Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement on President Donald John Trump's address to the nation on Afghanistan:
“President Trump declared that Americans are ‘weary of war without victory.’ Americans are weary of war, period. For more than 17 years, our country has waged a seemingly never-ending war in Afghanistan, at a cost of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.
“The American people deserve to know what President Trump is asking of their sons and daughters. In that regard, the President’s address was unacceptably vague. By refusing to detail the number of troops he will deploy or the missions they will be tasked with, the President has positioned himself to drag out our nation’s longest military conflict indefinitely, in sharp contrast to his statements on the campaign trail.
“Further, in openly declaring the end of American-led democracy building, President Trump has doubled down on his administration’s abdication of leadership across the globe. As the Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, I have long championed democracy and human rights reforms in nations making the difficult transition towards free and open societies. In announcing this decision, President Trump has given authoritarian despots tacit approval to continue abusing and violating the rights of their citizens with impunity.
“This address underscores the importance of passing a new AUMF dictating a clear and coherent strategy for American military engagements in Afghanistan. Congress has the constitutional authority to lead this conversation, yet for too long has ceded this immense responsibility. Speaker Ryan must making passage of a new AUMF the first priority when the House of Representatives returns to session.”
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.