Mike Thompson Watch


Mike Thompson votes to withdraw from Afghanistan

(June 12, 2011)

California congressman Mike Thompson joined 203 other members of the U.S. House of Representatives voting for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540) that essentially demanded the U.S. withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. The May 26, 2011 vote (see H. Amdt. 344 on Afghanistan) would have required "A plan and timeframe on accelerated transition of military operations to Afghan authorities" with "a plan and timeframe on negotiations leading to a political solution and reconciliation in Afghanistan."

The Amendment was sponsored by James McGovern of Massachusetts, a Democrat. The vote (204 Yes, 215 No, 12 not voting) was not strictly partisan. 26 Republicans voted for the amendment; 8 Democrats voted against it.

A few years ago such a amendment would have garnered a few dozen Yes votes at most. Although the Democrats gained control of Congress in 2006 largely based on a promise of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as soon as they had power most began hedging. Mike Thompson had consistently voted for the war and its funding. As far as I know this is a switch for him, the first time he has voted against the war. The amendment was framed in such a way as to gather a maximum number of votes; it calls for a peace timetable, not immediate peace; but it still is an indicator that politicians feel they can get us out of Afghanistan and still get re-elected.

Mike's vote was particularly important because he sits on an intelligence committee. In retrospect, a lot of conservative, pro-military members of Congress are realizing that fighting a small band of criminals like Al Qaeda is better done by the CIA and international policing than by invading entire nations.

Way to go Mike.

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Mike Thompson is the current elected member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 1st Congressional District.