by Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action
On the heels of nearly all U.S. troops leaving Iraq, thanks to your pressure and others in the peace movement, troops are slowly coming out of Afghanistan. In 2012, we will continue to push to accelerate the withdrawal and ensure all foreign troops leave as soon as possible.
The NATO Summit in Chicago in May represents our first opportunity. Already, our affiliate, Chicago Area Peace Action, is organizing various grassroots events to pressure NATO to get out of Afghanistan.
We suspect that in this election year, Congress will have few if any opportunities to vote on Afghanistan policy. We will continue to pressure congress and use non-legislative methods to pressure the President.
For example, last year, we successfully organized 27 Senators on a letter asking the President for a “sizable and sustained reduction of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, beginning in July 2011.” This year, we plan a more strongly worded letter.
After last year’s letter, President Obama announced the withdrawal of 33,000 troops by this September. Along with our allies, we will continue to pressure for a quicker drawdown of troops with a definitive end date as soon as possible.
As November draws near, we will use the elections to pressure the President, lawmakers running for reelection and congressional hopefuls. We have questions about Afghanistan in our candidate questionnaire and will endorse, raise money and help elect a congress that will get the U.S. out of the country. Additionally, our affiliates will distribute tens of thousands of voter guides comparing candidates on Afghanistan and other peace issues.
There will be no rest for the weary in 2012 on the Afghanistan issue. Last year, we accomplished much and plan to do even more this year. Watch your inbox for opportunities to take action.