Lawmakers skeptical of Trump's Afghan war plan - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Lawmakers skeptical of Trump's Afghan war plan

U.S. Army Pvt. John Stafinski fires his M-249 squad automatic weapon during a three-hour gun battle with insurgent fighters in the Waterpur Valley, in Kunar province, Afghanistan, on Nov. 3, 2009. (Provided, U.S. Department of Defense) U.S. Army Pvt. John Stafinski fires his M-249 squad automatic weapon during a three-hour gun battle with insurgent fighters in the Waterpur Valley, in Kunar province, Afghanistan, on Nov. 3, 2009. (Provided, U.S. Department of Defense)
FOX19 -

For a trio of presidents, the seemingly endless quagmire in Afghanistan has been impossible to ignore and some lawmakers in Donald Trump’s own party have grown increasingly weary of the 16-year-old war.

“The mission in Afghanistan has lost its purpose,” Sen. Rand Paul (R, Ky.) said in a statement.

Paul, whose non-interventionist foreign policy views are largely out of step with the Republican Party, has been critical of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan for years — saying it’s time for the Afghans to defend themselves.

There’s movement on both sides of the aisle for Congress to re-evaluate the president’s authority to use force against ISIS.

Paul says Congress should vote on continuing the war in Afghanistan saying the authorization given to George W. Bush to chase after the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks does not grant the president the power to fight ISIS.

In May, Sen. Jeff Flake (R, Az.) and Tim Kaine (D, Va.) introduced an updated use-of-force measure that would authorize military actions against ISIS. Congress is empowered by the Constitution to declare war but has steadily given up that power to the president over the past few decades. 

Republican Rep. Thomas Massie, who is known to go rogue on Twitter criticizing the administration, made it clear he does not support the president’s plans for war and that the conflict is too much of a burden on the federal budget. 

“I had hoped the Afghanistan war would end soon,” Massie tweeted. “But now it’s inevitable that babies born during the war will be deploying to war in 2019.”

Reactions from Ohio were mixed.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said, “we cannot allow Afghanistan to be used again as a safe haven from which Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and our terrorist enemies can launch attacks on the U.S. and our allies. To do that we need stable partners in the Afghan government.”

On the campaign trail, Trump boldly called America’s war in Afghanistan a waste of money and ran as a non-interventionist. In a reversal during his address to the nation Monday, he conceded his worldview has changed in the Oval Office.  

President Trump’s plan, which will maintain an unspecified number of American troops on the ground without withdrawal timetables and to put more pressure on Pakistan for harboring terrorist safe havens, was part of a months-long overview of America’s strategy.

To sell his continued war in Afghanistan, Trump emphasized the botched withdrawal from Iraq which created a power vacuum the Islamic State was born from.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran against Trump in 2016, said 16 years of war and the lives of over 2,000 Americans was more than enough of a price to pay in the volatile region.

“America cannot afford to make an open-ended commitment of further lives and treasure to the improbable proposition of building a cohesive nation in Afghanistan,” he said.

Democrats also argue Trump is proposing a never-ending war with scarce specifics on tactics.

“This is a reversal from the president’s years of criticizing this war — both as a private citizen and a candidate,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D, Ohio) said after Trump’s prime time address. “Tonight’s address left us with nothing more than unanswered questions.”

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