Congress wants to hear from Gen. Petraeus

We believe that the enormous cost and importance of our war policy in Afghanistan warrants vigorous constitutionally-mandated congressional oversight as early as possible next year.

We believe that this bipartisan call for oversight is warranted by the uncertain progress being made securing the country, minimizing American casualties, combating corruption, expanding governing capacity, promoting political reconciliation, addressing links between the insurgency and Pakistan, limiting the Taliban’s ability to project violence, and furthering other important components of our Afghanistan-Pakistan policy.

The limited analysis provided in your December Strategy Review, although important, cannot replace in-depth and substantive congressional hearings and oversight.

Many Members are also concerned about the incredible costs associated with the current policy.

The War in Afghanistan is costing the American taxpayer $2 billion per week and will total $125 billion this year alone.

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted this past August that “the most significant threat to our national security is our debt.”

We need direct access to our lead commander on the ground in order to fully consider the costs and benefits of a policy that is significantly contributing to our $1.5 trillion deficit and $15 trillion debt.

The American people deserve transparent oversight and a robust and comprehensive review of our Afghanistan policy by both the Administration and the new Congress next year.

We urge you to make General Petraeus available to testify early next year so that we can properly and appropriately fulfill our constitutional duties.

Sincerely,

Rep. Tammy Baldwin
Rep. Michael Capuano
Rep. Yvette Clarke
Rep. Steve Cohen
Rep. John Conyers, Jr.
Rep. Donna Edwards
Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Bob Filner
Rep. Marcia Fudge
Rep. John Garamendi
Rep. Alan Grayson
Rep. Raul Grijalva
Rep. Michael Honda
Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee
Rep. John Lewis
Rep. Hank Johnson
Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick
Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Rep. Barbara Lee
Rep. Ed Markey
Rep. Jim McGovern
Rep. Gwen Moore
Rep. Richard Neal
Rep. John Olver
Rep. Chellie Pingree
Rep. Mike Quigley
Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark
Rep. Paul Tonko
Rep. Niki Tsongas
Rep. Maxine Waters
Rep. Lynn Woolsey