Congressman Bill Young on Latest Constituent Killed in Afghanistan: “It Is That Bad”

Last month, Florida GOP Congressman Bill Young changed his stance on Afghanistan, stating that it is now time to withdraw as soon as possible and that “we’re killing kids that don’t need to die”. Saturday, yet another of Young’s constituents was killed in Afghanistan.

The latest who didn’t need to die was 24-year-old Brittany Gordon. She was killed Saturday in a remote section of Kandahar province at an intelligence office. Her killing may well turn out to be classed as green on blue, as the killer who detonated a suicide vest killing Gordon and five others may have been a member of Afghanistan’s intelligence service, although there also are reports that Afghanistan has denied the killer was a member of the NDS. It appears that the other American killed in this attack was a CIA officer.

Young had received a letter from Matthew Sitton just prior to Sitton’s death last month. In a strange parallel, Young had spent time with Gordon’s father, St. Petersburg’s assistant police chief, just last week:

Young became a critic of the nation’s war in Afghanistan last month after he received a letter from Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton of Largo, who told him of the carnage caused by IEDs. Sitton was later killed by one.

“Things have gone wrong in Afghanistan,” Young said Monday night. “Something has to change. Too many people are ignoring that fact, and suggesting that it’s not that bad. But it is that bad.”

Young said he spent time with Cedric Gordon last week when they met to talk about honoring fallen police officers. Young said it was apparent he was a proud father.

Young said the deaths of Sitton and Brittany Gordon reinforce his new position on the war. “It makes it very personal,” Young said. “The Gordon case brings it even closer to home.”

But don’t ask anyone in Washington to do anything about how “things have gone wrong in Afghanistan” until after the election. In the meantime, how many more families and communities will lose valued members like Brittany Gordon for no reason at all?

Yes, Congressman Young, it is that bad and it sadly is unlikely to change for a very long time.

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.
9 replies
  1. SaltinWound says:

    If we withdraw, will all of our CIA and intelligence officers leave? I am guessing no and these people would still targets.

  2. PeasantParty says:

    It is way past time to get out. However, it is clear to me that the MIC is determined to stay and expand. I have come to the conclusion that there is not one single person with the guts to do something about this empire expansion left in Washington.

    After Syria and Iran there will be more. They won’t stop until there is nothing left to conquer and reconstruct to their way of liking. It causes me shame and I hate that my family has been proud of its long tradition of military service.

  3. What Constitution says:

    Another example of having the wars fought by “others” — here, one of our congressfolk are shocked, shocked and dismayed when somebody he actually knows was killed. There should be some kind of requirement that some percentage of the children of people who publicly advocate war must be required to serve on the front lines of those wars. I don’t know if Bill Kristol or Jonah Goldberg (or Congressman Bill Young) have “military aged” offspring in their family, but put such a person near the crosshairs of our drones and I’ll bet there would be a decidedly less shrill drumbeat from the quarters that exhort us to be there. Yes, we should be out of these places, but it is such a shame that it takes a “personalization” like this to make somebody in power stand up and say so. Not that this isn’t progress.

  4. Brindle says:

    Negotiations scheduled to extend U.S military footprint in Afghanistan past 2014.

    —“We are leaving in 2014, period, and in the process, we’re going to be saving over the next 10 years another $800 billion,” Biden said. “We’ve been in this war for over a decade. The primary objective is almost completed. Now all we’re doing is putting the Kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security. It’s their responsibility, not America’s.”

    Marc Grossman, the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, explained today that’s not the whole story.

    Grossman said Tuesday that the point of the upcoming negotiations is to agree on an extension of the U.S. troop presence well past 2014, for the purposes of conducting counterterrorism operations and training and advising the Afghan security forces.”

    (altered to reformat link – bmaz)

  5. DonS says:

    The rhetoric and framing around Afghanistan has changed. I haven’t been paying that close attention, but Obama seems to be leading the way in signaling that the corner is turned, and the direction is out. And I don’t know which came first, conviction of the unsustainability of the operation or, as I suspect, irrefutable polling that showed it a political liability. Finding the rationale and scapegoat was easy — blame it on the Afghans themselves; that wasn’t hard. But after 11+ years of throwing money and lives down a rathole it was about a no-brainer.

    Still, I too am quite certain that withdrawal from Afghanistan means anything but what a reasonable person would think of as withdrawal. Anymore than withdrawal from Iraq did. Logistical pipelines, residual forces and trainers, command structures, infrastructures created (how about that largest embassy in the world in Baghdad?), Nor do I think this shift portends a meaningful change in the strategic posture of the US or the MIC. We’ve got enough boogeymen and actual non-threats to the US going in the Mideast and Africa to keep our sabres rattling for the foreseeable future. That’s who we are; that’s what a hegemon does in the 21st century.

  6. joanneleon says:

    It’s a typical example of this administration talking out of both sides of their mouths. If we were really leaving Afghanistan in 2014, that assessment by Gen. Allen and specific plans/numbers for the number of troops remaining would be announced before the election. They’d be falling all over themselves to use it in the campaign.

  7. Susan says:

    We should require every child and grandchild of every member of Congress and the White House, who are between the ages of 18 and 30, to serve in theater for the duration of the war.

    I do believe Biden’s son served, but I think he is the only one.

    But no matter how sad it is when a combatant is killed, my sympathies are largely with the non-combatants who did not pick up a weapon and paycheck and go somewhere else to kill for empire.

    The war came to them – and they did not have a choice.

Comments are closed.