Rep. Walter Jones Asks Speaker Ryan To Allow a Debate on Getting Out of Afghanistan

September 8, 2017

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan,

Mr. Speaker, members of Congress have written to Speaker Boehner and yourself over 13 times regarding the need for debate on the authorization of military force in Afghanistan. Despite repeated calls for action, nothing has happened. You, sir, are the leader of the House and you are responsible for bringing this debate to the floor.

This issue is more urgent now than ever. The president has not kept his campaign promises regarding Afghanistan, and is now increasing our military forces there. I, like many military families and taxpayers, am extremely frustrated!

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Rep. Walter Jones Appeals to President Trump To Get US Out of Afghanistan

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Many of us in the U.S. House of Representatives believe we have been denied our sacred duty to debate and declare war. You could say that I am disappointed by this. Disappointed because after 16 years in Afghanistan, Congress deserves another vote on this conflict. Disappointed because almost $1 trillion of taxpayers’ money has been spent with no direct goal or strategy. And most importantly, I am disappointed because we continue to lose American lives.

Sir, I am writing today because you seem to have had a change of heart on this issue:

1. In August of 2011, you agreed with Ron Paul and said the US was “wasting lives and money in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

2. In 2012, you referred to Afghanistan as a “complete waste,” and declared it was “time to come home.”

3. The next year, you said on Twitter, “Do not allow our very stupid leaders to sign a deal that keeps us in Afghanistan through 2024 – with all costs by U.S.A…”

4. You also tweeted that year, “Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA.”

Mr. President, I agree with those remarks, and so does the 31st Commandant of Marines Corps, my friend, and unofficial advisor, General Chuck Krulak. As he said in a recent email to me, “NO ONE has ever conquered Afghanistan…and many have tried. We will join the list of Nations that have tried and failed.”

Mr. President, that is why I am asking you to review this thinking before approving any troop level increases from General Mattis. I believe you would see great benefit and wisdom in asking Congress to debate and vote on troop level increases as well. You would then have the American people and their elected officials share a decision to send more of our sons and daughters into harm’s way. Once you come to a consensus, I suggest you publicly go before the American people and US military to explain the benchmarks you choose for Afghanistan. Previous administrations have not been able to clarify those endpoints, which is unfair to taxpayers and our troops. In the end, we all share this responsibility, and it is time that not only Congress but also the American people have a say. Sixteen years is enough!

Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires! We do not want a tombstone to read “United States of America.”

Respectfully,

Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress (R-NC)

Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) Statement on Syria Strikes

Today (4/7/17), Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) released the following statement regarding the launch of U.S. airstrikes in Syria:

“Regardless of the circumstances, no American president has the constitutional right to commit acts of war against a sovereign nation without approval from Congress,” said Congressman Jones. “As clearly stated in the Constitution, Congress has the sole power to declare war. This is a dangerous precedent for the president to set for the new administration.”

For additional information, please contact Allison Tucker in Congressman Walter Jones’ office at Allison.Tucker@mail.house.gov.

Congressman Walter Jones on US Financing of ‘Ghost Soldiers’ in Afghanistan

Letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter:

October 14, 2016 The Honorable Ashton B. Carter
Secretary of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Carter:

I am responding to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Acting) Jedidiah Royal’s October 3, 2016, response to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR)’s letter to you (dated August 5, 2016) regarding “ghost soldiers” in Afghanistan.

I am appalled that the U.S. taxpayer has, and continues to pay, for “ghost soldiers” in Afghanistan. Moreover, I am also concerned about the risks that inadequacy of data concerning personnel levels of the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF) may pose to American forces in Afghanistan.

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Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC): Don’t Undercut the 9/11 Victims Bill (JASTA)!

Letter from Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) to Speaker Ryan

October 5, 2016

The Honorable Paul D. Ryan
Speaker of the House of Representatives
H-232 U.S. Capitol Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker:

Last week, the House and Senate successfully voted to override President Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). In the first successful override of the Obama Administration, Congress did what President Obama failed to do: give 9/11 families the ability to seek justice against foreign governments that sponsor terrorism.

Our colleagues, Congressman Stephen Lynch and Congressman Thomas Massie, and I worked for over four years to declassify the 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry into the September 11 attacks. Those pages link Saudi Arabia to the 9/11 attacks by detailing substantial financial support from Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan and his wife to individuals linked to the 9/11 hijackers.

Our vote to override President Obama’s veto was a victorious moment for 9/11 families and justice. However, I was disappointed to read shortly after the vote that some in leadership are suggesting a modification or "weakening" of JASTA. This would be a huge mistake. JASTA is a carefully crafted bill that is the result of many years of hard work and negotiation by a vast majority of Congress. If leadership wanted changes in the bill, it should have been addressed prior to the override.

Additionally, Members of Congress are elected to represent their constituents, not so-called "allies" in foreign states. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to engage in a massive lobbying campaign against JASTA, and we must not fall for it. I IMPLORE YOU TO STAND UP FOR 9/11 FAMILIES AND RESIST CALLS TO MODIFY JASTA.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress
North Carolina, 3rd District, Republican

Rep. Walter Jones on Dick Cheney and the Consequences of Intervention

The following letter by GOP Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina was written in support of an editorial published in the Greenwood Commonwealth.

To the editor:

I write in agreement with the following statement from the June 20 editorial in the Greenwood Commonwealth titled "Right criticism, wrong critic": "Former Vice President Dick Cheney isn’t the best person to criticize President Obama’s foreign policy, or the lack thereof."

The editorial went on to quote from a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by Vice President Cheney and his daughter, which described President Obama’s policies by saying "[r]arely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many." I too am opposed to many of the foreign policy decisions that President Obama has made. However, it is the height of hypocrisy for Dick Cheney to pen those words, because it is in large part a result of his misguidance in the early 2000’s that "so many" Americans – 4,478 – and "so many" Iraqis – estimates range up to 650,000 – lost their lives in an unnecessary conflict. Because of my vote to authorize the Iraq War, I have written over 11,000 letters to family members of the service men and women who died. While at this time, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have publicly stated that they will not apologize for the unnecessary war, it is my hope that they will do so in the future.

I find the piece "Why Iraq Was a Mistake" that Marine Lieutenant General Greg Newbold wrote for Time in April 2006 to be particularly appropriate. "From 2000 until October 2002, I was a Marine Corps lieutenant general and director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff," wrote Newbold. "After 9/11, I was a witness and therefore a party to the actions that led us to the invasion of Iraq – an unnecessary war. Inside the military family, I made no secret of my view that the zealots’ rationale for war made no sense." He went on to say that "[w]hat we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures" and listed one of those failures as "the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war" – the same distortion of intelligence in which Dick Cheney played a vital role.

The US spent over eight years and $800 billion to rebuild Iraq and train and equip their military, only to see that investment disintegrate in the face of opposition from ISIS rebels. Expecting more American lives and more US taxpayer dollars to yield a different result now is the definition of insanity. At a time when America is plagued by domestic problems and over $17 trillion in debt, we simply cannot afford to repeat our past mistakes. It is time for the Iraqi people to stand up and fight for their own future.

Sincerely,

Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress (NC-3)