A Letter to the President on the Escalation of War in Afghanistan

June 2010

Dear President Obama,

With millions of U.S. people feeling the fear and desperation of no longer having a home; with millions feeling the terror and loss of dignity that comes with unemployment; with millions of our children slipping further into poverty and hunger, your decision to deploy thousands more troops and throw hundreds of billions more dollars into prolonging the profoundly tragic war in Afghanistan strikes us as utter folly.  We believe this decision represents a war against ordinary people, both here in the United States and in Afghanistan.  The war in Afghanistan, if continued, will result in the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of U.S. troops, and untold thousands of Afghans.

Polls indicate that a majority of those who labored with so much hope to elect you as president now fear that you will make a wrong decision -- a tragic decision that will destroy their dreams for America.  More tragic is the price of your decision. It will be paid with the blood, suffering and broken hearts of our young troops, their loved ones and an even greater number of Afghan men, women and children.
The U.S. military claims that this war must be fought to protect U.S. national security, but we believe it is being waged to expand U.S. empire in the interests of oil and pipeline companies.

Your decision to escalate U.S. troops and continue the occupation will cause other people in other lands to despise the U.S. as a menacing military power that violates international law.  Keep in mind that to most of the peoples of the world, widening the war in Afghanistan will look exactly like what it is: the world's richest nation making war on one of the world's very poorest.

The war must be ended now.  Humanitarian aid programs should address the deep poverty that has always been a part of the life of Afghan people.

We intend to keep opposing this war in every nonviolent way possible.  We will urge elected representatives to cut all funding for war. Some of us will be led to withhold our taxes, practice civil resistance, and promote slowdowns and strikes at schools and workplaces.

In short, President Obama, we will do everything in our power, as nonviolent peace activists, to build the kind of massive movement --which today represents the sentiments of a majority of the American people--that will, we hope, play a key role in ending U.S. war in Afghanistan.  Such is the folly of your decision and such is the depth of our opposition to the death and suffering it will cause.

Medea Benjamin, Co-founder, Code Pink
Frida Berrigan, Witness Against Torture
Elaine Brower, World Can’t Wait
Marie Dennis, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns.
Matt Daloisio, War Resisters League
Pat Elder, Co-coordinator, National Network Opposing Militarization of Youth
Mike Ferner, President, Veterans for Peace
Joy First, Convener, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Sunil Freeman, ANSWER Coalition, Washington, D.C.
Jerry Gordon, Co-Coordinator, National Assembly To End Iraq and Afghanistan Wars andOccupation 
Cole Harrison, United for Peace and Justice, Co-convenor, Afghanistan Working Group
Mike Hearington, Board of Directors,Veterans for Peace
Mark C. Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Kathy Kelly, Co-Coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Malachy Kilbride, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair, World Parliament of Religion 
Michael T. McPhearson, Executive Director, Veterans for Peace
Max Obuszewski, Director, Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Pete Perry, Peace of the Action   
Dave Robinson, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA
David Swanson, After Downing Street
Carmen Trotta, Catholic Worker
Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace


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