We need to end the Afghanistan War AND the Global War on Terror (GWOT) sooner rather than later. THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN unless the citizens of this country stand up and make the politicians do it. After ten long years we have that opportunity NOW. The stars are in alignment. If we don’t, the price tag for the next ten years could be astronomical.
The Afghanistan War started on October 6th, 2001 as part of George W. Bush’s Global War on Terror (GWOT), authorized on September 18, 2001 by the Congress and Senate with Public Law 107-40, Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), a specific statutory authorization under the War Powers Act.
The AUMF is short and sweet and the key part is right up front:
“(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
That’s why we’re in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan. They don’t want to get too greedy so for Libya it’s humanitarian reasons and for Iran it’s the WMD thing again.
The assault on Afghanistan was titled “Operation Enduring Freedom”. They got the “Enduring” part right.
At the time, President George W. Bush said, “this crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while”. We were warned.
The AUMF is still valid. There are movements to amend the AUMF or issue a new one, but indications are it wouldn’t change anything substantive other than to add “associated others” (to Al Qaeda), which would simply continue the GLOBAL War on Terror and open the gates further. If they tell us Al Qaeda is there, then they can bomb the shit out of the place and put any troops they want into that country. Pretty good deal, if you’re part of the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). And if the new language of “associated others” is authorized, then the GWOT is six degrees from Kevin Bacon.
There is no end date to the GWOT. It’s like the Cold War only there isn’t a country we can bankrupt. How the hell does that end?
They’ve never officially named the enemy. But we can now say Osama Bin Laden is dead. At this point it doesn’t matter much whether he died in 2001 or a few months ago. It doesn’t even matter that we’ve killed about 1,000 Number Twos. The “peace dividend” is kaput, the GWOT is continuing and it’s time to stop it.
President Obama announced on June 22nd his plan for withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan. The plan is 10,000 of the “surge” forces by the end of 2011 and the rest of the “surge” forces, 23,000 more, by the end of September 2012. All of the 33,000 additional U.S. forces he ordered to Afghanistan in December 2009 will be home within 15 months, just before election time. Then he promised all “combat” troops out by the end of 2014, three and an half years from now. There we go again, “combat” troops. There is no intention of getting out of Afghanistan in 2014 just as there is no intention of getting out of Iraq at the end of this year.
Notice the emphasis on “surge” forces. Like, “hey it was Bush’s fault, the war criminal I can’t and won’t prosecute, and look at me, I will have maintained the status quo after four years – 70,000 troops. That’s why I should be reelected.”
“At the same time, Obama said the Afghanistan drawdown and the simultaneous winding down of the war in Iraq would help the United States begin to refocus attention and resources on efforts to resolve economic and other problems and to unify a politically divided nation.”America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home,” the president said.
Amen to that Mr. President. Most of us have been saying that since Bush was President and many (unfortunately) of us since. But three and a half years?
That’s just not good enough.
The Afghanistan war alone is costing an estimated $10 billion dollars per month or $120 billion per year. That’s an estimate because with something this large that’s all you can do, estimate. Try running through $10 billion in a month. And it’s an official estimate so you can bet it’s lowballed and certainly doesn’t count indirect costs to Afghanistan and it’s people (not to mention Pakistan and the entire region) and long term costs to the U.S. for veteran care and other long term issues resulting from the longest war in U.S. history.
Add it up: $120 billion per year for 3 1/2 more years equals $420 billion. Assume long term costs of at least $100 billion and you have over a half trillion dollars to pay for Obama’s plan.
This while our politicians are trying to squeeze our social services and entitlement programs to pay off a debt largely accumulated because of America’s insane global military foreign policies. Think about what the states could do with over $500 billion dollars over the next three and a half years.
This also while our troops come home in droves with PTSD after serving their second, third, fourth, eighth fucking tours of duty sucking spent uranium dust through their throats and trying to believe they’re on the right side.
The ten year anniversary is coming up this October 6th (or September 11th for the GWOT). We currently have a democrat in the White House as Commander in Chief (CINC) with the possibility of a Republican taking over well before the 2014 deadline. It’s imperative we take this opportunity to pressure the President, the CINC, and the Congress and Senate, to end the Global War on Terror and the Afghanistan War before the next election.
Major protests are being organized nationally and regionally for this unfortunate ten year anniversary. A possibly very significant and unique protest is scheduled to start October 6th, 2001 in Washington D.C, organized by October2011.org.
“October 2011 is the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan and the beginning of the 2012 federal austerity budget. It is time to light the spark that sets off a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.”
“We call on people of conscience and courage—all who seek peace, economic justice, human rights and a healthy environment—to join together in Washington, D.C., beginning on Oct. 6, 2011, in nonviolent resistance similar to the Arab Spring and the Midwest awakening.”
Directly participating in the effort requires a pledge. A serious pledge. We’re talking about staying there until it’s done.
“I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine until our resources are invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning.”
Our friends across the pond are getting into the act as well. The “Stop the War Coalition” and other antiwar activists are planning a major mass antiwar assembly in Trafalgar Square, London on October 8th, 2001.
There is also an effort called “ComeHomeAmerica” formed by a bipartisan group of activists seeking a major change in U.S. military foreign policies.
“This is the time for a profound shift in foreign policy. A perfect storm has demonstrated the urgent need to reconsider militarism and promiscuous interventionism.”
They have a letter to the President at their website seeking signers.
Senators Merkley (D. OR), Paul (R. Ky.), and Udall (D. N.M.) have recently called for all combat troops to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2012.
(Note: You’re just going to have to see past that Paul name if you want to stop the wars and U.S. militarism. They ain’t going away and we can use them on this.)
And U.S. Mayors recently passed their first antiwar resolution since 1971 during the Vietnam War.
There are many ongoing efforts and many more planned. It’s bipartisan alrighty. And some of the groups involved may not suit your fancy. But that has to be put aside for this cause. The feeling is “Now is the Time”. If not now, when?
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