We are about to prove to the world that the United States is a delusional, demented, deranged nation state in a state of complete denial prepared to sacrifice innocent lives, our national treasury in a war we cannot win by force of arms and the genocidal deployment of super weapons. All history attests to the folly of the actions we are about to embark upon. If this nation does not rise up in resistance we are clearly walking down the path of a nation in a fool’s decline, the path of denial paved with psychotic stones fashioned by the chisel of a break-from-reality !
The press release below was issued Nov. 27 by Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition, and Sarah Sloan, National Staff Director of the ANSWER Coalition.
When President Obama tells the nation that he is expanding the war in Afghanistan, the anti-war movement will be taking to the streets in protests staged in cities and towns throughout the United States.
The U.S./NATO military intervention in Afghanistan is not a "war of necessity." It is a colonial-type war. The people of Afghanistan will resist until the foreign occupation ends. There are over 140 armed insurgent groups in Afghanistan indicating the breadth of opposition to foreign occupation.
The ANSWER Coalition and others are planning street protests in cities around the country opposing President Obama's decision to expand rather than end the war in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is like Vietnam in this respect: The politicians and generals know that victory is now impossible, but they do not want to take responsibility for a withdrawal that will be perceived as a defeat at the hands of an armed insurgency in a poor, Third World country. There is no reason that the mothers and fathers of the United States should send their children to kill or be killed in Afghanistan so that the political leaders of the country can avoid taking responsibility for a military setback.
Demonstrations are planned in cities and towns across the country to coincide with and follow President Obama's scheduled speech on Afghanistan. Actions will take place on Tuesday, December 1 and Wednesday, December 2. Click here to view a listing of events.
People from all over the country are also organizing for a National March and Rally in Washington, D.C., set for Saturday, March 20, 2010, which will to demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan and Iraq. Click here to learn more about the March 20 demonstration.
Interviews with leaders of the anti-war movement are available. Please contact Sarah Sloan at 202-904-7949 to make arrangements.
When President Obama tells the nation that he is expanding the war in Afghanistan, the anti-war movement will be taking to the streets in protests staged in cities and towns throughout the United States. Demonstrations will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 1 and Wednesday, Dec. 2.
Today, representatives of 34 antiwar organizations, including the ANSWER Coalition, delivered an open letter to President Obama strongly opposing his anticipated decision to expand the war in Afghanistan.
The letter pledges to “to build the kind of massive movement --which today represents the sentiments of a majority of the American people--that will play a key role in ending U.S. war in Afghanistan.”
The U.S./NATO military intervention in Afghanistan is not a so-called war of necessity. It is a colonial-type war. The people of Afghanistan will resist until the foreign occupation ends. The U.S. war effort is doomed. Tens of thousands more troops will be sent into the country because the Pentagon cannot figure out what else to do. The continued war and its escalation threaten the lives of untold thousands of Afghan people and U.S. soldiers.
The ANSWER Coalition is demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan as well as Iraq.
As emergency-response demonstrations are being organized across the country, momentum is building for major national events in March 2010, including the March 20 National March on Washington with joint actions in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Please see below for details.
Upcoming demonstrations against the escalation of the Afghanistan war
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Check back regularly for additional events!
The ANSWER Coalition has joined with six other national anti-war organizations and issued an appeal asking people to take immediate action in their communities against the war in Afghanistan the very day that the Obama administration announces its plans to expand the war. In some cities, actions are planned for the day following the announcement.
The following is a list of actions currently planned. Please let us know of demonstrations being organized in your area by clicking here.
Huntington Beach, CA
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 5:00 pm
Huntington Beach Pier (Main and PCH).
Contact: Marselle Sloane - 949-533-7936 - firstname.lastname@example.org and Facebook
Day of: Tuesday, Dec. 1, 7:00pm - 7:30pm
4063 Piedmont Avenue (Candlelight vigil - Meet under the clock tower at Piedmont Av and 41st St.)
Contact: Brad Newsham - email@example.com - 415-305-8294
San Francisco, CA
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 5pm
Powell and Market BART at 5th St.
