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SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: When you look at $10 billion to $12 billion monthly payment by American taxpayers, much of which is being wasted, and sadly, portions of which are being diverted to fund our enemy, you have to ask yourselves, how long can we sustain this?
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UYGUR: That was Senator Dick Durbin today questioning how long we are going to spend resources fighting in Afghanistan, which is a very good question.
With the death of bin Laden, we find ourselves in another pivot point.
This time, involving Afghanistan.
Since 9/11, we have spent $1.25 trillion fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soon, that will be $1.5 trillion. Afghanistan has cost us more than $444 billion to date, and it‘s costing us an estimated $2 billion a week to operate.
Now, let me put that in terms of the budget battle. OK?
For weeks, Republicans and Democrats were arguing over cutting $38 billion from the federal budget. Well, that amount is equal to what we spend in Afghanistan in 19 weeks.
Now, think about that. All those painful cuts we made to important programs, we could have them all back if we just stay in Afghanistan 19 weeks less.
We already got bin Laden. There‘s almost no al Qaeda left in Afghanistan, according to our own intelligence.
Now, what would you rather have, all those domestic programs, or 19 more weeks in Kandahar? OK.
So you want to know some of those things that we cut in that spending bill to help make up your mind? Well, the Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services Departments face $19.8 billion in cuts. We could have recouped that in a little under 10 weeks in Afghanistan.
The EPA alone face cuts of $1.6 billion. That could have been made back in a little over five days and 14 hours.
We cut contributions to U.N. and international organizations by $377 million. That is just a day and eight hours.
So when people say we‘re broke, it‘s not really true. We always find money for war. We can simply reallocate some of that money to create jobs here at home, for example.
This is all about making choices. We could have more pollution in the air that our kids breathe because we couldn‘t properly fund the EPA, or we could have six more days in Afghanistan. Who thinks that‘s even a hard choice?
This is a pivot point in our war on terror. It‘s a terrific opportunity to bring our troops, our money, our energy and our resources back home. Let‘s address our issues here instead of trying to rebuild nations abroad that we bombed in the first place. Hopefully, the president makes the right choice going forward.