Saturday, March 14, 2009

Action Alert - Killed in Action to date 4,258

Here is an ‘Action Alert’ from Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator, United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ, A coalition of 1,400 national and local organizations)

We must lead in a new direction. For 8 long years, the antiwar movement laid the groundwork for ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and redirecting military spending. We welcome President Obama’s commitment to take our nation in a new direction. However, his course on Afghanistan must be altered now with bold and principled action, which helps address the Afghan’s real need for health care, clean water and education, instead of continuing to cripple Afghanistan with more years of war. Now, we must make the United States radically change its failed policy in Afghanistan.

This letter to the President was initiated and sent, by eight members of Congress, on Wednesday, March 11, 2009.

Dear Mr. President:
We have noted with some concern your announcement that an additional 17,000 US troops would be sent to Afghanistan. As the goals of our seven-year military involvement remain troublingly unclear, we urge you to reconsider such a military escalation.

If the intent is to leave behind a stable Afghanistan capable of governing itself, this military escalation may well be counterproductive. A recent study by the Carnegie Endowment has concluded, "The only meaningful way to halt the insurgency's momentum is to start withdrawing troops. The presence of foreign troops is the most important element d riving the resurgence of the Taliban."

The 2001 authorization to use military force in Afghanistan allowed military action "to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States." Continuing to fight a counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan does not appear to us to be in keeping with these directives and an escalation may actually harm US security.

In a tape released in 2004, Osama bin Laden stated that al Qaeda’s goal was to "bleed...America to the point of bankruptcy" in Afghanistan. He continued, "All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note . . .." We would do well to pay attention to these threats and to avoid falling into any such trap through escalation of our military presence in Afghanistan.

We are also concerned that any perceived military success in Afghanistan might create pressure to increase military activity in Pakistan. This could very well lead to dangerous destabilization in the region and would increase hostility toward the United States.

Mr. President, in reviewing the past history of Afghanistan and the nations that have failed to conquer it -- Russia spent nine years in Afghanistan and lost many billions of dollars and more than 15,000 Russian soldiers-- we urge you to reconsider the decision to send an additional 17,000 troops and to resist pressure to escalate even further.


Representative Neil Abercrombie (D-HI 1st)

Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD-6th)

Representative Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC 3rd)

Representative Steve Kagen (D-WI-8th)

Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH 10th)

Representative Ron E. Paul (R-TX 14th)

Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY-1st)

Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA 6th)

Endorsing Organizations

• Michael D. Ostrolenk, President, American Conservative Defense Alliance

Mary Ellen McNish, General Secretary American
• Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

• Robert Greenwald, President Brave New Films

• Erik Leaver, Foreign Policy In Focus

• Joe Volk, Executive Secretary, 
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)

• Tom Hayden

Phyllis Bennis
New Internationalism project, Institute for Policy Studies

• Robert Naiman, Senior Policy Analyst Just Foreign Policy

• (Rev.) James Kofski, Associate
Maryknoll Office for Global
• Concerns

Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice
• Lobby

Dave Robinson, Executive Director
Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement

• Kevin Martin, Executive Director
Peace Action

• John Leinung, Steering Committee
September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

• Leslie Cagan, National Coordinator,
United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ, A coalition of 1,400 national and local organizations)

• Michael Eisenscher, National Coordinator
U.S. Labor Against the War

• Kevin Zeese, Executive Director
Voters for Peace

• The Honorable Tom Andrews, Director
Win Without War (A coalition of 40 national organizations)

• Susan Shaer, Executive Director, 
 Women's Action for New Directions

The first step to ending the occupation in Afghanistan is to stop increasing troops!
Wondering what you can do to stop the widening of a senseless war in Afghanistan? Call President Obama and your Congressperson today, and tell them that together we must stop the military buildup and completely withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Please ask your members of Congress to urge President Obama to reconsider military escalation in Afghanistan.
You can call the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative's office. When you reach your Representative's office, ask for the Foreign Affairs Legislative Aid.

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