Yesterday, President Obama announced his decision to send 17,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, on the grounds that ‘the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan demands urgent attention’. Peace Action strongly opposes Obama’s recent announcement and urges people to immediately call on Obama to choose diplomacy, not escalation.
More troops won’t solve our problems in Afghanistan. Click here to tell President Obama and Congress that we need a comprehensive plan for Afghanistan before risking more American and Afghan lives.
We have seen the disastrous consequences of heading into war without a plan in Iraq. We are still mourning American and Iraqi lives lost, and struggling to rehabilitate our economy while spending billions of dollars on war.
Peace Action calls for the ‘rapid withdrawal’ of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and a new commitment to a negotiated diplomatic solution involving all regional players.
The Obama Administration should:
- De-escalate troop levels in Afghanistan and to reject the idea that there is a military solution to the region’s problems;
- Immediately stop military activities that indiscriminately impact civilians such as air and drone strikes;
- Rapidly withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan;
- Commit to negotiated diplomatic talks involving all major regional players, including major international peace-keeping bodies;
- Address the real needs of Afghans, which include health-care, clean water, education, and security.
Since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Al Qaeda has increased its attacks. Last year saw the most civilian deaths in Afghanistan since the U.S. invaded, and a new poll shows that only 18% of Afghans want more U.S. troops. Bombings of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan are angering the populations in both countries and their governments, undermining the U.S.’s ability to create stability. We cannot simply intensify the Bush administration’s failed policy. Now is the time for us to press President Obama and Congress to find a better approach to Afghanistan.
General David Patreaus has called Afghanistan the “graveyard of empires.” An authoritative report released last year demonstrated that military force has historically been unsuccessful in defeating terrorism . Counterinsurgency experts have said that a military strategy would require hundreds of thousands of troops we can’t send, and even if we did there would be no guarantee of success.
We have heard a lot about why we need to shift resources to Afghanistan, but we need to hear a lot more about what kind of resources would be truly effective. There are many other pieces of this puzzle. Can you help us send this urgent message today?
Footnote: 1. According to a RAND Corporation report, since 1968, only seven percent of all terrorist groups that have ended were taken down by military force. In contrast, 40 percent of those groups were defeated through police and intelligence work, and 43 percent gave up terrorism as they were integrated into the political process. The framework of the “Global War on Terror” has set up unrealistic expectations of a military victory against non-state actors, and the apportioning of counterterrorism resources has reflected that flawed approach.
Kevin M. Martin