GENERAL TALKING POINTS
Sending troops to Afghtanistan will:
- Prop a corrupt Karzai government which is largely viewed as totally
unrepresentative of the people of Afghanistan — thereby widening the
distance between the government and its people and making the goal of
democracy further unattainable
- Provide the Taliban greater recruiting power and legitimacy since
locals view US/ NATO troops as "occupiers" of their land
- Not help the US find Al Qaeda targets, who are now rumored to have
- Not improve the security situation, the poor economy and erosion
in women's rights
According to an
August CNN poll, 57 percent of Americans oppose the Afghan war, while
fraudulent presidential election has further eroded both international
and domestic credibility of the corrupt Karzai regime. Americans must
realize that thanks to their military policy in the region, Afghans now
have to contend with warlords and drug traffickers of the former Northern
Alliance as well as the U.S. /NATO soldiers and operatives, who are seen
as occupiers of their land. One set of oppressors had been replaced by
another, according to Malalai Joya, former Afghan MP, who says, ”We
are sandwiched between three powerful enemies: the occupation forces of
the U.S. and NATO, the Taliban and the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai."
And there is no question in her mind that the "United
States should go, too. As long as foreign troops are in the country we
will be fighting two enemies instead of one."
The roughly 68,000
U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan cost us $60.2
billion on an annual basis, and while approximately 800 + US soldiers
have died in this conflict, the latest
U.N. report finds more than 1,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan
in the first six months of this year, an increase of 24 percent over the
same period in 2008, mostly due to air strikes in civilian areas. So while
the US is trying to avoid greater troop casualties, it has relied heavily
on air power and drone strikes, which have inevitably resulted in innocent
civilian deaths. Far from eliminating terrorist networks, these air strikes
have deepened popular hostility -- an increasing
numbers of the Afghan population think that attacks on U.S./NATO forces
Obama must take bold and compassionate action to address the Afghan's
real need for health care, jobs, education and security by providing humanitarian
assistance through non-governmental organizations, instead of continuing
to cripple the country with more years of war. Ending U.S. military intervention
in the region is the only way to bring real and sustainable change. It’s
also the most important way we can begin to mend our relationship with
Muslims in the region, and in doing so, help us protect our own security
in the long term.
- Congress and the Administration should adopt an exit
strategy from Afghanistan based on all-party talks, regional diplomacy,
unconditional humanitarian aid, and timelines for the near-term withdrawal
of American and NATO combat troops. We must end a war that has no end
in sight and continues to drain the U.S. economy, destroy lives and
destabilize the Middle East and South Asia.
- Americans are angry and appalled that the war has become increasingly
deadly for its soldiers; July and August were the deadliest months for
U.S. soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, with 51
U.S. troops killed in August alone.
- Obama's escalation of the war, including a boost of troops to 62,000
there today, threaten to make a shambles of his domestic economic agenda,
including health care reform, as the Vietnam War did to President Lyndon
- Based on a
series of hearings over the past several weeks with U.S., Afghan,
and Pakistan military advisers, the Congressional Progressive Caucus
concluded that that U.S. funding for war "exacerbates" failed
strategies by focusing on military funding and leaving far too little
for economic development, institution building, local community funding
and skills training.
- An increasing number of Americans recognize that the U.S.
does not have clearly defined goals nor any real, viable strategy.
Officials still cannot answer exactly why are we there (military occupation
"to defeat the Taliban" is clearly not a valid response, and
it is impossible financially, logistically and culturally to "build"
a democracy). There will never be success as the goals are impossible.
Russ Feingold, D-WI, recently called on President Obama to announce
a timetable for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and said
escalation "is a strategy that is not likely to succeed."
Petraeus told the Associated Press earlier this year that "you
don't kill or capture your way out of an industrial-strength insurgency."
Top U.S. commander Admiral
Mike Mullen even admitted last month that the war is "deteriorating".
Even conservative commentator George
Will called for the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan.
of occupation (general):
- Decades of war – going back to the United States’ Cold War-era covert
involvement in Afghans’ war against the Soviets - have contributed to
the fragmentation of Afghanistan and its unimaginable poverty as the
fourth poorest country on the UN Human Development Index.
- The failure to build the country back up after driving the Taliban
out has created a ‘stateless’ situation, a governmental vacuum that
resurgent Taliban are now filling all over the country.
- In fact, the Taliban has not been weakened but is stronger than ever
and more sophisticated, largely thanks to widespread anger against U.S.
presence helping to boost recruitment and increase financial support.
- Troops cannot defeat an ideology: a RAND Corporation study last year
found that only
seven percent of terrorist organizations gave up their violent activities
as a result of military defeat.
- The mentality of “occupation” justifies the current US. military take-over
of most development and ‘state-building’ as well as humanitarian aid,
endangering neutral aid organizations and botching the job. Military
occupation cannot build a state. Development must come from the bottom
up. Desperately-needed aid should not be bartered with villagers for
“intelligence” and “cooperation.”
- The war will lead to more civilian deaths - a United Nations report
released earlier this year found the Afghan civilian death toll nearly
doubled in 2008 under U.S. and NATO presence, with the U.S. responsible
for almost half the deaths.
