Facing the possibility of a soldier withdrawal, John Lee, whose father is currently serving his second tour in Afghanistan, said he would be relieved when his father finally comes home.
After 10 years of war in Afghanistan, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly in support of an amendment that would accelerate the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The bill received strong bipartisan support, with 13 Republicans joining Senate Democrats for a final vote of 62-33.
“Soldiers aren’t machines,” Lee (junior-biological anthropology) said. “We have accomplished the majority of our objectives in Afghanistan and I just think it’s time for it to end.”
Lee said his father did his first tour in Afghanistan serving from Sept. 2011 to June 2012.
“We need to bring our guys home,” he said. “People aren’t meant to kill other people.”
The amendment to accelerate the withdrawal was non-binding, which means changes can be made to the amendment or it can be removed from the final version of the defense bill it is a part of. However, it does give President Barack Obama a concise message that not only does the Senate support his timetable to leave in Afghanistan in 2014, but that leaving earlier is preferred.
The bill’s chief sponsor, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said he thinks al-Qaida is stronger in other parts of the world and that nation-building in Afghanistan has gone off track.
It’s time to end this war, end the longest war in American history, Merkley said during the Senate debate.
James Binney, Penn State political science professor, said he’s pretty happy about the troops leaving Afghanistan.
“I’d like to see our young men and women out of there,” Binney said. “If we leave early, there are also some downsides.”
Afghanistan could fall into civil war and even become a safe house for terrorists, he said. All the lives lost and money spent would have been for nothing, Binney added.
However, Binney said the amendment would need the same bipartisan support to pass in the House of Representatives, in which there is a Republican majority.
The war in Afghanistan began on Oct. 7, 2001 in response to the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center buildings on 9/11 that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people.
As of Tuesday, at least 2,031 members of the U.S. military have died in Afghanistan. There are currently 66,000 troops in Afghanistan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.