Contact ANSWER in SF: 415-821-6545, firstname.lastname@example.org
Los Angeles, CA
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 5pm
Westwood Federal Building: 11000 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
Contact ANSWER in Los Angeles: 213-251-1025, email@example.com
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 5pm
Federal Building at 450 Main Street
Contact ANSWER in CT: 203-606-0319, Connecticut@answercoalition.org
New Haven, CT
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 5pm
Federal Building at 150 Court Street, New Haven
Called by: Chris Gauvreau and Stan Heller, CT United for Peace; CT Students Against War; Middle East Crisis Committee; West Hartford Citizens for Peace and Justice; Northeast Connecticut Coalition for Peace and Justice; Citizens for Global Solutions/United Nations Association; Connecticut Peace Coalition/New Haven; CT ANSWER Coalition; International Socialist Organization; Socialist Action
Contact ANSWER in CT: 203-606-0319, Connecticut@answercoalition.org
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Day of: Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 5pm
White House - Lafayette Park
Contact ANSWER in DC: 202-265-1948, firstname.lastname@example.org
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 5pm
Federal Plaza: corner of Adams and Dearborn
Contact ANSWER in Chicago: 773-463-0311, email@example.com
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2 from 5 to 7 pm
Park Street Station at Boston Commons
Called by: The Stop the Wars Coalition (STWC) and United for Justice with Peace (UJP)
Contact ANSWER in Boston: 857-334-5084, firstname.lastname@example.org
Day of: Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 6pm
Galleria Plaza: 2nd and Copper NW
Sponsored by Stop the War Machine
New Brunswick, NJ
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 5pm - 7pm
Corner of George and Albany St.
Sponsored by: Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War
Contact: Paul Sauers - email@example.com
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 5pm - 6:30pm
Corner of Central Ave. and Wolf Rd.
Sponsored by Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace, Women Against War, Veterans for Peace, Northeast Peace and Justice Action Coalition
Contact: 518-439-1968 - www.nepajac.org
Highland Falls (Orange County), NY
adjacent to the U.S. Academy at West Point
Day of: Tuesday, Dec. 1
Gather at 5:30pm
Rally at 6:30pm
March to the gates of West Point
This demonstration is a rain or shine event. Bring candles or a flashlight. It is sponsored by Orange County Democratic Alliance, Peace Action of New York State, WESPAC, World Can't Wait, the ANSWER Coalition, Peace and Social Progress Now, and the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter. Contact the Activist Newsletter, firstname.lastname@example.org, for information about possible car pools from Ulster and Dutchess counties. For information about the rally contact Bennett Weiss at (845) 569-8662, email@example.com, and Nick Mottern (914) 806-6179,firstname.lastname@example.org. For carpooling from Westchester County coordinated by WESPAC, (914) 449-6514.
New Paltz, NY
SaturDay after: Saturday, Dec. 5 from 2pm to 4pm
Main St. in front of the (Stop 'n' Shop) shopping plaza
Organized by Peace and Social Progress Now, the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter, and Mid-Hudson ANSWER
New York City, NY
Day of: Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 6pm
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 4:30pm to 6:00pm
Corner of Elm St. and Market St.
Sponsored by: World Can't Wait, NC and NC Labor against the War
Day of: Tuesday, Dec. 1, 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Intersection of Talmadge and Monroe.
Organized by: Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition
Contact: Steve Miller - email@example.com - Phone (419) 242-7317
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2 from 4:30pm to 6pm
Philadelphia City Hall, west side (15th & Market)
Contact ANSWER in Philadelphia: 267-275-8008
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 6pm
Schenley Plaza: Forbes & Bigelow in Oakland, Pittsburgh
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 5pm
Downtown Providence - Burnside Park
Called by: Rhode Island Mobilization Committee to Stop War & Occupation (RIMC)
Day of: Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 4 pm at Westlake, 4th and Pine in Seattle
SaturDay after: Saturday, Dec. 5 at 2 pm at Westlake, 4th and Pine
All actions endorsed by ANSWER Coalition, World Can't Wait, Veterans for Peace #92 and SNOW Coalition
Contact ANSWER in Seattle: 206-568-1661, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sioux Falls, SD
Saturday, Nov. 28 at 1pm
14th & Minnesota Ave.
