10 More Years in Afghanistan
Roots Action, November 26, 2013
When Barack Obama became president, there were 32,000
U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He escalated to over 100,000 troops,
plus contractors. Now there are 47,000 troops these five years later.
Measured in financial cost, or death and destruction, Afghanistan is more
President Obama's war than President Bush's. Now the White House
is trying to keep troops in Afghanistan until "2024 and beyond."
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is refusing to sign the
deal. Here is his list of concerns. He'd like the U.S. to stop killing
civilians and stop kicking in people's doors at night. He'd like
the U.S. to engage in peace negotiations. He'd like innocent Afghan
prisoners freed from Guantanamo. And he'd like the U.S. not to sabotage
the April 2014 Afghan elections. Whatever we think of Karzai's legacy
-- my own appraisal is unprintable -- these are perfectly reasonable demands.
Iran and Pakistan oppose keeping nine major U.S. military
bases in Afghanistan, some of them on the borders of their nations, until
the end of time. U.S. officials threaten war on Iran with great regularity,
the new agreement notwithstanding. U.S. missiles already hit
Pakistan in a steady stream. These two nations' concerns seem as
reasonable as Karzai's.
The U.S. public has been telling pollsters we want all
U.S. troops out of Afghanistan "as soon as possible" for years and years.
We're spending $10 million per hour making ourselves less safe and more
hated. The chief cause of death for U.S. troops in this mad operation
When the U.S. troops left Iraq, it remained a living
hell, as Libya is now too. But the disaster that Iraq is does not
approach what it was during the occupation. Much less has Iraq grown
dramatically worse post-occupation, as we were warned for years by those
advocating continued warfare.
Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan -- or to the entire world,
for that matter, including our own country -- would cost a fraction of
what we spend on wars and war preparations, and would make us the most
beloved nation on earth. I bet we'd favor that course if asked. We
were asked on Syria, and we told pollsters we favored aid, not missiles.
We stopped the missiles. Congress members in both
houses and parties said they heard from more people, more passionately,
and more one-sidedly than ever before. But we didn't stop the guns
that we opposed even more than the missiles in polls. The CIA shipped
the guns to the fighters without asking us or the Congress. And Syrians
didn't get the aid that we favored.
We aren't asked about the drone strikes. We aren't
asked about most military operations. And we aren't being asked about
Afghanistan. Nor is Congress asserting its power to decide. This
state of affairs suggests that we haven't learned our lesson from the Syrian
Missile Crisis. Fewer than one percent of us flooded Congress and
the media with our voices, and we had a tremendous impact. The lesson
we should learn is that we can do that again and again with each new war
What if two percent of us called, emailed, visited, protested,
rallied, spoke-out, educated, and non-violently resisted 10 more years
in Afghanistan? We'd have invented a new disease. They'd replace
the Vietnam Syndrome with the Afghanistan Syndrome. Politicians would
conclude that the U.S. public was just not going to stand for any more
wars. Only reluctantly would they try to sneak the next one past
Or we could sit back and keep quiet while a Nobel Peace
Prize winner drags a war he's "ending" out for another decade, establishing
that there's very little in the way of warmaking outrages that we won't
allow them to roll right over us.
This article is published by Art in Society, a non-commercial, non-profit
art journal in the public interest and in order to support freedom of information.
Original source: Roots