OpEd: Americans ready for Obama to end Afghanistan war

 In Afghanistan, Alternatives to War, Peace Action West News

What did you think about President Obama’s speech last night? Read my take, which appears here today in the San Francisco Chronicle, and share your thoughts in the comments below.

The White House has been telling Americans fed up with the war that the deal signed Tuesday with the Afghan government is the light at the end of the tunnel. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is selling the same deal to NATO allies as a sign of the United States’ enduring commitment.

The reality is that the new strategic partnership agreement is not all things to all people. By the end of this summer, there still will be 68,000 troops in Afghanistan. The new agreement authorizes the U.S. military to “advise and assist” the Afghan military through at least 2024. That could translate to another 12 years of repeating our mistakes, with tens of thousands of soldiers still in harm’s way.

This means that a large majority of Americans have reason to be disappointed. According to a recent CNN poll, 77 percent of Americans want all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with 55 percent wanting them out sooner. Last month, a Pew poll found that 59 percent of swing voters want them home as soon as possible. Americans want out of a war that costs us $2 billion a week. The NATO summit coming up this month is a chance to take real steps toward that goal.

The U.S. occupation is the primary target for the Afghan insurgency, which makes an enormous military presence inherently destabilizing to the Afghan nation. Recent revelations have underscored this reality, such as the photos of soldiers posing with dead insurgents, and the accidental mass burning of Qurans. It is no surprise that Afghans are growing more resentful of the American military presence. The international community could play a constructive role in helping Afghans rebuild their country and strengthen their government. But the trust needed to build that kind of partnership between Afghans and Americans is sorely lacking. A clear and responsible plan to withdraw U.S. troops as soon as possible would be a first step in building that trust.

Withdrawing should not mean abandoning Afghanistan. The United States has a responsibility to keep its commitment to Afghans. We also have an interest. After more than 10 years of war, our futures are linked. Afghanistan’s many challenges – from the lack of public support for the Karzai government to widespread corruption – are rooted in politics. These problems require political solutions that can’t be delivered at gunpoint. Ending the occupation could provide an opening for a diplomatic and development mission that would be not only more effective, but much less deadly and costly.

At the May 20-21 summit in Chicago, NATO will address its role in Afghanistan, and could lay groundwork for making this crucial strategic shift. This week marks one year since Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan. His death, along with a diminished al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan, removed the primary justification for this war. The next few weeks will be an opportunity to set forth a clear commitment and timeline to bring the troops home.

That means now is the time to act. If you want this war to end, call your congressional representative now. The House will be taking up a defense policy bill the week before the NATO summit. Tell your elected representative to use this debate to take a stand for a serious, detailed plan to end this war.

Rebecca Griffin leads Peace Action West’s campaigns for alternatives to war. www.peaceactionwest.org

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  • kara j lincoln

    wow!, nice job Rebecca + PAW, just when i was about to write a few legislators, you just gave me another peace of the puzzle, so i’ll send them your letter + mine.

    i’ve come to the conclusion of this, those that know me, bare with my yada for we have to speak up hear;

    sadly due to our present security in place for many, as in Barack Obama, Governors, legislators, etc. + family do live in a bubble with an unreal world of guards around them.

    this is 1 thing in common with those that lack of simple survival mechanisms in place also in a bubble mode of not having what many of us are fortunate to have. especially those that add the war mode economy, in their back yard.

    the commercial fisherfolks had their engines on on 1 side of mine + the CG had theirs on on the other side, sounding, feeling just like a war zone.

    so i never have been in one, yet have had dreams, shot, etc + can give great empathy for yous right in this mess.

    i saw the Ocean Frontier – The dawn of a New Era in Ocean Sustaoinability, a movie last week with the governor of Oregon`s wife, along side Rep. Arnie Roblan speaking out in support of this film, which did have nice pieces of solution, but by far did they cover a reality perspective of our local + beyond communities. rather it was like a twilight zone giving phrase.

    rather ist lady made a few jokes, few wiggles + that was ok, their where children in the audience, but they did have a mutual simple respect for life + for each other, as Arnie spoke high of her kindness.

    my issue is our colledge students can + need to reflect with a little bit more reality + yes retain simple common respect for coming together with 1 good universal science that we can all efficinetly bring home to self- sustain as we adjust to each ecosystem/subject.

    where each take part + build working sustainable communities that build themself not just for their own back yard, rather with fuel left over to share what works, so others locally + afar can do the same.

    so Barack – advise + assist can truly interfefre in their ability to self-sustain, gain fuel + also be in an exchange offering us what works for them, as we then let it trigger us to bring home, the goodness of many natives/indigenous on this planet`s offerings. but they can’t have this equal exchange if you are over powering.

