The U.S. war in Afghanistan is well into its 16th year. In 2014 President Obama declared it over, but it will remain a political, financial, security, legal, and moral problem unless you actually end it.
The U.S. military now has approximately 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan , plus 6,000 other NATO troops, 1,000 mercenaries, and another 26,000 contractors (of whom about 8,000 are from the United States). That's 41,000 people engaged in a foreign occupation of a country 15 years after the accomplishment of their stated mission to overthrow the Taliban government.
During each of the past 15 years, our government in Washington has informed us that success was imminent. During each of the past 15 years, Afghanistan has continued its descent into poverty, violence, environmental degradation, and instability. The withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops would send a signal to the world, and to the people of Afghanistan, that the time has come to try a different approach, something other than more troops and weaponry.
The ambassador from the U.S.-brokered and funded Afghan Unity government has reportedly told you that maintaining U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is "as urgent as it was on Sept. 11, 2001." There's no reason to believe he won't tell you that for the next four years, even though John Kerry tells us “Afghanistan now has a well-trained armed force ...meeting the challenge posed by the Taliban and other terrorists groups.” But involvement need not take its current form.
The United States is spending $4 million an hour on planes, drones, bombs, guns, and over-priced contractors in a country that needs food and agricultural equipment, much of which could be provided by U.S. businesses. Thus far, the United States has spent an outrageous $783 billion with virtually nothing to show for it except the death of thousands of U.S. soldiers , and the death, injury and displacement of millions of Afghans. The Afghanistan War has been and will continue to be, as long as it lasts, a steady source of scandalous stories of fraud and waste. Even as an investment in the U.S. economy this war has been a bust.
But the war has had a substantial impact on our security: it has endangered us. Before Faisal Shahzad tried to blow up a car in Times Square, he had tried to join the war against the United States in Afghanistan. In numerous other incidents, terrorists targeting the United States have stated their motives as including revenge for the U.S. war in Afghanistan, along with other U.S. wars in the region. There is no reason to imagine this will change.
In addition, Afghanistan is the one nation where the United States is engaged in major warfare with a country that is a member of the International Criminal Court. That body has now announced that it is investigating possible prosecutions for U.S. crimes in Afghanistan. Over the past 15 years, we have been treated to an almost routine repetition of scandals: hunting children from helicopters, blowing up hospitals with drones, urinating on corpses -- all fueling anti-U.S. propaganda, all brutalizing and shaming the United States.
Ordering young American men and women into a kill-or-die mission that was accomplished 15 years ago is a lot to ask. Expecting them to believe in that mission is too much. That fact may help explain this one: the top killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is suicide. The second highest killer of American military is green on blue, or the Afghan youth who the U.S. is training are turning their weapons on their trainers! You yourself recognized this, saying: "Let's get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghans we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA."
The withdrawal of U.S. troops would also be good for the Afghan people, as the presence of foreign soldiers has been an obstacle to peace talks. The Afghans themselves have to determine their future, and will only be able to do so once there is an end to foreign intervention.
We urge you to turn the page on this catastrophic military intervention. Bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan. Cease U.S. airstrikes and instead, for a fraction of the cost, help the Afghans with food, shelter, and agricultural equipment.
