Sen. Rand Paul introduced a bill Tuesday that would pay out a $2,500 bonus to service members who fought in the Global War On Terror, and put an end to the Afghan War.
Paul, along with Democratic Sen. Tom Udall, introduced the 2019 American Forces Going Home After Noble (AFGHAN) Service Act, which would effectively end the war in Afghanistan, recall deployed troops and issue bonus payments to service members for their efforts, according to a statement from Paul’s office.
The bill seeks to declare a victory in the 17-year war efforts in Afghanistan that has cost $6 trillion and 2,300 American lives. His bill would also provide a one-time bonus payment of $2,500 for each of the 3 million service members who fought – for a total of $7 billion that would pay for itself in the $50 billion annual savings from not paying for the war.
— The Hill (@thehill) March 5, 2019
“Endless war weakens our national security, robs this and future generations through skyrocketing debt, and creates more enemies to threaten us. For over 17 years, our soldiers have gone above and beyond what has been asked of them in Afghanistan. It is time to declare the victory we achieved long ago, bring them home, and put America’s needs first,” Paul said.
The bill requires that bonus payment to service members be made within one year.
It also sets forth requirements to establish a troop withdrawal plan within 45 days of the enacted law for all troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan within one year.
Plans would also be made for transitioning facilities to Afghan possession, and following an Afghan reconciliation plan.
In a video posted to his Facebook page, Paul said the bill was needed “to end a war that should have ended long ago.”
“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.”
“We don’t need to be wasting that $50 billion, and there’s no doubt much of it is wasted,” he said, noting that hundreds of millions of American funds went to Afghan development projects, some of which are unfinished or unused.
“My question is when are they going to pay for their own stuff? Why does Uncle Sam have to be Uncle Sap and pay for everything,” Paul said.
“It’s time to declare our mission over and our war won,” he said. “It’s time to build here, not there.”
Paul also noted that the Department of Defense considers al Qaeda nearly eradicated, eight years after Osama bin Laden’s death.
“It’s important when to know to declare victory and leave a war,” he added. “I think that time is long past, but hopefully we can all agree that time has come.”
Paul has been calling for the end of the war for quite some time. He has been supportive of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria, and reports that the President will withdraw at least half of the 14,000 troops in Afghanistan.
In December, Paul told CBS News, “The President’s right and I think the people agree with him. Let’s rebuild America. Let’s spend that money here at home.”
“The President promised when we went into Syria our goal was to wipe out ISIS. We took ninety nine percent of the land, they’re on the run.” he said.