Afghan War: Now is Time to Exit
October 7th, 2017, marked the 16th year of the United States trying to fix Afghanistan. Help make sure we do not spend 16 more years there by contacting your representative and senators, and by supporting the work of NC Peace Action.
On September 11, 2001 our country endured the largest attack on civilians in U.S. history, destroying the World Trade Center, and part of the Pentagon. The disastrous crash of a hijacked plane in a Pennsylvania field added to the more than 3,000 innocents who lost their lives.
Within the following month, our country invaded Afghanistan. Taliban leadership, in order to prevent imminent war, offered to turn over bin Laden to a third country, where he could be tried. But President George W. Bush refused to “negotiate with terrorists”, and launched Operation Enduring Freedom on Oct. 7th, 2001. Only one brave legislator in the House of Representatives voted against this action, Rep. Barbara Lee from California.
As of August 1st, the U.S. has spent nearly $714 billion fighting in Afghanistan.
In addition to more than 2,300 of our soldiers losing their lives, CNN estimated that more than 111,500 people have been killed during this long war in Afghanistan. 31,000 civilians have been killed with over 100, 000 civilian casualties.
In the first months of 2017 a sharp increase in the deaths of women and children has occurred.
Over the years, the US has opened multiple fronts of war, and troops have been gradually withdrawn from Afghanistan, to fight those battles. During the Bush administration, Afghanistan was moved to page two, while Bush concentrated on Iraq.
Peace seeking supporters of President Barack Obama had their hopes dashed in 2009, when the new president became convinced that more troops had to be sent into Afghanistan. Within weeks, he increased troop levels to 100,000 fighters in this war-torn country. In 2011, Obama announced the upcoming U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the same year that US troops found and killed bin Laden on May 2nd.
Following in Obama’s footsteps, President Donald Trump has announced an increase in troop levels in Afghanistan, despite our history of no substantial gains. The United Nations estimates that the number of civilians who have died in the past six months because of increased violence in Afghanistan is at an eight year record high. Today the Taliban holds more ground since the U.S. ousted jihadists in early 2002, according to Bill Roggio, managing editor of “The Long War Journal.”
Why do we stay? President Trump sees Afghanistan as a haven for terrorists. But Hameed Hakimi, research associate at the London-based Chatham House Asia-Program, says the U.S. military “would tell you they don’t want all these years to have been wasted.“
When will enough years pass to justify this desire that past years not be wasted? Seems the more years the U.S. tries to prevail over the Taliban and terrorists, the more wasted years we’ll see, and the worse Afghanistan will become.
The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., told Americans 50 years ago when our nation was in the midst of the Vietnam War. “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.”
How many more years will our country continue to be “the greatest purveyor of violence?
Ask your elected leaders, “How many more years will be too many?”
The war in Afghanistan requires a political, not a military solution, and ask that they encourage diplomatic intervention before another year passes. Let them know that we are not willing to see this war continue to pass down from president to president.