The Town Hall Meeting in Raleigh, February 20th, brought together 150 peace advocates to send the message for a need to reorder our priorities. We need to “Bring Our War Dollars Home and Restore Our Communities.“
The keynote speaker was Matthew Hoh, a former Marine and State Dept. official who resigned his post in Afghanistan in protest of US policies. He encouraged people to advocate for hearings for Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, the recent whistle blower on Afghanistan. See the NY Times brief and a link to the full report. Also view the video interview with PBS Newshour.
Mr. Hoh also quoted the World Economic Forum, which ranks the US 52nd in the world for math and science education. Even if you believe we need a strong military, he said, “you can’t have kids steering air craft carriers who don’t know math and science”. Read more about this in The Independent article about the event.
Hear more from Matthew Hoh on Frank Stacio’s “The State of Things”, airing on WUNC radio Thursday Feb 23rd, 9:00 and 12:00.
Three North Carolina Congressmen were present, Walter Jones (Dist 3), Brad Miller (Dist 13), and David Price (Dist 4). Each presented their views on the theme to “Bring Our War Dollars Home, Restore Our Communities.”
The three US Representatives were applauded for uniting around the message to move up the timetable for withdrawal of combat troops form Afghanistan to the end of 2013. See N&O article on the event and this issue.
Along with 84 others, including NC Rep. Howard Coble, they all signed a letter to the President, stating in part:
“The United States intervened in Afghanistan to destroy al Qaeda’s safe haven, remove the Taliban government that sheltered al Qaeda, and pursue those who planned the September 11th attacks on the United States; those objectives have largely been met and no longer require a large presence of combat troops in Afghanistan.”
State Representative Paul Luebke introduced the event. He spoke about how the Triangle cannot afford a regional mass transportation system. We finally had to pass a ½ cent sales tax increase to try to develop a fund for the system. Meanwhile we send away billions of dollars a year to be used for war making. Also participating as moderator of the press conference was State Senator, Ellie Kinnaird.
Several speakers from the audience talked about the hardships they face or the people they work with are facing. In an economic downturn, with so many people without work, how can we afford to continue funding a military bigger than the next 14 countries combined? (Even if we could afford it, is it wise?)
Rev. Nancy Petty, Senior Pastor of Pullen Baptist Church, closed the event encouraging the audience to make peace not war and be foolish enough to think that we can make a difference.
We extend our gratitude to the Congressmen, Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, Rep. Paul Luebke, and Matthew Hoh for their presentations and leadership and to all who attended, participated, and helped with organizing.
Please continue to be involved through our “Cost of War” groups. We need people to write letters to the editor, call Congress, plan educational events, fund-raise, and strategize. The next step of the campaign will be called “Peace Voter”. We will send a questionnaire to all candidates about these issues. Contact Betsy Crites at (919) 381-5969.
Bring The War Dollars Home: Restore Our Communities
Town Hall Meeting
Raleigh, Legislative Buidling
February 20th, 2012
More About Matthew Hoh
Matthew Hoh is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and the former Director of the Afghanistan Study Group, a network of foreign and public policy experts and professionals advocating for a change in US strategy in Afghanistan. A former State Department official, Matthew resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan over US strategic policy and goals in Afghanistan in September 2009. Prior to his assignment in Afghanistan, Matthew served in Iraq; first in 2004-5 in Salah ad Din Province with a State Department reconstruction and governance team and then in 2006-7 in Anbar Province as a Marine Corps company commander. When not deployed, Matthew worked on Afghanistan and Iraq policy and operations issues at the Pentagon and State Department from 2002-8. Matthew’s writings have appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Defense News, the Huffington Post, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. The Council on Foreign Relations has cited Matthew’s resignation letter from his post in Afghanistan as an Essential Document. In 2010 Matthew was named the Ridenhour Prize Recipient for Truth Telling.