SIGNED BY:Elliott Adams, Veterans For PeaceDeborah K. Andresen, Tackling Torture at the TopRita Archibald, Nonviolence TrainerJudy Bello, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the WarsMedea Benjamin, Code PinkFred BiallyBarry Binks, Veterans for Peace Ch. 87, Occupy BealeToby Blome', Code PinkAlison Bodine, Mobilization Against War and OccupationLeah Bolger, World Beyond WarJohn Calder, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Kathleen Christison, Author, Veterans for PeaceRamsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney GeneralHelena Cobban, Just World BooksDavid Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential NomineeJeff Cohen, RootsAction.orgGerry Condon,Veterans for Peace National Board of DirectorsMary Crosby, Roman Catholic Women PriestsJames Eilers, Code Pink AuxiliaryMichael Eisenscher, U.S. Labor Against the WarMelissa Crosby, Black Lives MatterNicolas J S Davies, authorMary Dean, World Beyond WarThomas Dickinson, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military MadnessJennifer DiZio, UC BerkeleyMaria Eitz, Roman Catholic Women PriestsDaniel Ellsberg, whistleblowerJodie Evans, Code PinkJoseph J. Fahey, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of PeaceRobert Fantina, World Beyond WarBill Fletcher Jr., BlackCommentator.comMargaret Flowers, Popular ResistanceGlen Ford, Black Agenda ReportBruce K. Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in SpaceJohan Galtung, Founder Trancend InterntionalLindsey German, Stop the War Coalition UKThe Rev. Dr. Diana C. Gibson, Multifaith Voices for Peace & JusticeMichael Goldstein, The 99 PercentKevin Gosztola, Shadowproof.comWill Griffin, The Peace ReportPatty Guerrero, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military Madness, Pax-SalonBishop Thomas Gumbleton, Catholic Archdiocese of DetroitAmith Gupta, student, NYU School of LawBill Habedank, Veterans For Peace Ch. 115Steve Harms, Peace Lutheran Church, Past-President Interfaith Council of Contra Costa CountyDavid Hartsough, PeaceworkersJan Hartsough, San Francisco Friends MeetingHayley Hathaway, Quaker Earthcare WitnessDud Hendrick, Veterans for PeaceAdam Hochschild, authorMatthew Hoh, former director of Afghanistan Study GroupMartha Hubert, Code Pink San FranciscoAaron Hughes, Iraq Veterans Against the WarTony Jenkins, World Beyond WarSonja Johnson, Women Against Military MadnessKathy Kelly, Voices For Creative NonviolenceGary W. King, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military MadnessJohn Kiriakou, former Central Intelligence agency officerDennis Kucinich, former Member of United States CongressPeter Kuznick, Professor of History, American UniversityBarry Ladendorf, Veterans For Peace President Board of DirectorsPaul Leuenberger, Veterans for PeaceDave Lindorff, This Can't Be HappeningDave Logsdon, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27Richard Lord, Charlottesville Center for Peace and JusticeDouglas Mackey, Global Days of ListeningJody Mackey, New Traditions Fair TradeMike Madden, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace LaureateBen Manski, Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic RevolutionStephen Matchett, AVP Trainer, San Francisco Friends MeetingSherri Maurin, Campaign Nonviolence, Associate Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Ken Mayers, Veterans for PeaceRay McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for SanityCynthia McKinney, former member of United States CongressStephen McNeil, American Friends Service CommitteeMichael T. McPhearson, Veterans For Peace Executive DirectorTom Morman, Nonviolence Coalition San JoseNick Mottern, Knowdrones.comElizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, NICMichael Nagler, Metta Center for Nonviolence Founder and PresidentCarroll Nast, Veterans for Peace Ch. 122Agneta Norberg, Swedish Peace CouncilCathe Norman, Veterans for Peace AssociateTom Norman, Veterans for Peace Ch. 60Todd E. Pierce, JA, MAJ, USA (Ret.)Gareth Porter, journalist, authorPancho Francisco Ramos-Stierle, Casa de Paz, Canticle FarmJohn C. Reiger, Veterans For PeaceDenny Riley, Veterans For Peace Chapter 69Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and legal counselMike Rufo, MusicianJudith Sandoval, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69Bill Schwab, Americans for JusticeJulie Searle, EducatorMichael Shaughnessy, educatorCindy Sheehan, peace activistEva Sivill, Casa de Paz, Canticle FarmAlice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace FoundationGar Smith, Environmentalists Against WarDavid Solnit, Global Organizer, Writer, PuppeteerNorman Solomon, RootsAction.orgMelvin Starks, Unitarian Universalist ChurchJill Stein, 2016 Green Party presidential candidateDavid Swanson, World Beyond WarShelley Tannenbaum, Quaker Earthcare WitnessBrian Terrell, Voices for Creative NonviolenceTiffany Tool, Nonviolent PeaceforceChip Tucker, Charlottesville Friends MeetingLouie J. Vitale, OFM, Pace e Bene, Nevada Desert ExperienceZohreh Whitaker, Veterans for Peace, Peace ActionPhil Wilayto, the Virginia DefenderAnn Wright, retired U.S. Army colonelKevin Zeese, Popular Resistance
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ALSO SIGNED BY:
Creating a Culture of PeaceMobilization Against War and Occupation, Vancouver CanadaPopular ResistanceVeterans For PeaceVoices for Creative NonviolenceWorld Beyond War
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