ACTION ALERT: US Out of Afghanistan; No Escalation in Pakistan

November 4th, 2011 - by admin

Tom Hayden / The Peace and Justice Resource Center – 2011-11-04 00:43:57

The Next Wars To End
Tom Hayden / The Peace and Justice Resource Center

“This may definitely not be over, and it may not be over for a long time. Nine-and-a-half years later, it is most definitely not over. So, what we have to do is I think demonstrate the strategic patience that is necessary to win a long war.”
— US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker on the Long War (September 5, 2011)

(October 25, 2011) — While monitoring possible deception during the Iraq pullout, it is important for the peace movement to engage in the effort to end the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Experience shows that a vibrant anti-war movement is a necessary element in ending these wars.

Here are some steps:
First, out of Afghanistan: 33,000 US troops by next year, the rest by 2014. Demand the end of torture, and advocate peace diplomacy now. Sign and circulate this petition (See text below): Prevent Afghan Torture, Enforce Leahy Law.

Second, Pakistan, where the immediate issue is to block a further US escalation of ground troops, as well as the rising number of drone attacks. Please sign and circulate this petition: No US Escalation in Pakistan.

These petitions are useful for education, organizing and for communicating to Congress and the White House a sense that we are strongly opposed to escalation, drone killings, secret wars, and the Long War doctrine.

We should want Obama to campaign for re-election on ending these wars and transferring the savings to domestic economic priorities. We should question how Republican deficit hawks can be military big spenders. The election, already underway, is a vital battlefield for the struggle to end wars and stanch the hemorrhaging costs.

Prevent Afghan Torture, Enforce Leahy Law
Tom Hayden / Go

Background (Preamble):
A recent United Nations report suggests that the United States and NATO allies are outsourcing torture and human rights violations in Afghanistan. The report concludes that there is a continuing pattern and practice of “systematic” torture in spite of repeated efforts at reform. (UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, October 2011)

Current US policy violates the Leahy Amendment to the Foreign Appropriations Act and Defense Appropriations Act (Sec. 563, P.L. 106-429 and Sec. 8092, P.L. 106-259, 2001).

To Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Patrick Leahy:

We, the undersigned, call on you to immediately invoke the Leahy Amendment to end funding or training for units of the Afghanistan National Security Directorate, armed forces, and police engaged in torture or gross violations of human rights until all necessary corrective steps have been taken, including steps to bring those responsible to justice.

No US Escalation in Pakistan
Tom Hayden /Go

(September 27, 2011) — Background
The September 22 testimony of Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, may well “pave the way… to new unilateral military actions inside Pakistan, ” including more drone strikes and, “even cross border raids into Pakistan to root out insurgents from their havens.” (New York Times, September 22-23, 2011)

After Mullen’s testimony, the Heritage Foundation immediately called for aggressive military and diplomatic escalation. (Christian Science Monitor, September 26, 2011) House Republicans are pushing an open-ended authorization for war against any insurgents anywhere in the world “associated” with the Taliban or Al Qaeda.

Enough is enough. Escalation in Pakistan is not in the national security interest of the United States. Already our drone attacks have provoked two terrorist near misses against American civilians, one at the Detroit airport on Christmas Day 2009 and another at Times Square on May 1, 2010. It is not in the economic interest of the United States; we cannot afford another trillion-dollar war. It is not in the moral interest of the United States; the drone attacks kill innocent people and inflame millions of Pakistanis against America.

The military pursuit of terrorist sanctuaries, first in Iraq and then in Afghanistan, has left behind thousands dead and wounded and only pushed the sanctuaries to new locations. Each escalation begets another. Besides Pakistan, our government is pursuing undeclared air wars against terrorist cells with drone attacks in Somalia and Yemen. (Washington Post, September 20, 2011)

It makes no sense to escalate attacks against the Pakistan sanctuaries of the Afghan Taliban while the US ends its combat role, gradually withdraws from Afghanistan, and supports a power-sharing arrangement with all parties. It is irrational to bomb the Taliban’s sanctuaries while inviting them to the peace table. A genuine diplomatic settlement requires a phased ending of the drone attacks as US troops phase out their role in Afghanistan.

Sending in ground troops backed by air power is as foolish as President Nixon’s 1970 invasion of Cambodia allegedly to wipe out Vietcong sanctuaries.

We, the undersigned, urge President Obama to keep his June 20, 2009 promise that “we have no intention of sending United States troops into Pakistan.”

We oppose the looming threat of US cross-border raids into Pakistan, as well as the continued escalation of drone strikes. Peace cannot be won by lopsided Western military intervention, but only by negotiated compromise and regional diplomacy. As Pakistani journalist Zahid Hussain concludes, “a political settlement is the only endgame.”

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan gradually wind down, now is the time to de-escalate the US war in Pakistan and adopt a diplomatic exit strategy.

Instead, the US is on the verge of sending ground troops into Pakistan as well as escalating its aerial drone attacks.

We call for bipartisan Congressional hearings to recommend a Pakistan peace strategy to the administration.

The No US Escalation in Pakistan petition to White House, Members of Congress, Media, Committee Chairs, Peace and Justice Organizations was written by Tom Hayden and is in the category International Affairs at GoPetition.s