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.
A new bill would give troops with infertility related to their military service greater access to advanced reproductive treatments, including up to three completed cycles of in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and cryopreservation of eggs and sperm for those heading to a combat zone.
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, the commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, speaks to Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) during a visit aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Marines and Sailors with the 11th MEU are conducting routine operations as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group in the eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck)
The Marine Corps' top general on the west coast is readying his Marines for the next big war against a near peer competitor, and one of his main concerns is figuring out how to alter the mindset of troops that have been fighting insurgencies since 9/11.
"If anything my problem is getting people out of the mindset of [counterterrorism] and making sure they're thinking about near peer adversaries in their training programs," Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California, told Task & Purpose in an interview on Friday.
A Ruger AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, center, the same model, though in gray rather than black, used by the shooter in a Texas church massacre two days earlier, sits on display with other rifles on a wall in a gun shop Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Lynnwood, Wash. (Associated Press/Elaine Thompson)
A new bill introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives would require a significant number of state residents own "at least one" AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with the help of a hefty tax break — except it won't ever get off the ground.
The casket carrying the remains of Scott Wirtz, a civilian employee of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency killed along with three members of the U.S. military during a recent attack in Syria, sits in a military vehicle during a dignified transfer ceremony as they are returned to the United States at Dover Air Force Base, in Dover, Delaware, U.S., January 19, 2019. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.-backed forces have captured ISIS fighters tied to a January suicide bombing in Syria that killed four Americans, U.S. officials say, generating concrete leads for Washington about the deadliest attack to date there against U.S. personnel.