Posted by CODEPINK Staff
It only took 10 years, the death of 1,610 members of the US military, and countless Afghan deaths to get the rest of the US population to figure out what CODEPINK has known all along: nation-building can never happen through military occupation.
During Gates' farewell tour of Afghanistan, soldiers peppered him with questions, wondering why on earth they were still in Afghanistan.
"Sir, since the death of Osama bin Laden, has the military strategy changed at all?" a young female soldier in the 101st Airborne Division's 4th Brigade asked Gates.
It's a simple question, yet Gates didn't give a decent answer. Apparently, killing the leader of your enemy is not enough of a victory for the US military.
Despite Gates' insistence that the military draw down should be relatively insignificant, word inside the Beltway is that Obama is considering a truly substantial withdrawal. To encourage a quick end to the war and occupation in Afghanistan, we need to keep pressure on the Senate.
Huffington Post is reporting that lawmakers will press for a strong Afghanistan drawdown in the coming weeks. This is good news, but it is not enough. We must continue to explain to our mayors that supporting the US Conference of Mayors War Dollars Home Resolution is the key way they can amplify our desire to completely end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and bring the money home for vital domestic needs, like education, healthcare, and renewable/sustainable energy research.
As the NY Times reports, antiwar Republican Representative Walter B. Jones is no longer the party's pariah. We must do what we can to influence this vital decision from outside the halls of power. Yesterday, President "Obama said he would be making an announcement 'soon.'" It's time to make your voice heard: join a vigil in your local neighborhood. Or, if you're in driving distance, join me in Baltimore June 17-21 for a progressive weekend of actions outside the Mayors' Conference.
And let's not forget that the occupation of Iraq continues. As Salon reports, the US military may be leaving, but they're being replaced by an ever-expanding State Department presence. On Monday, five US soldiers were killed in Iraq. US forces are expected to leave by the end of the year, but the administration keeps sending messages that they're looking for a way to extend their stay. Let's remind the president that what America needs to be secure is an end to endless occupation. It's past time for all US military, contractors, and "nation-building" State department personnel/contractors to leave Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to be replaced by civilian-killing drone operations. But to be replaced by skillful diplomacy through the United Nations, with women's equal involvement as demanded by UN Security Council Resolution 1325.