There never was a good war or a bad peace. ~Ben Franklin
Anti-war movement in Eastern Oklahoma not satisfied with Obama's timeline for Afghanistan
CONTACT: Tulsa Peace Fellowship's Steering Cttee tel. 918 398-6506 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: June 27, 2011
*** Next Protest Event at corner Yale Ave & 41st St, in Tulsa, at 12:00 noon to 2pm, Saturday July 2nd 2011***
President's Withdrawal Plan Anemic: TPF Expected War $$ to Come Home under Obama
In response to Obama's announced troop withdrawals from the ongoing occupation of Afghanistan, the TPF Steering Committee is largely disappointed with the President's inability to bring the troops home by the end of the year. It would seem that the President is unable to rein in his gung-ho generals, or put an end to this war. After ten years of fighting, with varied justifications, none of the vaunted American military's leadership has been able to undo their blindness or see that there is no military solution in that country. Likely the presence of U.S. troops is merely aggravating domestic tensions in Afghanistan. But even worse, 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.
At least it appears that President Obama has come to realize that drawing down the troops, rather than escalating hostitilies, is part and parcel of pacifying the situation in Afghanistan. The slow pace of drawing down troops, however, means that rather than arriving home in one piece, some will come home in a box. We had hoped the President would bring the boys home sooner, rather than later.
Mark Manley, one of our TPF grassroots members, and a former candidate for office here in Tulsa, says in response to Obama's speech:
“With our original reason for entering Afghanistan dead, Obama is bringing 1/10th of our troops home by the end of the year and at the end of 2012 there will still be 67 thousand troops there. We need to bring the troops home now!”
TPF continues to insist that U.S. troops stop occupying that country, return states-side to home base, and demobilize.
However, the TPF Steering Committee is also in part gratified, because we now have what we asked for, namely, a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. forces and a commitment from the Commander-in-Chief to finally leave the country completely by 2014. This change in policy may itself save lives, as it provides a clear signal that the U.S. is not interested in occupying Afghanistan indefinitely.
The TPF Steering Committee is saddened and disturbed by the increasingly frequent civilian deaths at the hands of NATO and/or U.S. troops. After 10 years a military occupation, 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, and to help the people of Afghanistan recuperate from the U.S. occupation. In particular, funds should be made available 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.
TPF's demand for immediate de-mobilization is of a piece with many other peace-related groups across America.
Continuing Monthly Anti-war Demonstration
in Protest Against U.S. Troops in Afghanistan
Local residents and concerned citizens call for an end to the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan,
and for bringing U.S. troops home now
Come join us in protesting the continued occupation and needless unending war in Afghanistan. Exercise your First Amendment rights.
WHAT: Demonstration in opposition to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Bring your own signs – or help us fly our banner.
Theme (since Oct 2009): U.S. Out of Afghanistan Now!
WHO: Tulsa and area residents, in opposition to war, coordinated by the Tulsa Peace Fellowship
WHERE: On the sidewalk, 41st & Yale
WHEN: 12 noon to 2pm, Saturday, July 2nd 2011
Anti-war demonstrations have been held regularly in Tulsa, on a monthly basis at this street corner, in protest against the escalation of hostilities in Afghanistan, under the Obama administration, since Oct 2009. Demonstrations against Obama's escalation of hostilities in Afghanistan continue in Tulsa next month, on the first Saturday, as for every month over the past year and half. The demonstration is being organized by members of the TPF Steering Committee, on behalf of the activist wing of the peace movement in Eastern Oklahoma.
TPF can be also contacted about the planned October 6 national protest in Freedom Plaza, in Washington D.C., for those interested in joining a group of peace-minded indviduals leaving from Tulsa to attend the event at the nation's capitol this fall.
Additional points of consideration:
TPF agrees with Veterans for Rethinking Afghanistan who argue that President Obama's announced draw-down of troops from Afghanistan is a token withdrawal, completely out of step with the American people. The President's plan to bring home only 10,000 (out of the 100,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan) is unnecessarily timid.
TPF agrees with the US Conference of Mayors which passed a resolution regarding U.S. unending military engagements and bravely called for an end to the US presence in Afghanistan. We would like to see Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett endorse this resolution.
TPF agrees with Congresswoman Barbara Lee who argues that Obama's withdrawal timetable falls far short of the significant and sizeable reduction that our war-weary nation expected. She stated:
“A troop reduction of 10,000 by the end of this year is anything but significant, as it does not even get us back to pre-escalation levels. A more significant and reasonable goal would have been the swift withdrawal of 50,000 combat troops, half of the roughly 100,000 U.S. troops currently on the ground. The American people are sick and tired of this war, the longest war in U.S. history, and there is no military solution in Afghanistan.”
She delivered over 120,000 petition signatures to President Obama urging him to make the July withdrawal significant. We would like to see Tulsa Congressman Jim Sullivan work together with Lee to bring the troops home now.
TPF agrees with Derrick Crowe and Robert Greenwald from the Brave New Foundation that it is unacceptable to continue to spend around $2 billion per week on this war for the next two to three years. There is no national security issue, nor any geopolitical interest, that can justify spending that kind of money in a country whose GDP is only $1.4 billion a year.
TPF agrees with Norman Solomon and Roots Action that Obama cannot keep so many troops in Afghanistan if Congress will stand up, use its power of the purse, and refuse to pay for it. The Republican-controlled House should use the 2012 "Defense Appropriations" bill to strip the U.S. executive branch of the over $100 billion per year that Obama's various wars are costing the American taxpayer.
TPF agrees with Credo Action that this plan for withdrawal is a token gesture that signifies years more of the large-scale military occupation of Afghanistan — not a real robust effort to end the war. The President should rightly be held to account by the voters, come the 2012 election, for his inability to end the war. It is ludicrous that a President who ran on a ticket of ending war, and who even received an Nobel Prize in expectation of this end to warmongering by the U.S., will instead, at the end of his first term, be a candidate-for-President with twice as many troops in Afghanistan as when he came into office.
TPF agrees with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) that the U.S. should declare a cease fire. We are encouraged to hear that both the U.K and U.S. components of NATO forces in the country have opened up dialogue with the Taliban opposition. As part of a transition plan, the U.S. ought to abandon the unworkable plan of creating a standing army in Afghanistan. In sum, the U.S. should stop meddling; instead, it should announce its willingness to take part in a broad and transparent peace process.
TPF also agrees with the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) that the course for stability and peace will be through rapid military deescalation, broad regional reconciliation efforts and more a sustainable U.S. diplomatic presence.
TPF agrees with the American people, a majority of which (now 56%, according to latest Pew poll) says that U.S. troops should be brought home as soon as possible. The proportion favoring a quick withdrawal of U.S. forces has increased by eight points since last month (from 48%).