    so i’m awaiting a telephone call from the greenfire producer of the movei above, asking, why the natives + indigenous where not added more than just as in some quotes, why are they not acknowledged for having ways that we can translate + equate good science with, as they describe the Iowa farmers, that are now seeing their negative effects afar in the gulf with dead zones the nitrogen fertilizer, that was marketed as needing much, was discovered they didn’t + don’t. but i need to be clear if they still are doing monocultures which pollutes the soil to begin with, for large farms are very destructive, when our natural world requires small farms in harmony with wild biospheres with balanced genetic bio-diversity which we don’t have locally in many US communities.

    but to offset this Nitrogen excess damage they are replanting the native grasses + restoring watershed areas they originally destroyed when put in the monocultures, which natives never would do, prior to their lands being taken, which now their is abig movement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the US where over 564, as of 2010, more now tribes, are restoring the wild lands the way they once lived them for their children to experience the wild in balance as they did.

    Arnie says we need a baseline understanding before we do anything, + wants to support a marine reserve in the local areas, when yet the commercial fisherfolks are over regulated in a process, + they would interfere, plus the process has shown they want to dictate vs sit down + negotiate, + the film showed in port orford there process of the same but have worked thru it. where here they did not have good data + have not made good science working together with the locals, so they have no baseline from history of the many good sustainable fisherfolks that say we do not need them on the Oregon coast.

    others say it could be real easy, that maybe if 50 people from both sides sat down + looked each other in the eye + talked + listened, could resolve real issues, remove wasted layers of misinformation + over regulation, giving our locals that give us our food a lot more friendly smile when they come to work vs stress + make life easier with simple common sense.

    why do i bring this up, well Calum Stevenson a natural shores resource specialist at Ocean Shores, working for Oregon state Parks, tells me i cannot pick sea palms most likely after june of this year, due to no resources to show the studies needed thinking old rules could irradicate + better than old rules, they will say no picking for personal use of this species. no funds availble.

    well i than said i can’t accept that whom is making this rule, + are they open for public comment, so i’m awaitng that call to confirm again that i understand right. + no commercial harvest of any seaweed will be done on the oregon coast due to an expensive baseline study that would be required.

    ok than i said if can’t locally sustain a very good nutritous foraged process that i have done for the few years here + done it sustainably, than this is bad, because i’m penalized for another persons incorrect use. that is wrong, now we have an enforcement issue of those that harvest wrong, not in place, as well no awareness education, nor no good science that has simply respected the natives that have done this forever, not to mention us new combers + welcomed us all into the study.

    ya know like the simple good old kindness that Arnie + 1st lady showed. not what Calum stated, that it wpould be so expensive to cover all the different ecosystems along this coast in the different studies that would take place. well i ask where is the simple common sense of life when we see it, where is it enacted in our curriculum, where in our project osic we are building, we will focus this as students are welcomed to come out of the schoolroom + with the community develope/restore this simple respect.

    where 1st people with out daily support will get hands on support, not to mention once all that done + the students gain awareness in this great exchange as they feel the enegy redirected once people stop struggling, unable to see beyound into their community, due to struggling within them self. now energy starts flowing + this cannot be done in a classroom only. now all are working to change curriculum for their local community restoration. where we will focus a land/freshwater flow to sea use review before any development is done. for large developments are not doing their ecological assessmenst due to not haveing studies in many cases + interfereing in our natural workd that we as a living organism is dependent on for all life to be healthy.

    ok so Barack is your ideal of advise + assist this? how about yours Congressman Peter DeFazio or yours Senator Merkely? + on as each self-reflect??

    Barack + Michelle has showed me that they want to make changes + understand where government + market is wrong to make it right. what i ask of Barack is to show me the fine tune assessment requirement for this EX; MOU agreement locally + afar, so that we can create a sound way locally to resolve our unclarity that many have lost in fragmented science, due to their restrictions, etc.

    in US it is not easy to talk to any legislator more than a typical 3 min session or beyound a generalized response, this is wrong, + when we can”t do it yet locally in US, no way do i trust you to speak for me afar. when yet we havve good solutions with the international community coming together now.

    + add our ability to reach out to these patches of plenty sound sustaining folks locally + globally + link with the pockets still in the war mode economy, still in the layers of dysfunction, for we welcome all into a tapering transition, for some of these people + issues are in such a mness that we need thee people to help sort it out, + we can support those leaving negative effects as community locally welcomes folks with solutions of sharp sensors with perceptions that did their homework to then aid options giviening people the reality of going with in them self + make it right, make wrongs right as they become whole + again a responsible local + afar community participant.