Contact ANSWER in Sioux Falls: email@example.com
Day of: Tuesday, Dec. 1, 4:30pm - 7:00pm
Corner of Poplar and Highland
Organized by Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
Contact: Jacob Flowers at 901-517-8689 firstname.lastname@example.org
Day after: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
Corner of Poplar and Mendenhall
Organized by the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center
Contact: Jacob Flowers - 901-725-4990 - midsouthpeace.org
Day of: Tuesday, Dec. 1, 5pm to 7 pm
Federal Courthouse, 701 East Broad Street
Sponsored by World Can't Wait, Code Pink, Green Party of Virginia. Defenders for Freedom, Justice and Equality, Virginia, and Richmond Peace and Education Center are supporting the call for people to come out and demonstrate.
Contact: Rain Burroughs - 804-380-3564
See District of Columbia
British Columbia, Canada
Saturday, November 28, 2 pm
Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street at Robson, Downtown Vancouver
Peace-loving people in Vancouver, Canada will be rallying for an end to war and occupation and for the self-determination of all oppressed nations. Canada/US/NATO Out of Afghanistan! End the Occupations Now! Troops Out Now!
Called by: Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) Canada
Contact information: www.mawovancouver.org - email@example.com
Please make an urgently needed contribution today. We are raising $50,000 to get started on the March 20th National March on Washington. Please make your contribution today. We need to reserve buses, which are expensive ($1,800 from NYC, $5,000 from Chicago, etc.). We have to print 100,000 leaflets, posters and stickers. There will be other substantial expenses as March 20 draws closer.
People from all over the country are organizing to converge on Washington, D.C., to demand the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.
On Saturday, March 20, 2010, there will be a mass National March & Rally in D.C. We will march together to say “No Colonial-type Wars and Occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine!" We will march together to say "No War Against Iran!” We will march together to say “No War for Empire Anywhere!” Instead of war, we will demand funds so that every person can have a job, free and universal health care, decent schools, and affordable housing.
A day of action and outreach in Washington, D.C., will take place on Friday, March 19, preceding the Saturday march. There will be coinciding mass marches on March 20 in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Cindy Sheehan and a coalition of groups has announced a new initiative set to begin in March 2010 called Peace of the Action, an integral part of which will be a camp that will be set up beginning March 13. This camp will be a staging area for people coming to DC to take part in anti-war activities.
March 20 is the seventh anniversary of the criminal war of aggression launched by Bush and Cheney against Iraq. One million or more Iraqis have died. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops have lost their lives or been maimed, and continue to suffer a whole host of enduring problems from this terrible war.
This is the time for united action. The slogans on banners may differ, but all those who carry them should be marching shoulder to shoulder.
The initiators and endorsers of the March 20 National March on Washington (preceded by the March 19 Day of Action and Outreach in D.C.) include: the ANSWER Coalition; Muslim American Society Freedom; National Council of Arab Americans; Cynthia McKinney; Malik Rahim, co-founder of Common Ground Collective; Ramsey Clark; Cindy Sheehan; Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK; Deborah Sweet, Director, World Can’t Wait; Mike Ferner, President, Veterans for Peace; Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition; Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild; Ron Kovic, author of “Born on the 4th of July”; Juan Jose Gutierrez, Director, Latino Movement USA; Col. Ann Wright (ret.); March Forward!; Partnership for Civil Justice; Palestinian American Women Association; MANA - Muslim Alliance in North America; Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines; Alliance for Global Justice; Claudia de la Cruz, Pastor, Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas-UCC; Phil Portluck, Social Justice Ministry, Covenant Baptist Church, D.C.; Blase & Theresa Bonpane, Office of the Americas; Coalition for Peace and Democracy in Honduras; Comite Pro-Democracia en Mexico; Frente Unido de los Pueblos Americanos; Comites de Base FMLN, Los Angeles; Free Palestine Alliance; GABRIELA Network; Justice for Filipino American Veterans; KmB Pro-People Youth; Students Fight Back; Jim Lafferty, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild - LA Chapter; LEF Foundation; National Coalition to Free the Angola 3; Community Futures Collective; Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival; Companeros del Barrio; Barrio Unido for Full and Unconditional Amnesty; Michael Berg; Action Center for Justice - Charlotte, NC; Bay Area United Against War; Casa las Américas; Community Organizing Center, Columbus, Ohio; CT-SAW (Connecticut Students Against the War) ; Delaware Valley Veterans for America; Hawai'i Solidarity Committee; Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination; Texans for Peace; and many more.
Click here to become an endorser.
