Afghanistan "strategic partnership" is bad news

afghanistan520x300

The initialing of a draft strategic partnership agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan April 22 foreshadows American military involvement stretching at least a decade beyond the Obama administration's projected 2014 withdrawal of combat troops, and perhaps indefinitely.

The reportedly sketchy agreement was concluded ahead of the NATO summit in Chicago next month. There, the U.S.-led military alliance is expected to make decisions about its support for Afghan security forces after 2014.

The pact now goes to Presidents Obama and Karzai, and to Congress and the Afghan parliament. A follow-on agreement with details about the U.S. security presence is expected within the next year.

This agreement is very bad news both in Afghanistan and here at home.

Over a decade of U.S. military involvement in the country, many thousands of civilians have been killed by U.S. and NATO forces as well as by insurgents. Masses of civilians have been uprooted from their homes, their livelihoods destroyed. The refugee children who froze to death last winter are symbolic of the situation.

U.S. soldiers have committed crimes, both known and untold, against the Afghan people.
Over 1,900 U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan, and many thousands more have been wounded. And here at home, hundreds of billions of dollars that could have helped jump-start recovery from the economic crisis and aided millions driven into poverty have been drained away to pay for the conflict.

Polls show over two-thirds of Americans think the war should end.

A fightback against the threat of perpetual military engagement in Afghanistan has been under way in Congress and beyond for years. U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., last year introduced HR 780 to limit military spending there to what's needed to bring all the troops and contractors home. The measure now has 70 co-sponsors.

A bipartisan group of 24 senators led by Max Baucus, D-Mont. and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., last month told President Obama in a letter: "It is time to bring our troops home from Afghanistan."

Last year the Senate passed, and the House of Representatives almost passed, measures requiring a plan to speed up withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

A counter-summit in Chicago, May 18-19, will let all participants in the NATO summit know we demand all U.S. and NATO troops leave Afghanistan speedily.

Now's the time to let our representatives in Congress know we support all these efforts, and to tell President Obama we want U.S. troops home from Afghanistan as soon as possible!

Photo: An Afghan street boy collects plastic bottles and other items as a firewood substitute at a garbage dump in the city of Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 21, 2012, Rahmat Gul/AP

 

Post your comment

Comments are moderated. See guidelines here.

Comments


  • A high level staff in U. S. Senator of Missouri, Claire McCaskill's organization, told a group of peace and health care activists(the present writer one of them) that traditionally, U. S. presidents are taken in a room and told that if they don't toe the line with powerful intelligence and military-industrial interests, they will meet the fate of the late John F. Kennedy(assassinated in 1966).
    He told us that our sitting president, Barack Hussein Obama, was taken in this room and told this.
    If this is true, we can understand the "smart", "realistic"and "necessary war in Afghanistan, better, the erstwhile, in many ways progressive president Obama.
    President Obama has now, through his administration, identified the far right, its political darlings of the tea-party, and the proliferating hate mongering and demagogy of the Republican Party as a whole, its "congress persons"(who would be better named)"obstruction-persons", "nullifiers" and liars who want to undo 5,000 years of civil rights progress, destroy the labor, peace and human rights movements.
    As a guiding principle, it wants to rule the world by curtailing democratic and voting rights and negotiating foreign conflicts through the same murderous threat and extortion methodology(if you will)above, only to replace shooting duly elected president's heads off, with shooting the polar caps off our planet with nuclear war extortion, for every nation state on earth,(meanwhile conducting disastrous nuclear tests, defying, forbidding every other nuclear armed nation to do what it is doing).
    This summarizes our crisis somewhat, with the informative contribution of our brilliant and on-target PW EDITORIAL BOARD, along with our legislators who are true people's leaders for democracy like Barbara Lee, Max Baucus and Jeff Merkley, and Claire Mc Caskill.
    There are two main solutions to this crisis of violence and threatened violence. They are unity and democracy executed on 6 November 2012, and the primaries and special elections leading this general election.
    God help the working people in the United States of America in this.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 04/25/2012 6:11pm (2 years ago)

  • I commend the editorial board for a clear picture of our choices as Americans and members of the human race first and foremost.

    As an associate member of Veterans for Peace chapter 34 NYC I have witnessed (peace vigil over the past 8 yrs) a remarkable change to our message for peaceful solutions to conflict.

    It has taken many lives and much destruction of peoples around the world due to U.S. imperialism to have reached this point in our history. But the time has come! We are on the verge of possibility to move towards peaceful solutions.

    Think what this could mean for the future of our children, here and around the world.

    We have a fight on our hands.... but we have the heart and minds to make the change.

    wage peace

    Posted by Gabriel Falsetta, 04/25/2012 12:13pm (2 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments