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Sen. Rand Paul wants to end the war in Afghanistan with a 'victory bonus' for all GWOT vets
Republican Sen. Rand Paul thinks it's finally time to bring the 17-year-old military campaign in Afghanistan to a close — and that veterans of the Global War on Terror should get a fat stack of cash for their sacrifices.
On Tuesday, the Kentucky Republican announced his intent to introduce new legislation this week "to end a war that should have ended long ago" in a video message published to his Facebook page.
"I supported going to war in Afghanistan in 2001, attacking those who harbored the 9/11 terrorists or helped to organize the attack ... and going after al-Qaeda," Paul said. "But we are many, many years past that mission. We have turned to nation-building at the cost of more than $50 billion spent a year in Afghanistan."
"It's important when to know to declare victory and leave a war," he added. "I think that time is long past, but I think we can all agree that time has come."
And that's exactly what Paul's new legislation, titled the AFGHAN Service Act, would do: declare "victory" in Afghanistan. After all, Paul says, "Osama bin Laden was killed eight years ago ... [ and Pentagon officials] say al-Qaeda is nearly wiped out."
In this July 17, 2018, file photo, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a television interview as he defends President Donald Trump and his Helsinki news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Capitol Hill in Washington (Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite)
According to Paul, the AFGHAN Service Act would pay out a so-called "victory bonus" of $2,500 to every U.S. service member, past or present, who served in the post-9/11 military campaigns that make up the Global War On Terror.
For 3 million U.S. service members who have deployed as part of the GWOT since 2001, that comes out to $7 billion, a fairly cheap "peace dividend," as Paul put it.
"It's time to declare our mission over and our war won," Paul says. "It's time to build here, not there."
Never mind the 2008 UN Security Council report that indicated that al-Qaeda's "military and explosives experts" hadn't perished, but simply decamped from Afghanistan for bloodier pastures in Syria, or that the Taliban currently has the upper hand in the ongoing peace negotiations with U.S. officials — the most important part of Paul's proposed legislation is some moolah for GWOT vets.
And for what it's worth, that victory bonus can buy around 160 24-packs of Rip-It on Amazon. Just sayin'.
SEE ALSO: US Relied On Microsoft Excel To Track Gross Human Rights Violations In Afghanistan Until 2017
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Master Sgt. Luis F. DeLeon-Figueroa, 31, and Master Sgt. Jose J. Gonzalez, 35, both died in Faryab Province from wounds sustained from small arms fire, the Pentagon said in a press release. The incident is under investigation.
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A series of blasts in the past few weeks have hit weapon depots and bases belonging to paramilitary groups in Iraq, many of them backed by Israel's regional foe Iran. The groups blamed the United States and Israel for the blasts on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make it easier for permanently disabled veterans to have their student loan debt forgiven.
Physical fitness tests were briefly suspended earlier this week and outdoor cardio testing will be curtailed for the remainder of the summer at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, after an airman died Saturday. She had completed her PT test on Friday.
Navy Secretary Richard Spencer has expanded a review of the Judge Advocate General Corps to include the Marine Corps, a Navy spokesman said on Thursday.
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