CALL TO ACTION
Endorsed by: A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition, United for Peace and Justice, World Can’t Wait, Veterans For Peace, National Assembly, Military Families Speak Out, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.
Any day will likely come the sickening news that President Obama has decided to escalate the war in Afghanistan.
Here in the U.S. and no doubt around the world people will react in pain, anger and sorrow, knowing what tragedy and suffering will follow.
- It will mean at a very minimum that the U.S. will occupy Afghanistan for several more years, sending home dead and wounded soldiers while killing and wounding many times more Afghani people. The suffering in Afghanistan today will grow by orders of magnitude and the U.S. will be that much less secure in direct proportion.
- As tragic as it was to see Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" crash and burn on the rocks of the Vietnam war, the stakes are much higher now. The U.S. economy today still teeters at the abyss. Escalating the Afghanistan war will not just be the ruin of desperately needed domestic programs but may very possibly destroy the entire economy.
For those reasons and many more we call upon our members and every U.S. citizen with a love of humanity in their heart to pledge to at least the following actions:
1) Within the next few days, ideally prior to any decision from President Obama, conduct any of a wide range of local activities -- from calling Members of Congress to nonviolent civil resistance and everything in between -- demonstrating our opposition to and disgust with any decision to widen the war in Afghanistan. To show unity of purpose, we suggest local “March of the Dead” to Federal Buildings, local Congressional offices and government buildings of any sort.
2) On the day immediately following an announcement to escalate the war in Afghanistan, respond again in a variety of ways. To show unity of purpose, we suggest:
a) making an appointment that day with at least one group that you're not already a member of—a church, union, civic group, etc.—to go and speak with them about the war
b) return to the streets and again conduct any of a wide range of local activities—from calling Members of Congress to nonviolent civil resistance and everything in between—and be prepared to comment to the news media about the escalation of the war.
by Ralph Lopez
Mon Nov 30, 2009 at 02:09:43 PM EST
On the eve of the most historic decision Obama will make during his presidency, whether it be one term or two, speculation runs rampant that there will be a massive escalation of US troops into Afghanistan, which will set the American foot deep into the wet concrete of this fiercely tribal society, of which eminent anthropologist Dr. Louis Dupree wrote are "almost genetically expert at guerrilla warfare after centuries of resisting all comers and fighting among themselves when no comers were available."
The mystery is the source of this perception. As even peace activists announce that there will be large, and largely impotent, demonstrations, upon the "announcement of the surge," the evidence shows that not a single administration official has hinted that this is the president's decision. In fact they have taken continual pains to deny it.
In early November, in response to reporters' questions about an all-but-certain escalation, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that anybody who says Obama has made a decision:
"doesn't have in all honesty the slightest idea what they're talking about. The president's yet to make a decision" about troop levels or other aspects of the revised U.S. strategy in Afghanistan."
The Pentagon and a continuous stream of "unnamed military officials," on the other hand, have waged a masterful campaign, which has openly angered administration officials, to leak, spin, hint at, and build the climate for, public acceptance of what 6 out of 10 Americans now do not want: an escalation.
The only real hint of administration intentions, in fact, has been Obama's curt and leaderly dismissal of the 4 options presented to him by General Stanley McChrystal last month, all of which involved more troops. The evidence given far more attention has been that of armchair commentators and pundits, whether through the anonymity of the Internet or by name on printed pages, which blithely asserts, without ever citing a link or a source from even a low-level administration official, that this is the way Obama is leaning.
"Tensions between the White House and the Pentagon over the deployment have already bubbled to the surface. Senior presidential advisers have accused generals of leaking the misinformation that Mr Obama has all but decided to dispatch more than 34,000 additional troops, in a bid to force his decision"
This weekend we even got to see mere two-star general casually preempting his boss's speech Tuesday night, on whether he will go up, down, or stand pat on Afghanistan. CENTCOM Major General Kenneth Dowd, who reports directly to David Petraeus, saw fit to all but announce, by granting a "wide-ranging" interview to the St. Petersberg Times, that there would be an escalation, and it would be massive. This follows a pattern of leaks on the part of General Stanley McChrystal of which, Professor Rick Ayers, writing for Huffington Post in "General McChrystal's War," said:
"McChrystal's recent leaks and public comments have pushed the limits of their PR strategy...In the end, the military (not the troops, mind you, but the officers and the massive military industrial complex behind them) need war and promote it."
