Sen. Joe Manchin Says Our Troops Need to Come Home
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin continues to speak out against keeping US troops in Afghanistan after this year, and he is questioning continued US involvement in Iraq as well.
Last month, President Obama announced that the current 32,000 troops in Afghanistan will be drawn down to 9,800 by the start of next year. The President plans to withdraw those 9,800 by 2016. Senator Joe Manchin sent the President a letter on June 9th expressing his opposition to his decision of keeping any troops in Afghanistan after this year.
“If the sectarian forces are greater than any, ideologically or philosophical, we have to understand that. We cannot change the culture. We have not been successful with money or military might to change that part of the world, we would’ve done it by now.”
Manchin says both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the United States trillions of dollars. More than 6,000 soldiers have died fighting in the two countries. Manchin says unless the people of Iraq and Afghanistan rise to the level of wanting to defend themselves from terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, the United States can’t do anything else for them. Manchin does not think the US needs to have a permanent presence in a country if we are unable to change the minds and ideas of the people there.
“I’ve said this, we can stay in Iraq or we can stay in Afghanistan for another year, another ten years, or twenty years, [but] unless we intend to stay in perpetuity, forever, to try to keep some type of force because they don’t have the will or the backbone to defend themselves, they don’t have the desire to basically die for their homeland, or fight and die for their homeland, as Americans have for ours, and it’s a sectarian type of war. Only thing we can do is offer help to those who want to help themselves. You can’t force them to enter the fight. If the Sunnis are not going to fight against their own sectarian brothers and sisters, the Sunnis, we can’t make them do that. If it’s going to separate into a sectarian civil war, such as you have the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites, that’s where it’s been, that’s where it’s gonna go maybe, and that’s maybe territorial, I don’t know. We can’t force that to stay together as a country, Iraq or Syria, if it’s not going to be the will of the people.”
Manchin says the US has been at war in Afghanistan and Iraq longer than any war in the country’s history and he says neither have been successful.