Eight years ago on March 19, 2001, I resigned as a U.S. diplomat in opposition to Bush's war on Iraq. Eight years later, over 4,400 of our troops have been killed there, tens of thousands have been maimed, over 100,000 Iraqis have been killed and millions have been forced to flee their homes. All for a war based on lies.
Now, under Obama, the U.S. still has 50,000 U.S. military in Iraq and at least 50,000 U.S. contractors there. The Obama administration has increased our U.S. military presence in Afghanistan by 50,000 for a total of 100,000 military, plus 70,000 U.S. contractors. Add in NATO military and Afghan security, and you have 510,000 forces charged with Afghanistan's national security. The CIA says there are perhaps 50 al Qaeda and at most 15,000 Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan. The math just doesn't add up. We have spent over $3 trillion dollars that should have been spent in our local communities.
The Obama administration's drones now execute Afghan and Pakistani civilians. NGOs in Afghanistan concerned about the huge increase in civilian casualties say that civilians have "nowhere to hide" to escape the brutality of war.
Our government also continues to abuse prisoners, just as it did under the Bush Administration. Guantanamo is still open, with prisoners still subject to indefinite imprisonment without trial. And now we have the case of Bradley Manning, an American U.S. Army Private accused of leaking documents to WikiLeaks, who is being held under inhumane conditions that violate U.S. military codes and U.S. law. Where is the change Obama promised?
Faced with these forces of death, destruction and inhumanity, one thing that gives me hope is the youth in areas of conflict who are challenging injustice and demanding to live in a world of peace. Listen to the powerful words of the youth of Afghanistan and join us in supporting their pleas for peace by forwarding their letter to US leaders and to your friends. This week Senator Boxer and Congressman Kucinich submitted bills to end the war in Afghanistan and your Congressmembers need to hear from the voices of the youth.
As we commemorate yet another shameful year of a war in Iraq, a war we should have never waged, let us follow the lead of these young people who have the courage to say no to war. Stand up for Peace!
Join me in the outside the White House or you can find a rally in your area.
Ret. Col. Ann Wright
P.S. Join us in conversation with women from war zones.