HONOLULU [October 7, 2011]

On Afghanistan war's 10th anniversary, the veteran and congressional candidate calls for immediate withdrawal of troops

On October 7, as America marked ten years at war in Afghanistan, Tulsi Gabbard called for an immediate and safe withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. Gabbard, a veteran of two tours of duty in the Middle East, is a congressional candidate in Hawai'i's second district.

"Our country has now been at war in Afghanistan for 10 years. Over 1700 patriotic troops have lost their lives. Thousands more have been seriously wounded or lost their limbs. The question facing us is not whether we can afford to leave; it is 'can we afford to stay?' I say we cannot. It is time to bring our troops home now," said Gabbard, a captain in the Hawai'i National Guard.

In her announcement, Gabbard pointed to the unclear mission in Afghanistan and the fact that taxpayer money spent in Afghanistan could be put to more effective use in the United States. "We achieved our original goal of entering Afghanistan. We've killed Bin Laden, decimated al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and given the Afghan people the opportunity to have a democratic country if they choose. It is now time for the Afghan people to take responsibility for their own country," said Gabbard.

"America is a great country and we are a compassionate people, but at a time when our own people are facing such serious challenges, we cannot afford to divert our attention away from getting things back on track here at home," said Gabbard. "We can't afford to be policing and nation-building in foreign countries at a time when our deficit is rising; our nation's infrastructure is crumbling; our people need work; Social Security, and Medicare are in trouble; and our military is spread too thin." Gabbard stated,

"We have learned from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that the best way to defeat the terrorists is through strategically placed small quick-strike special forces and drones--the strategy that took out Osama Bin Laden. We know that this fresh approach to our nation's security is the way to go. So why are we still nation-building in Afghanistan? It's time to bring our troops home immediately."

As a member of the Hawai'i National Guard, Tulsi Gabbard served two tours of duty in the Middle East. She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for her service. Returning home, Tulsi was elected to the Honolulu City Council, remains a member of the Hawai'i National Guard, and was recently commissioned as a Captain.

For more information about Tulsi Gabbard, or to get involved in her campaign, please visit www.TulsiGabbard.com, email Tulsi@VoteTulsi.com, or call 808-861-0793. Tulsi Gabbard is a member of the Hawai`i Army National Guard. Use of her military rank, job titles, images in uniform and her comments do not imply endorsement by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.

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One of the main reasons I'm running for Congress

"One of the main reasons I'm running for Congress is to press for the immediate removal of our troops from Afghanistan. When I came home from my second deployment to the Middle East, as soon as I stepped off the plane and felt the sweet trade winds caressing my face and held my family in my arms, I felt an indescribable and overwhelming joy. But I also felt a deep sadness for my brothers and sisters in uniform who were still in the war zone far away from their families, and for those heroes who would never have the chance to come home because they made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. That sadness is still with me and it is why I am determined to do whatever I can to ensure that my brothers and sisters in uniform not remain in Afghanistan for a single day longer than absolutely necessary. It is time to bring our troops home to the loving embrace of their families."

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