What do you know. Republican North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones sounds like a liberal here. Now that Osama bin Laden has been killed, there are a growing number of calls for the United States to get out of Afghanistan. This is long past due.
May 3, 2011

What do you know. Republican North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones sounds like a liberal here. Now that Osama bin Laden has been killed, there are a growing number of calls for the United States to get out of Afghanistan. This is long past due.


BLITZER: After the death of bin Laden, CNN is now taking an in- depth look at the war in Afghanistan, a war that some U.S. lawmakers are now saying should end quickly.

Our congressional correspondent Kate Bolduan is joining us now with some of the details.

Kate, what's going on here?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the death of Osama bin Laden has renewed the debate here on Capitol Hill, as well as elsewhere, about the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. It's also renewed the push by some liberal Democrats and some fiscal conservatives calling for the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan altogether, and do that sooner rather than later.

North Carolina Republican Congressman Walter Jones and Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Jim McGovern, they both have been long opposed to the war in Afghanistan. They are rolling out a bill come Thursday that would require the White House provide a concrete timeline and specific dates for the U.S. to pull all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan. The administration now, their timeline is to begin the withdrawal in July and finish up in 2014.

I spoke with Congressman Jones earlier today about what he thinks the death of Osama bin Laden should mean for U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Listen here.


BERGEN: So, when you talk about the news of Osama bin Laden being killed, how does that change in your view as you are looking for the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan? How do you think that changes the debate up here on Capitol Hill?

REP. WALTER JONES (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, it should change the debate because we were saying that al Qaeda, bin Laden are responsible for 9/11, which is true. Where we have driven the al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, and now bin Laden, who leaves al Qaeda, he is gone. So, therefore, what are we trying to achieve there? The Taliban have -- the Taliban we supported when they were fighting the Russians.

BOLDUAN: But some of your colleagues, including Speaker Boehner, even, saying just yesterday, they think an accelerated drawdown, an accelerated pullout would be a mistake, would be dangerous at this point. Speaker Boehner even said that this reinforces, this makes our mission in Afghanistan more important, not less.

JONES: I would say to the Speaker, what do you want to accomplish? You want Karzai to be your friend when he tells you half the time that he supports the enemy that's killing our kids?

I mean, my -- in fact, I have been very disappointed in my party, quite frankly, because why are we -- we are up here cutting Medicare, but we are spending $8 billion a month in Afghanistan, borrowing money. But, yet, we're saying to children and senior citizens in America, we can't help you. Well, it's ironic to me that you want to help Karzai remain in power in Afghanistan.


BOLDUAN: Now, the bill that Jones and McGovern will be unveiling Thursday would require that President Obama provide a concrete timeline with specific dates that they will withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and also provide regular updates and reports to Congress about how much the continued fight there is costing and how much they could be saving if they had accelerated the withdrawal.

Now, this is likely to be a tough sell up here, as well as with the White House. When the White House spokesperson was asked just today if the -- if bin Laden's death will impact the withdrawal and plans there, he said flatly no, that the withdrawal of troops will be based on conditions on the ground -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I suspect though this legislation will get some momentum, especially as the congressman points out the enormous cost to U.S. taxpayers of maintaining those troops in Afghanistan.

BOLDUAN: That's what he is hoping.

BLITZER: About $2 billion a week, as he says.

All right. Thanks very much.

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