U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faced criticism this week after writing that the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan to combat Al-Qaeda in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks was “disastrous” and “wrong,” and asserting that “non-intervention” should have been tried instead.
The New York Democrat, who’s been mostly silent on foreign policy since taking office in January, fired off a number of tweets Monday in a bid to defend her embattled ally, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., over some recent comments that have been perceived as anti-Semitic and for questioning the U.S.-Israel alliance.
“I remember a time when it was `unacceptable’ to question the Iraq War,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, before correcting that she meant the Afghanistan War. “All of Congress was wrong, including both GOP & Dem Party, and led my generation into a disastrous + wrong war that all would come to regret, except for the one who member who stood up: Barbara Lee.”
She added that the U.S. should have stayed out of Iraq as well, and that “we should end the AUMF [Authorization for the Use of Military Force] now while we’re at it.”
Her comments quickly drew criticism from a fellow New York Democrat, U.S. Rep. Max Rose, who fought in Afghanistan and received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
“I believe it's long past time we end the war in Afghanistan," Rose told the New York Daily News, "but I strongly disagree with the idea that the invasion was wrong on moral or national security grounds.
“After our city and country were attacked we were very clear with the Taliban — either they give up Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, or we would come and get them ourselves,” he added. “They chose to protect Usama bin Laden, and they rightfully paid the price.”
“After our city and country were attacked we were very clear with the Taliban — either they give up Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, or we would come and get them ourselves. They chose to protect Usama bin Laden, and they rightfully paid the price.”
After facing questions over her description of the war in Afghanistan, a country that harbored Al Qaeda, Ocasio-Cortez doubled-down on her comments and suggested the U.S. should have taken alternative measures such as “non-intervention.”
“I think that our decision to enter unlimited engagement in Afghanistan, particularly through AUMF+Congress’ abdication of power+decision-making w/passage of the AUMF, was a mistake,” she wrote.
“Other options: targeting the network itself, limited engagement itself, limited engagement, non-intervention,” she added.
But Ocasio-Cortez’s description of the war was unlikely to be endorsed even by the most prominent anti-interventionist members of the U.S. Senate – Rand Paul of Kentucky and Tom Udall of New Mexico – who introduced a bill Tuesday to end the war in Afghanistan while thanking the military for its service.
The bill calls for the U.S. to declare victory in Afghanistan and create a 45-day deadline for drafting a plan for total troop withdrawal within a year.
Following the withdrawal, the AUMF also would be repealed, while more than 3 million military service members who served in Afghanistan would get a $2,500 thank-you bonus.
“Endless war weakens our national security, robs this and future generations through skyrocketing debt, and creates more enemies to threaten us,” Paul said in the statement.
“For over 17 years, our soldiers have gone above and beyond what has been asked of them in Afghanistan,” he added. "It is time to declare the victory we achieved long ago, bring them home, and put America’s needs first.”