A veteran activist group has secured eight congressional sponsors for a pledge to find a “responsible and expedient” end to what it calls the “forever war”—U.S. military action that’s been ongoing since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in 2001.
Sponsors include Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
The signers pledge to “fight to reclaim Congress’s constitutional authority to conduct oversight of U.S. foreign policy and independently debate whether to authorize each new use of military force” and “act to bring the Forever War to a responsible and expedient conclusion.”
“The United States has been in a state of continuous, global, open-ended military conflict since 2001,” reads the pledge. “Over 2.5 million troops have fought in this ‘Forever War’ in over a dozen countries—including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Niger, Somalia, and Thailand.”
The statement was written by Common Defense, a politically-minded group of military veterans and families who organized after the 2016 election. With more than 150,000 supporters across the country, Common Defense endorses progressive candidates and promotes issues relating to service members and their families.
Last week, members of Common Defense traveled to Washington to lobby for support of their pledge, The Intercept reports. For them, the fight to end war is personal.
“We’re watching the Taliban govern areas [in Afghanistan] where we deployed, and where our friends died,” Alexander McCoy, political director for Common Defense, told The Intercept. “We’re watching Trump destabilize entire regions. We’re watching our friends who we served with now on their eighth and ninth deployments. We’re seeing our kids now will be old enough to enlist and having to have hard conversations about that.”
Along with Sanders, Warren, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Omar, Common Defense has secured the support of Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT).