable and well-defined goals that will effectively deny al Qaeda a safe haven and allow our troops to come home.   It must responsibly use America's resources, and include:

Clearly laid out goals, a well-defined mission, and a rubric for measuring progress.
An organized political-military structure that fully utilizes and coordinates our civilian economic, agriculture, political, and development resources with the military mission.

A realistic and up-to-date accounting of the costs.

A well-defined, and closely followed plan to transfer responsibility for Afghan security and stability to the Afghan people, including helping the Afghan government combat corruption and assume responsibility for their country's future.

Ongoing commitments from our NATO allies to support the UN and NATO-backed mission in Afghanistan with additional troops, civilian experts, and resources.

Active coordination with the Pakistani government to further secure and stabilize the region and deny a safe haven to extremists who wish to do us harm.

President Obama's decision to send additional troops into Afghanistan was meant to address the worsening security situation and reverse the momentum of al Qaeda and the Taliban in the region.  However, we will not achieve success in Afghanistan and the region through military means alone. I believe that redefining and growing the Afghan economy will be key to stabilizing the country and allowing our troops to come home. Similarly, the Afghanistan government must be supported in its efforts to develop the Afghan National Security Forces so that the Afghan people can provide for their own security.  As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I added provisions to the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (HR 2647) to increase inter-agency coordination and assure that the necessary agriculture, anti-corruption, and security training assets and resources are in place to support and enhance the military mission.
On behalf of our service members, their families, and the American taxpayers, I will continue to hold this Administration as accountable as I held the Bush Administration.  I will carefully monitor the strategy's progress, and I will ensure that, as 3,500 members of the Iowa National Guard prepare to deploy to Afghanistan, they have every resource they need. Please be assured that I will continue to carefully monitor our progress and operation in Afghanistan and will keep your thoughts in mind when considering any legislation concerning operations there.
Thank you again for contacting me about this important issue. I encourage you to visit my website at http://www.loebsack.house.gov and sign up for my e-newsletters to stay informed of the work I'm doing in Congress. I am proud to serve Iowa's Second District, and I am committed to working hard for you.

Dave Loebsack
Member of Congress

~Congressman Dave Loebsack was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2006 and represents the Second District of Iowa. He serves on The House Education and Labor Committee and The House Armed Services Committee. To learn more about Congressman Loebsack click here.

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