Recently, President Obama presented his plan for troop withrawal from Afghanistan. The plan posed for 10,000 troops per year to be withdrawn until we had completely left, in additiion to 23,000 out by September 2012, leaving about 68,000 still there. The military is in disagreement with this move, calling it too agressive, as well as a political move. Others see things the other way…
But that’s not good enough. President Obama had an opportunity to pivot his policy on the war in Afghanistan — to focus on the still real threats of terrorism, rather than on failed wars of occupation with massive numbers of troops on the ground. Public opinion polls now consistently show that 50 to 60 percent of the American people want the troops to come home. Two-hundred-four members of the House, from both parties, voted in late May for the McGovern-Jones amendment — which calls for an accelerated withdrawal and a responsible exit from Afghanistan. Two members of Congress, Jim McGovern and Walter Jones, one Democrat and one Republican, were the authors of that measure and have been the real leaders of political and moral conscience on this war. Twenty-eight bipartisan senators also called for an accelerated withdrawal in a recent letter to the president. A wide array of political leaders, from both parties — including senators Carl Levin, Max Baucus, and Richard Lugar, and Republican presidential candidates Jon Huntsman, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul — are expressing reservations about the war strategy. Obama could have built on these changes in public opinion and announced a dramatic change in war policy for Afghanistan. But last night, he did not.
Jim Wallis, “The War Must Not Go On,” Sojourners
An extended stay in Afghanistan? Frankly, I’m in agreement with Wallis (are you surprised? Didn’t think so). We’ve spent almost an entire decade occupying a country that has expressed its disapproval of our presence (not to mention searched up and down for a man who was hiding in Pakistan the whole time) and whom we’ve left war torn and beaten. Another ten years in Afghanistan will do us no good, and Obama’s use of the withdrawal right around election time is downright despicable. To use young men’s lives as a campaign promise is disgusting.
For those of us who have had enough of this war, there’s going to be a gathering in DC on October 6, 2011, inspired by the mass gatherings in the Middle East, speaking up against this war. I hope to be there to support my Afghani brothers and sisters, as well as support the initiative to bring our troops home. No more war!