Maryland Fourth District Rep. Donna Edwards was the only member of the state's congressional delegation to vote against President Obama's request for nearly $100 billion more in funds for the war in Afghanistan. Edwards was one of 51 Democrats who opposed the president. She was recently in Afghanistan. Here's here explanation of the nay:
"I returned from Afghanistan just a couple of days ago – I could see first-hand the passion and commitment of our servicemen and women, our diplomats, and other civilians. I saw the commitment and courage of Afghan women to build a future for their country. But this supplemental appropriations bill does not get us there. 'Given its terrain, poverty, neighborhood, and tragic history, Afghanistan in many ways poses an even more complex and difficult long-term challenge than Iraq – one that, despite a large international effort, will require a significant U.S. military and economic commitment for some time.' Those are the words of Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Yet, this supplemental bill commits our servicemen and women to a war without end, placing them in harm's way without a plan for being there or a strategy for leaving Afghanistan. . . . I understand that we want to give our President an opportunity to work out a mess that he inherited but did not create. Unfortunately, this Congress and this President must be honest with the American people about what winning really means. We must have a plan that does not wait until we're mired deeper in a mess that we will not be able to dig out of for a generation."
The Washington Post reported last week that funding for the war in Afghanistan will soon surpass annual outlays for the war in Iraq, with the fiscal 2010 budget showing $65 billion for Afghanistan and $61 billion for Iraq. (For 2009, the Pentagon requested $87 billion for Iraq and $47 billion for Afghanistan.) The shift in funding is needed because of the deployment of 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan, raising the total commitment there to 68,000. The billions approved by the House on Thursday was just to continue operations through September of this fiscal year, and according to The Post it was $12 billion more than Obama had requested.