July 25, 2008
We are guardedly optimistic about the growing consensus for a timeline to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. But unlike Barack Obama, we don't want to see our troops removed from the "bad war" in Iraq only to be sent to fight "the good war" in Afghanistan.
One of the very first actions of CODEPINK when we formed in 2002 was to go to Afghanistan to see, firsthand, the results of our invasion. We were horrified by the "collateral damage" -- the steady stream of innocent civilians killed and maimed by our "smart bombs." We pushed our government to stop killing civilians and to compensate the families of those who we had mistakenly killed or maimed.
Seven years later, innocent Afghans continue to be killed by our troops, more US soldiers are now dying in Afghanistan than Iraq, the Taliban are gaining new strength, opium production has soared, and Osama bin Laden has not been found. The Afghan people continue to be among the poorest in the world, women continue to be oppressed, and the U.S. government reneged on its promise of a "Marshall Plan" to rebuild Afghanistan.
Barack Obama and John McCain are advocating the exact same "solution": Send more troops. But more troops will only mean more violence, more suffering, more killing of innocents, and more recruits for the Taliban.
We know that war is not the answer, but what is?Should the U.S. peace movement call for talks with the Taliban? In Iraq, the U.S. government has not just talked to Sunni insurgent groups that killed U.S. soldiers but it is now allied with them.
Back in 2006, Greg Mills, an advisor to the NATO forces in Afghanistan, wrote: "Countering an insurgency requires a mix of military pressure, institution-building, reconstruction and development, and international aid. But ultimately, the key to defeating it is political accommodation. In Afghanistan, that means talking to the Taliban."
A June 2008 report by Canada's Senate Committee on National Security, said, "The conflict in Afghanistan could go on for a very long time if there is no attempt to resolve the issue through diplomacy."
Would you advocate
a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops? How can we best support Afghan
Click here to share your thoughts with us and take our survey about the issues that are being brought to the surface by Obama's recent trip to Afghanistan. You can join the conversation by posting your comments on Common Dreams and Huffington Post. We will cull through your responses and comments and promote the consensus to the presidential candidates. Surely we can come up with a better answer than simply advocating more violence!
Thank you for your insights and your commitment to peace.
Alicia, Anne, Dana, Deidra, Desiree, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jean, Jodie, Liz, Lori, Medea, Nancy, Rae and Tighe
P.S. While Obama has been in Iraq listening to generals, we are listening to the soldiers standing up against war. James Burmeister, who suffers from PTSD and other ailments related to traumatic brain injury, was recently court-martialed for refusing to return to Iraq and speaking out against the horrors of war. He is currently serving six months in prison for his courageous stand. You can read more about his story here and send a letter of support- get the address here.
P.P.S. Our website Dontbuybushswar.org won the 2008 Progressive Source Awards Judges' Choice for Best Microsite, making this CODEPINK's second win in a row! Congratulations to Farida Sheralam, our brilliant webmistress, who continues to make our work shine. Be sure to check out her awesome new homepage redesign at www.codepinkalert.org.
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