Anti-war movement in Tulsa livid with Obama's escalation of hostilities in Afghanistan
(This was sent out prior to Obama's speech announcing the escalation.)
MEDIA ADVISORY FOR THE TULSA PEACE FELLOWSHIP
Nov 30th, 2009
U.S. Out of Afghanistan Now!
The Tulsa Peace Fellowship's statement of opposition to Obama's escalation in Afghanistan:
# There should be no additional troops sent to Afghanistan. Rather, U.S. troops should stop occupying that country, return States-side to home base, and then demobilize. There is no military solution in Afghanistan, as the preceding 8 years of grounds troops and aerial occupation have proven. Some of our NATO allies have already concluded that the mission in Afghanistan is futile, and they are withdrawing their troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible. The U.S. should not be the last to leave. NATO forces should be replaced with peacekeepers from Islamic countries, under the aegis of the U.N.
# There is no threat to U.S. national security in Afghanistan. None of the 9/11 attackers came from there. Al-Qaeda has all but disappeared; some reports say it’s down to a core membership of eight or ten individuals who remain in that country, individuals who could be apprehended by non-military means with the help of international policing, without the need for the continued military occupation of the country, without the need for alienating yet more Afghanis through aerial bombardment of their homes, causing untold numbers of civilians deaths. Military occupation generates resistance because it is humiliating, disruptive, arbitrary, and terrifying to civilian non-combatants, pushing some of them to turn against the U.S./NATO forces and join the insurgency.
# We demand a timeline for withdrawal of U.S./NATO forces and a declared end to the hostilities. Without an exit date, the Afghanistan escalation looks like it is designed for unending war profiteering by arms manufacturers and DoD contractors. Without an exit date, the presence of U.S./NATO troops is perceived as a provocation to the Afghanis and serves to fuel the insurgency against U.S./NATO troops. We suspect that the Pentagon's self-serving motivation in extending the hostilities is to set up a permanent base of operations in Afghanistan, as it has done in Iraq; we oppose the militarization of U.S. foreign policy, and call for the closure of U.S. military bases in the Middle East. The yearly bill for each soldier in Afghanistan is between $775,000.00 and $1,000,000 a year per U.S. Soldier, sent 7,000 miles away from any U.S. border. This outlandish expense has precious little to do with U.S. national security, nor is there any "mission" that could justify this expense in far-off Asia.
# After 8 years of meddling in Afghanistan by U.S./NATO forces, the West is no closer to understanding the nature of the conflict in Afghanistan between warring ethnic groups, nor does it have soldiers who speak the language or understand the culture, and is likely backing the wrong side in the civil war between two tribal groups of Pashtuns: on the one side the Durranis, on the other the Ghilzai. There will be no peace so long as meddling foreign powers back the Durrani in their attempt to impose their rule from Kabul over the tribal homelands of the Ghilzai.
# Civilian-led development funds should be used to help Afghanistan recuperate from the U.S. occupation of that country. After 8 years a military incompetence, it is time U.S./NATO forces gave way to a combination of peacekeeping forces and humanitarian agencies to lead the reconstruction efforts needed there. Civilian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should be ceded priority of place in further attempts to re-establish civilized standards of living for Afghanis. In particular, funds should be disbursed through non-military international organizations to help internally displaced persons (IDP), i.e. homeless Afghanis in need of being resettled, people who are forced at present to live in tent communities because of the hostilities.
# The military prison at Bagram, in Afghanistan, should be closed. Bagram Prison is as unaccountable a legal black hole as was the prison at Abu Ghraib, in Iraq, or the due-to-be-closed Guantanamo Prison, in Cuba. We call for the closure of Bagram, in addition to the immediate closure of Guantanamo. There should be an immediate moratorium on so-called 'rendition' (extra-judicial kidnapping). Both U.S. military tribunals and the U.S. Supreme Court have clearly stated that insurgents in Afghanistan or Iraq deserve the protections of the Geneva Conventions, as prisoners of war; when detained, they should be afforded all the protections available under the law.
# We have been protesting on behalf of "Healthcare not Warfare" since the beginning of Obama's presidency. Instead of making domestic issues a priority, Obama has increased Pentagon spending and increased troop deployment, as well as increased the use of paid mercenaries in Iraq, betraying the anti-war platform for which he was elected. Meanwhile, the $70 billion per year (some estimates as high as $230 billion in 2010!) that will be spent on Afghanistan is taxpayer money that could otherwise go to providing health care for uninsured and under-insured Americans.
The honeymoon is over: Time to protest Obama's warmongering.
Demonstrations nationwide have been called for by United for Peace and Justice, Just Foreign Policy, and the American Friends Service Committee.
TPF is organizing anti-war demonstrations for the first Saturday of the month, 12pm to 2pm, for the foreseeable future, at the corner of 41st & Yale, in Tulsa.
Come join us!