- All the related costs such as the ongoing health care for veterans
and interest payments on the money borrowed to pay for the war have
put the bill over $1 trillion.
- Instead of spending billions on weapons, war and drones, the U.S.
must instead focus on increased support for regional diplomacy and economic
aid, the development of local markets, the creation of job and job-assistance
programs, and rebuilding of infrastructure. It must create an overall
foreign policy based on building real security through international
cooperation and human rights. And then it must turn its attention, and
spending, back home.
Women & Afghanistan
(more on MADRE’s
- Many Afghan women say the military occupation poses a greater threat
in Afghanistan, where 87 percent are illiterate, 1,600 out of every
100,000 mothers die while giving birth or of related complications,
and 1 and 3 women experience psychological, emotional or physical abuse.
- Despite promises otherwise, U.S. military efforts have not improved
quality of life for women. In fact, that the U.S. has improved women's
live is largely a myth, a form of propaganda to boost American support
for the war. Except for some women in Kabul, life for women has remained
the same or deteriorated.
Resources and articles:
LATEST ARTICLES & RESOURCES
Codepinker Janet Weil participates in and takes notes for United
for Peace and Justice's biweekly conference calls on Afghanistan
and the resistance to the US occupation. If you would like to listen
to a call or get more information tn on the Afghanistan working
group, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
end to tragedies in Afghanistan, The Guardian, June 11, 2010
"On Monday 7 June, the Afghanistan war completed its 104th
month, becoming the longest-ever war the United States has fought.
Costs continue to rise, outpacing that of the Iraq war for the first
time last month a trend that appears likely to continue.
Victory is defined too nebulously to substantively measure. Withdrawal
timetables have repeatedly been gutted. The future looks as bleak
as ever." No end to tragedies in Afghanistan, the Guardian
Courage to Leave, NY TIMES, June 11, 2010
of the Gun: Convoy Guards in Afghanistan Face an Inquiry, NY
TIMES, June 6, 2010:
and distribute our Afghanistan: Seven Hard Questions Info Flyer,
Adapted from Teach In on War Remarks By David Swanson
Deadly Sins in Afghanistan, Teach In on War Remarks By David
Swanson, April 29, 2010
TARIQ ALI: “Obama’s Afghan-Pak Syndrome"
of Malalais,” By Cheryl Kozanitas,
Group of Legislators Opposes Increasing Troops in Afghanistan,
by Mary Susan Littlepage, Dec 3, 2009
Greenwald Discusses Afghanistan War Escalation on The Ed Show,
YouTube, December 2, 2009
Detail Detention in ‘Black Jail’ at U.S. Base, NY Times, November
Lee Still Speaks for Me! By Janet Weil, November 24, 2009
bravest woman in Afghanistan: An Interview with Malalai Joya,
Globe and Mail, November 20, 2009
Escalation of Vietnam: A Timeline, Bill Moyers, PBS, November
at Guantanamo? The Strange Death of Mohammad Saleh al Hanashi,
by Jeffrey Kaye, TruthOut,
November 20, 2009
War: Democracy Now! speaks with grassroots activists, scholars,
and journalists on the new administration’s developing policies
in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the realities on the ground.
letter to Obama from Congressional Progressive Caucus, November
Will They Get the Troops? Preparing Undeployables for the Afghan
Front, by Dahr Jamail
and Sarah Lazare, November 09, 2009
Rape and the American Way, by Chris Hedges, TruthDig.com, November
and Dying in "the New Great Game": A Letter to Members
of the US Military on Their Way to Afghanistan, by: Nick Mottern,
t r u t h o u t October 22, 2009
Reverses Ban On Afghanistan Soldier Death Photos, Huffington
Post, October 16, 2009
Afghanistan More Lethal For U.S. Soldiers Than Iraq (CHART),
October 15, 2009
40,000 Troop Hoax, Truthout, October 15, 2009
Myths on Afghanistan, Truth Digg, October 8, 2009
Begging Obama to Be Obama and Get Mad, by Chris Hedges, TruthDig.com,
September 14, 2009
What Are These People Thinking?, By Conn Hallinan, September
Afghan Ambush Shows Perils of Ill-Supplied Deployment, by Jonathan
S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers, September 13, 2009
Opposed the Resolution to Authorize Force, San Francisco Chronicle,
by Barbara Lee, September 14, 2009
War Could Cost Obama Key Supporters, by Tom Hayden, The San
Francisco Chronicle, September 14, 2009
Solomon, Institute for Public Accuracy, Exec. Dir. On C-SPAN,
“Washington Journal”, Sunday September 13
Antiwar Movement Plans an Autumn Campaign Against Policies on Afghanistan
By JAMES DAO, August 29, 2009
Press coverage of
CODEPINK's media action week
RAWA Photo Gallery: US troops massacre over 147 civilians in
Farah Afghanistan. Over 147 innocent civilians, many of them women
and children, were massacred when US war planes bombed villages
of Gerani and Gangabad in Bala Baluk district of Farah Province
on May 4, 2009. (photos of the civilian victims of the May 4 air
strike against Farah, Afghanistan)