Archive for September, 2009

Afghanistan Position Paper

September 29, 2009

Despite General Stanley McChrystal’s recent request for more troops in Afghanistan, President Obama is said to be considering a proposal to scale back Afghan efforts. Perhaps the administration is finally realizing what some Americans have known for a very long time – that the strategy to defeat al-Qaeda in the region will not succeed if we rely on military action.

For months, the RI-based East Bay Citizens for Peace (EBCP) has called on the US to cease all bombing raids and drone strikes along the Afghan border with Pakistan, which have proved counterproductive and resulted in numerous deaths of innocent civilians. They also call for a de-escalation of troop levels and a plan to withdraw all US forces from the country as soon as possible.

In EBCP’s opinion, military action is not the solution to the problems in Afghanistan. In fact, they believe it will only make things worse and lead to increases in our military budget, which is already more than $500 billion per year. Instead, they urge other ways of responding to al-Qaeda:

  • Affirm Afghanistan’s sovereignty, integrity, and the right of its people to self determination, with the responsibility of the international community as witnesses to ensure these rights.
  • Close Guantanamo Bay, Bagram and all other detention centers around the world. The illegal detention and abuse of Muslims in such facilities have only served to enflame anti-American sentiments and aid recruitment efforts by al-Qaeda.
  • Use more diplomacy instead of military force. Expand diplomatic talks to include neighboring countries and international agencies such as the United Nations.
  • Provide long-term aid directed at strengthening the economic, political and civic cultures of Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries in the region.
  • Address the real needs of the people, including health-care, clean water, education, and security.
  • Protect the legal rights and status of all peoples without regard to race, religion, nationality or creed in our diplomatic and political actions.

While the Obama administration rethinks Afghanistan, groups like East Bay Citizens for Peace must make their voices heard so the US can move beyond the wars of terror and restore its moral authority in the world. Get involved: http://www.eastbaycitizens4peace.org/.

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