The headline could be "Major General Announces Escalation II for Obama," but instead it is "CentCom planners study massive move of equipment to Afghanistan."
In the interview, General Dowd holds forth:
"This is probably the most complicated logistical operation we've done in our lifetime."
Dowd said landlocked Afghanistan presents greater difficulties than Iraq with its fewer routes of supply, and that CentCom is conducting an assessment of air strips in Afghanistan. Dowd said engineers will have to expand them.
"I'm a little concerned about" airfield capacity...We've got to expand and make it better."
"I'm a little concerned"? That says it all. The president out of the loop and the escalation a "done deal." The previous week, the AP floated an article quoting "anonymous," "unauthorized" military officials giving a number in the 30 thousands of more troops as the decision Obama has made:
"Administration officials said Obama has not made a final decision about the number of troops he would approve. Military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the president's plans, said they expected the total to be between 32,000 and 35,000."
It is important to remember that all this is taking place nearly a year after the first escalation, from 32,000 troops to the present 60,000, when Obama granted the generals everything they wanted and National Security Advisor General Jones warned them that if they were thinking of coming back for more after this, the president might justly have a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment
This second round of Pentagon pressure on Obama for more war began in September. That's when General Stanley McChrystal's classified report that the situation in Afghanistan was deteriorating was leaked, which put pressure on Obama to agree to McChrystal's request for more troops. During the first round, Bob Woodward reported the conversation from the meeting room in which Obama's principles, including Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, and Jones himself, met with the Pentagon brass:
[National Security Adviser General] Jones recalled how Obama had initially decided to deploy additional forces this year. "At a table much like this," Jones said..."the president's principals met and agreed to recommend 17,000 more troops for Afghanistan." The principals...made this recommendation in February during the first full month of the Obama administration. The president approved the deployments, which included Nicholson's Marines...
"[The Pentagon staff] then said, 'If you do all that, we think we can turn this around..."
Woodward reports that in the meeting room, Jones said that:
...after all those additional troops, 17,000 plus 4,000 more, if there were new requests for force now, the president would quite likely have "a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment."
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. WTF.
The fact is, given the real evidence, at this juncture Obama could say just about anything tomorrow. Despite the wildly successful national whisper campaign which is echoed even by mainstream reporters who should know better, he and his team have remained tight-lipped. He has shown his willingness and ability to take everything his generals have given him, like McChrystal's 4 options, and toss them into the trash, saying, That's not good enough. Start over. He has shown he cares not a whit for what Dick Cheney says about his "dithering."
On one side Obama has Captain Matt Hoh and, more importantly, former commander of US forces in Afghanistan General Karl Eikenberry, who is now the ambassador. Eikenberry took everyone by surprise and strenuously argued against an escalation. On the other side, there is General Stanley McChrystal. Eikenberry, the Mandarin-speaking soldier-scholar (Harvard MA, Stanford PhD) who says more troops would be a bad thing,versus the advice of McChrystal, who proclaimed publicly that if his boss does not give him what he wants, he will be endangering America.
Unlike many other wars, the stakes in Afghanistan are truly far-reaching and even apocalyptic. As many people say, the comparison to Vietnam is incorrect. This is worse. In Vietnam soldiers could operate year-round. In Afghanistan when the mountains and passes freeze, roads are impassable, and the air is too thin for helicopters to operate properly. The only ones with the run of the land are these hardy inhabitants who, Special Forces in 2001 was astonished to see, hopped from rock to rock with their rocket launchers like mountain goats and fought barefoot, sometimes even in the snow.
The consequences of a failure in Afghanistan, a failure of understanding, not a failure of arms, will be an America bloodied and bled dry once and for all, and a rising China gleefully stepping into the ashes of Central Asia, and onto the hallowed ground on which our troops fell. Obama's domestic agenda will be dead, his presidency one term, and a war will be hung around Democrats' necks by Republicans for the next 50 years as a "Democrats' war," canceling out Iraq and returning to Republicans the electoral edge.
Obama should on Tuesday night announce that we will stay in Afghanistan, but the formula will be reversed, with 90 percent of resources used for a civilian solution and 10 percent for military. That would mean an immediate timeline for withdrawal of most troops. Eikenberry last summer voiced frustration that his multi-billion dollar request for specific, targeted aid to civilians, including for jobs which would take young men out of the arms of the Taliban, was languishing in Congress, as his former soldiers bled in the valleys.
