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Keep U.S. Troops in Afghanistan? Let Congress Vote!

Posted by Just Foreign Policy on November 3rd, 2013

From our partners at Just Foreign Policy

In mid-November, the Christian Science Monitor reports, a loya jirga in Afghanistan – a national meeting of tribal leaders and other notable Afghans – will vote on whether to meet the Obama administration’s terms for keeping U.S. troops in the country beyond the end of 2014.

If you care about democracy in Afghanistan, you should be happy for the Afghans. Whether or not – and if so, under what conditions – they want to have thousands of U.S. troops in their country after 2014 is obviously a very big deal for them. Why shouldn’t they have full deliberation and debate?

But if you also care about democracy in the United States, you should be a bit troubled. Because Congress has never approved keeping thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the end of 2014.

The closest Congress has come to considering this question is in language passed by the House in June, 2013. Offered by Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, this language – which passed the House 305-121, with a majority of both Democrats and Republicans voting yes- said [my emphasis]:

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