It’s been ten terrible years of war in Afghanistan. Nearly two thousand U.S. soldiers have been killed in this war. Tens of thousands of Afghans have been killed. We have spent nearly $500 Billion fighting this war. The war in Afghanistan should never have begun. The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was immoral and in clear violation of international law. We must do all that we can to end the war, now.
Thousands of Americans will be demonstrating in their hometowns this month, calling for an end to the war. I believe that these demonstrations are essential, as they help to inform others in our communities of the facts behind the war, and they further a community’s commitment to taking a stand for peace. Importantly, these local demonstrations also send a clear message to our Congressional Representatives that we want the war to end.
Many of us will also be calling, emailing, or visiting our members of Congress. The message can be simple. “End the war in Afghanistan, now.” Our U.S. Senators can be reached through http://tinyurl.com/WriteSenators. Our Representatives in the House can be reached through http://tinyurl.com/WriteReps. The phone numbers for the Capitol Hill switchboard are 202-224-3121 and toll free at 866-261-4755.
Several thousand Americans will be demonstrating in Washington, DC this October, demanding that this ten year old war in Afghanistan end, now. The October 2011 Movement (aka October2011.org) calls for the war to end and for our troops to promptly and safely return home. The Movement supports, “a true democratic, nonviolent transition to a world in which people are freed to create just and sustainable solutions.” This coalition of dozens of national and regional peace groups calls 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.”
The war in Afghanistan should be ended, simply because it is wrong. The loss of life is unconscionable. We also cannot ignore, however, the huge, unsustainable fiscal cost of this war. It is costing the American people more than one million dollars per year just to keep each U.S. soldier in Afghanistan. U.S. Labor Against the War has pointed out that for each soldier that we bring home, we can create twenty-three good, union jobs here at home.
The U.S. military budget has grown to $672 Billion per year. This is greater than that of the next fourteen nations, combined. The weapons industry clearly holds far too much influence over Congress. We need to drastically change our national priorities. The New Priorities Network offers numerous resources to help in this endeavor.
At this writing, there are more than two thousand people demonstrating in New York City, as part of the Occupy Wall Street action. Similar occupations are being held in other U.S. cities as well. The Occupy Together website provides information about these various actions. These demonstrations against corporate greed, important in their own right, are likely to generate substantial interest and enthusiasm for the upcoming demonstration in DC.
Retired Colonel Ann Wright is one of America’s most dedicated and articulate peace activists. Here, below, is a short, one-and-a-half minute video (from David Swanson), where Ann discusses the October 2011 demonstration in DC and the importance of resisting the influence of the military-industrial complex.
Readers might also find these earlier, related posts on Peace and Justice Online to be of interest: