Peace Action West urges the President to rethink the military surge.

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Press Contact: Reva Patwardhan (o) 510-849-2272, ext. 112, (m) 510-681-7075

Oakland, CA – Today, just hours after President Obama revealed his official strategy for Afghanistan, which includes plans for 21,000 additional troops, foreign policy advocacy groups are urging the President to rethink the military surge.

President Obama’s plan calls for sending 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. These additions will augment the 17,000 troops Obama has already pledged to send by the end of the summer.

“The New York Times reported yesterday that the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban are putting their differences aside to unite in the face of the coming influx of US troops,” stated Rebecca Griffin, Political Director for Peace Action West. “A military escalation is going to unite the insurgency, and ultimately mean more American and Afghan casualties and less security. Historical data shows that policing, intelligence, and political reconciliation are far more effective at defeating terrorism than military force.”

“President Obama’s plan indicates that he understands a key principle of effective foreign policy: civilian tools are essential for US, Pakistani and Afghan security,” stated Rebecca Griffin, Political Director for Peace Action West. “However the proof will be in the funding. Peace Action West hopes to see more details in the president’s plans outlining a dramatic shift in resources from military force to civilian instruments of security, as well as a clear timeline for withdrawal for our troops.”

In an interview with 60 Minutes last week, President Obama said, “there’s got to be an exit strategy.” However details on that strategy were markedly missing from the official plan released today.

“Afghans are increasingly incensed at the civilian casualties caused by night raids and air strikes. A military escalation in Afghanistan not only fails to achieve its goal of eliminating terrorism, it undermines US security,” Ms. Griffin argued. “A recent poll, conducted by ABC, BBC and ARV German news, indicates only 18% of Afghans said they support additional US troops to Afghanistan. It’s time the Obama administration gave Afghan civilians the voice and means for determining their own future.”

Peace Action West is calling for grassroots pressure on the president and Congress to fully fund non-military solutions, and rethink the military surge here:

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