Peace groups react to Obama’s new Afghan strategy


President Obama announced Friday that the United States will send 20,000 additional troops into Afghanistan to fight Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces. 

In February, Peace Action, the nation’s largest peace and disarmament organization, bound together 19 other national groups to petition Congress to sign a letter to the president urging him to reconsider escalating forces in Afghanistan. 

“The 2001 authorization to use military force in Afghanistan allowed military action ‘to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States.’ Continuing to fight a counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan does not appear to us to be in keeping with these directives and an escalation may actually harm U.S. security,” the letter, which was signed by six Republicans and eight Democrats, reads in part.

“It’s a shame President Obama believes he can pursue the same militaristic strategy as his predecessors and produce a different result,” Kevin Martin, executive director of Peace Action, said Friday. “While President Obama has made some good statements on increasing diplomacy and economic aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the emphasis is clearly on military operations. John F. Kennedy was in a comparable situation when he was elected. He chose to escalate then as well, and the consequences of his decision left our country mired in an unwinnable war.”

On Tuesday March 31, there will be a coordinated call-in day to the White House (Call 212-456-1414).

On Saturday April 4, United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ) will march on Wall Street in New York City to call for a drastic cut in military spending and an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

“Here in the U.S., Obama’s escalation, and the continuing occupation of Iraq, threatens the president’s, and our country’s, urgent economic and domestic agenda,” Martin said. “Nothing indicates a military strategy will provide stability in Afghanistan. There is only one thing certain about the impact of this escalation: more death, destruction, and misery.”

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