Eikenberry, or McChrystal. One or the other represents the future of American foreign policy for many years. Perhaps the fate of America itself. Imagine that President Obama has two speeches on the desk of his personal study, as he alone grapples with this decision. One is the speech they want him to make. The other is the right thing to do. He is waiting to hear from you, the people who elected him. Tell him you will back him to the hilt against the military-industrial complex.
White House: 202-456-1111 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414 202-456-1414
An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore
Monday, November 30th, 2009
Dear President Obama,
Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn't so.
It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That's the way General Washington insisted it must be. That's what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. "You're fired!," said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in' hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).
So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea -- "Let's invade Afghanistan!" Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.
There's a reason they don't call Afghanistan the "Garden State" (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan's nickname is the "Graveyard of Empires." If you don't believe it, give the British a call. I'd have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev's number though. It's + 41 22 789 1662. I'm sure he could give you an earful about the historic blunder you're about to commit.
With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the "war president." Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line -- and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.
Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn't have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.
I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush's Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.
Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you're doing it so you can "end the war") will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the great things you've said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless may be gone -- and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker than you can shout "tea bag!"
Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be Wednesday morning.
We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can't take it anymore. We can't take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of "landslide victory" don't you understand?
Don't be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the crazy Right still wouldn't be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can't change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.
The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can't be won over by abandoning the rest of us.
President Obama, it's time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, "No, we don't need health care, we don't need jobs, we don't need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, 'cause we don't need them, either."
What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that's what they'd do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.
All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam "might" be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish -- the full terror of which we scarcely know.
When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.
Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.
Tonight we still have hope.
Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son.
We're counting on you.
P.S. There's still time to have your voice heard. Call the White House at 202-456-1111 or email the President.
By Jon Taplin - November 30, 2009, 11:25AM
As the President prepares his Tuesday address to the nation and Congress prepares for hearings on the war, I sure hope everyone is reading the cogent analysis of Thomas Johnson (Naval Postgraduate School) and Chris Mason (Center for Advanced Defense Studies) entitled Refighting the Last War; Afghanistan and the Vietnam Template. Analysts have compared Afghanistan to Vietnam but often backed away from a detailed comparison. Johnson and Mason show the parallels to be absolutely spooky.
As Jeffrey Record further notes, "the fundamental political obstacle to an enduring American success in Vietnam [was] a politically illegitimate, militarily feckless, and thoroughly corrupted SouthVietnamese client regime." Substitute the word "Afghanistan" for the words "South Vietnam" in these quotations and the descriptions apply precisely to today's government in Kabul.
They also completely discredit the idea that the Afghan Army (the new "Vietnamization Strategy") is capable of defending the rural population.
The Pentagon continues to put out the (true but irrelevant) figure of 90,000 ANA soldiers "trained and equipped" since May 2002, not mentioning that perhaps 32,000 combat troops remain present for duty today. Like the ARVN, ANA recruit quality is poor, virtually all are illiterate, readiness is low even by the lenient standards imposed by pressure to show progress, and drug use is a large and growing problem. Behind the smoke and mirrors, the "official" annual desertion rate is down from a high in 2005 of 30 percent to "only" 10 percent, but the AWOL definition hides a lot of the desertion.
Ultimately they point us towards one ray of hope, the role of local tribal elders as the locus of political power.
A culturally adept policy would seek to reestablish stability in rural Afghanistan by putting it back the way it was before the Soviets invaded in 1979. This means re-empowering the village elders as contrasted with the current policy of trying to further marginalize them with local elections (and thus more local illegitimacy).
Johnson and Mason suggest that the Army deploy Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT's) made up of 80 American soldiers and 100 Afghan soldiers in each of the 200 local districts in the South and East (where the Taliban are strong) in support of the local tribal elders. They are also harshly critical of the paltry State Department efforts to aid local reconstruction.
Ultimately the "war of attrition" strategy embraced by Republican leaders and Pentagon Hawks will fail in Afghanistan, just as it failed in Vietnam. Here's hoping Obama will point us in a different direction and that Carl Levin's hearings with McCrystal can point us towards a strategy that allows the natural strength of local tribal culture to be our ally.