Duckworth calls for an independent commission to study the war in Afghanistan | national news


WASHINGTON – Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth on Wednesday touted her Senate bill that would create a non-partisan commission to examine the longest war in American history so that the hard-fought lessons do not go unheeded.

Speaking at an event hosted by Foreign Policy magazine, Duckworth said his Afghanistan War Commission act would establish an independent commission “to review the length of the 20 years of US involvement in Afghanistan, but also to examine the extent of government, all who were there.

Duckworth said the panel would study not only the history of the military conflict, but also the role of the four administrations and congresses that oversaw it, as well as the involvement of other government agencies.

“We have to learn what we have done wrong, that after 20 years and billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars, less than a week after we left, by pulling out of Afghanistan, the country collapsed “said Duckworth. “We haven’t really done nation building. “

Duckworth, a former Army helicopter pilot who was wounded in combat in Iraq in 2004 and had both legs amputated after a rocket-propelled grenade hit her plane, said the military had accomplished successfully its initial task of neutralizing al-Qaida and ousting the Taliban from power. in Afghanistan and ultimately killing Osama bin Laden. But the reconstruction mission was never given to the State Department, she said.

“I think we’ve kind of looked away,” she said. “The work and expertise of the military is not to build a nation, it is not to teach and establish a justice system, a public order system. So they never did any of that.

Duckworth’s bill has attracted a dozen cosponsors: Democrats Mazie K. Hirono of Hawaii, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Richard J Durbin of Illinois, Dianne Feinstein of California, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Gary Peters of Michigan, as well as the independent Angus King of Maine.

King said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Afghanistan on Tuesday that he liked Duckworth’s proposal “that we have a non-partisan committee to … really get to the bottom of it.”

During the hearing, Colin Kahl, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, said the Pentagon was “strongly in favor” of Duckworth’s proposal for an independent commission.

Although Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, is not a cosponsor, Duckworth thanked him for his support of his bill during the hearing and said she was looking forward to Adopt it as part of the Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year 2022.

The House Armed Services Committee last month passed an amendment to its version of the authorization bill by Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming that would create an independent commission.

Duckworth noted that it was important to fund the commission well and not rush into producing a finished product.

“If we set the scope (a) too narrow, we will fail to understand the root causes of our failures, or worse, we will learn the wrong lessons. If we don’t look at the role of all government agencies involved and only look at the DOD, we will also be missing out on important conclusions, ”said Duckworth. “If we just settle for one more report without engaging a truly non-partisan independent body to make forward-looking recommendations, then we will not have done our duty to prevent future generations from repeating the mistakes of the past. “


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