September 30, 2021

Duckworth Reiterates Need for Independent, Nonpartisan Review of Afghanistan War at SASC Hearing


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — During today’s U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) hearing, combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) highlighted the need for a comprehensive, independent review of our nation’s 20 years of involvement in Afghanistan as well as the importance of capturing lessons learned and applying those lessons to current and future operations. In her discussion with Thomas Joscelyn, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Duckworth also mentioned legislation she introduced today to create a nonpartisan, independent commission to examine every aspect of the war in Afghanistan with the goal of producing actionable recommendations to ensure our nation never makes the same mistakes again. Dr. Vali Nasr, Professor of Middle East Studies and International Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies was also present at the Hearing. Video of the Senator’s remarks can be found here.

Key quotes:

  • “I think we need a clear-eyed look at what happened and all the bad decisions along the way. And all the times that military leaders and commanders on the ground were not listened to. Look at the corruption, the poor practices by DOD, the poor practices by state, all of that.”
  • “And I have to say, an independent commission, with leaders who were not in a decision-making position in those 20 years, I think that's an important component of it, to keep it completely nonpartisan so that we can have a hard, clear-eyed look…”

At Tuesday’s SASC hearing with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Miller and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Kenneth Mckenzie, Duckworth advocated for a comprehensive, independent and honest review of our nation’s involvement in Afghanistan since the 9/11 terrorist attacks for the swift and safe return of Illinoisan Mark Frerichs who is still being held hostage in Afghanistan.

Duckworth recently discussed the importance of our communities welcoming the Afghan allies and partners who assisted the U.S. mission during a visit to Moline, Illinois. Duckworth also joined a bipartisan Congressional Delegation visit to Fort Lee, Virginia, to help welcome Afghan interpreters and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) recipients relocated to the U.S. after they put themselves and their families at great risk by supporting the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. Duckworth also penned an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times on why we should step up and help Afghan refugees who are resettling in the U.S.

Duckworth served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years and is Chair of the SASC Airland Subcommittee. She was one of the first handful of Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years before retiring from military service in 2014 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She served on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) during her four years serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.