On Memorial Day, let’s remember that 1,985 U.S. soldiers, 1,031 other foreign troops, and tens to hundreds of thousands of Afghans have died in the futile Afghanistan war, which continues to claim lives nearly every day with no end in sight.
President Obama has promised to bring the troops home by 2014, but in reality his administration plans to leave a “residual force” estimated at 16-20,000 troops in Afghanistan for another ten years – until 2024. Meanwhile, the Republican House is pushing for legislation that seeks to slow down the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, keeping 68,000 through 2014. In good conscience, how can anyone ask the troops, to continue to risk their lives, limbs and emotional well being for this endless, futile war? Our military policy has failed.
In every year since Obama took office, the toll of dead and injured U.S. and NATO troops has increased. Similarly the number of dead and wounded Afghans has increased. The number of suicides and cases of post-traumatic stress among our troops has increased. The number of green-on-blue attacks (in which Afghans turn their weapons on their foreign “partners”) has increased. The level of corruption has increased. The size of the poppy crop and drug smuggling has increased. The number of roads on which the U.S. military must bribe local war lords to assure safe passage of supply trucks has increased. The number of attacks on Afghan public officials has increased.
If this is a definition of progress, I’d hate to see what defeat looks like!
Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, a highly respected military officer, who recently returned from Afghanistan, has written a declassified report detailing the actual state of affairs in Afghanistan. His report illustrates that talks of progress in Afghanistan are flawed and nothing like the story our soldiers have experienced on the ground. The National Intelligence Estimate, signed by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, also clearly illustrates the quagmire in Afghanistan. Read Lt. Col. Davis’ full report and watch his interview on Democracy Now.
It is Congress’ duty to provide military oversight – it is their responsibility to be well informed before funding more war.
Representative Barbara Lee has invited Lt. Col. Davis to hold a briefing on Afghanistan for members of Congress and their staff on Thursday, May 31, at 2 pm in B-318 Rayburn (Ways and Means Committee room). Click here to tell your Senators, House Representative, and staff, to attend Lt. Col. Davis’ Afghanistan briefing. It is Congress’ duty to provide oversight and to be well informed before continually funding war. Or call your members of Congress toll free at 877-429-0678 (courtesy of FCNL).
Ending war does not mean abandoning the Afghan people who have suffered so much in this almost 11 year old war. As the U.S. withdraws we must provide constructive, humanitarian assistance to independent agencies focused on making a stronger, safer and self-reliant Afghanistan.
There is no military solution in Afghanistan - 2 more years or 12 more years is not going to change that fact. On Memorial Day, let’s remember that the time for our troops to come home is now.
Also, please donate to UFPJ using the link below, so we can continue the struggle to bring them home for as long as it takes.
United for Peace & Justice