War and Pieces: Grijalva on Afghanistan Strategy

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Congressman Raul Grijalva released a statement today on a supplemental appropriations bill to fund the Afghanistan war. Grijalva has problems with Obama's strategy in Afghanistan:

“For the past several weeks, I, along with other Members of the Progressive Caucus, have held a series of conversations on the security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The six-part forum, “Afghanistan: A Road Map for Progress”, allowed us to examine what constitutes real national security for America on a variety of security issues related to Afghanistan and Pakistan. I have appended the summary recommendations that this series produced, a report that I used to assist me in my decision making on the Fiscal Year 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations legislation which came before the House of Representatives today.

“The report highlighted numerous areas of concern which led me to decide that, without fundamental changes to the mission of our troops, and a recalculation of the proposed funding formula, I could not support this Supplemental in its current form. Some of the report’s recommendations, which influenced my decision, included:

An 80-20 ratio (political-military) should be

the formula for funding our efforts in the region with oversight by a special inspector general to ensure compliance.

Require that US troop presence in the region must be oriented toward training and support roles for Afghan security forces and not for US-led counter insurgency efforts.

Unmanned aerial Drone attacks are not an effective counter-insurgency tactic because the high level of civilian casualties resulting from the drone attacks is generating, not undermining, extremism in the regions targeted. The immediate cessation of drone attacks should be required.

All aid dollars should be required to have a majority percentage of dollars tied or guaranteed to local Afghan institutions and organizations, to ensure country-wide job mapping, assessment and workforce development process to directly benefit the afghan people.

Participation of Afghan formal and informal decision-makers in military, political and economic operations and initiatives along with the initiation of an international diplomatic dialogue process is critical for our efforts to be successful.

“Overall, it is my view that the funding in the Fiscal Year 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Bill exacerbates the problematic trends identified in my appended report. If the supplemental focused more on economic development, institution building and local capacity building, then it would be worth funding. However, as it stands, the supplemental will only aggravate the quandary in which the U.S. currently finds itself in Afghanistan.”

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