According to Michael Gordon in the New York Times the Obama Administration is currently considering whether to keep anywhere from under 1,000 to over 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan past the end of 2014, which is supposed to mark the end of the U.S. war in that country. (Recent speculation had centered on as many as 25,000 troops, so these numbers are substantially lower.)
I’m sure you’ll agree the number should be as low as possible, but also that the 68,000 troops currently there should come home to the warm embrace of their families and friends much sooner than two years from now. The public is solidly in favor of ending this war as soon as possible, and more in Congress are finally getting the message, but more need to hear from us!
Please contact your Congressperson in support of a bipartisan letter to the president, initiated by longtime peace champions U.S. Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC), calling for “an accelerated withdrawal to bring to an end the decade-long war as soon as can safely and responsibly be accomplished.”
Forty-five Congressmembers have already signed on. If one of them is yours, please thank them and encourage them to lobby other members to support the Lee-Jones Bipartisan Letter to President Obama Urging an Accelerated End to the War in Afghanistan. Here are the 45:
Lee, Jones, McGovern, Adam Smith, Conyers, Grijalva, Kucinich, Woolsey, Holt, Rangel, Slaughter, DeFazio, Olver, Watt, Hanabusa, Rick Larsen, Campbell, Velazquez, Serrano, Sires, Honda, Rush, Loebsack, Lujan, Tsongas, Ellison, Barney Frank, Welch, Schakowsky, Blumenauer, Chu, Quigley, Christensen, John Lewis, Chris Murphy, Mike Thompson, Sarbanes, Markey, Towns, Richardson, Cohen, Farr, Waters, Nadler.
If your Member is not on this list, please call him or her now and encourage friends, family and colleagues to do the same by utilizing the tell-a-friend function on this action alert. You can call your Member via the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Please do it now, as the deadline for Members to sign on is the end of this week.
Here is the text of the letter to President Obama:
Dear President Obama:
Your military advisors will soon be providing you with a set of military options in Afghanistan. We are writing to urge you to pursue a strategy in Afghanistan that best serves the interests of the American people and our brave troops on the ground. That strategy is simple: an accelerated withdrawal to bring to an end the decade-long war as soon as can safely and responsibly be accomplished.
After 10 years and almost $600 billion, over 2,000 American lives, and 18,000 wounded – it is time to accelerate the transition to full Afghan control. While NATO and Afghan National Security Forces have made considerable strides, no military strategy exists and morale has been undermined by the proliferation of “Green on Blue” attacks. Sixty coalition soldiers have been killed this year alone by their Afghan allies. To quote a former Commandant of the Marine Corps, “when our friends turn out to be our enemy, it is time to pull the plug.”
This is one issue that overwhelmingly unifies Americans: the desire to bring the war in Afghanistan to an accelerated close. Polls show over two-thirds of Americans, on a bipartisan basis, believe it is past time to end our combat role and bring the troops home.
We write to request that you respond to the consensus amongst military experts, diplomats, and the American people. It is time to announce an accelerated transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government and to bring our troops home as soon as can be safely and responsibly accomplished.
Al Qaeda’s presence has been greatly diminished and Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to the United States. There can be no military solution in Afghanistan. It is past time for the United States to allow the Afghanistan government to assume responsibility for its own security.
While many of us would prefer an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan starting today, there is broad recognition that the primary objectives have been completed. We also would like to remind you that any long term security agreement committing U.S. troops to the defense of Afghanistan must have congressional approval to be binding. In addition, we would like to request a meeting to discuss these issues directly with you and your staff.
We look forward to working with you.