    + get away from this shooting mode of killing those that have done wrong, meanwhile their is so much baggage intertwined amongst many simply knowing nothing else than to carry forward behaviors of trying to survive.not to mention the military involvements of US than to be on the otherside, as weapons are still traded to both sides, how bad is that.

    wwell i’m not settling for a false policy to override natures real sustaining way, i will follow nature + continue to attemtp to correct the wrong policys that are interfereing + leaving negative effects to become a positive way that works with a good science terminology that can back it + co_evolve with it.

    when now we have the resources as Barack you say let each live their destiny, where i say we can support each to rid this past baggage taken as normal, build sound networks locally for all to gain rehab so they all come to table/cloth with support + now we gather with good networking + students fill in these over due worn torn threads + build new connections along with our neuro networks that many are still deficient with.

    i’m sorry Arnie + 1st lady, yes you where kind, yes a lot of good people telling real story in the Ocean Frontier movie, but wait until you see the tallies from students with the reality of whos is doing what + why + what can be done, what will be done, even in modes if have to , instead of ecologically whoring from short sighted, people in all areas, that sadly have degrees in many cases, yet are dysfunctional in responsible roles.

    so i ask us all to take a inner review + rid your position if just another layer or rid yourself from interfereing for we all have done it, + yet did not realize but we can stop it now. + rethink, + come back into your local community, which sadly due to so many in government in high security you have totally lost perspective of what local natural community building is.

    so i ask you what right due you have to tell an ancient civilization as in the Middle East + parts in the world, Russia, that is hundreds of years older than US as 1 example, + their are many good folks that we are forunate to have that have retained good cultural common sense as they still live close to `boon with the natural world below their feet.

    we are so fortunate to have the cultural indigenous to share our ability to survive + go beyond as our students will bring us together, with good gauges as in agroecology science amongst othes created from working with the indigenous, as we combine old + new where not just degreed gets to fill a position, rather all should be required to take a test, as in a farmer, a politician, even an old legislator, etc. for life awareness now in this time.

    we suggest no more than 2 terms due to needing many of you to help figure this out. but you older folks that have been here for a long time, please step down + help these young bright minds, + many have their head in their you know what, what their ability to build new neuro networks daily along with rid their baggage as they see clearly from many of your acts, so easily with your goodness + with their hands on aiding yous to once again heal, + become self- reilant boon with your local naturall community + welocme us all to restore our communities + be fueled to come together in a very good tool that our virtual world now offers as we share what works, each step of this process.

    as in the WASH grant we worked so hard for + did not get, but we learned alot + still working it, for we refused to do as USAID/DIV asked along with Bill Gates supporting the grant, as they wanted us to target the poorest in the world without water, food, sanitation, rather our ideal is project osic, for us all to show each, how locally we produce it unknowingly. + we will show the threads so we stop.

    but until we do this, we have no right showing anyone our way, thinking we all in US are fine, no way rather we have many left behind + much disorgainization with simple survival tools ourself, as in our health care, our education where here children don’t have the resources even to come to school without being hungry at Sunset Middle school says the teacher, + it is hard to teach them. as well other schools only going 4 days a week due to funding, ect.

    oh + i can tell you many stories of people going in + out of ER vs good home support due to their doctors in western medicine not paying attention, which we will invite all to come along + do this local community walkabout with students, perhaps own child as children + parent develop the undeveloped within as we share + gain tools to build local community that responsibly lives aiding all to be local, global + beyond participants.

    i can’t accept giving aid making people dependent thinking we are doing good, as i told today the CLINTON FOUNDATION, this is wrong to negotiate with greedy pharmaceutical companies along with energy bio-techs, as Al Gore was, + maybe still is, that are in this false green moivement, then give to the locals, meanwhile they don’t sustain it themself or become over consumed with more debt, all this is wrong, + with all the good resources all give in our tapering transition each local community can do, then these good gestures gone wrong will be more efficiently addressed so all communities are economically stable yet their commons for soverighnty is protected where all hold each accountable, so no more can business whores gain from manipulating markets. rather they also will see how they can invest in modes of good investment to restore ecological soundness as genetic bio-diversity gains balance + now we link our global communities to do earth balancing acts from the human interference, as people stop polluting + networkd ways that work, with good virtual tools if choose, but not make everyone have to have them, for nothing is better than going eye to eye with our neighbors..

    well we have learned this goes beyond funding, rather it is simple respect for life + we have had it from the natives, which sadly where abused + now people are coming together to make that right. but we don’t need to do it in fragments, rather we can acknowledge as in the ex of the film. markets had bad science + over sold fertilizers that destroyed other life. large monocultures ruined the watershed natural areas + requires toxic fertilizers due to no crop rotation, destroying life in soil. the large monocultures are trading with over seas corporations that over fish, fish wrong with farmed fish that are toxic + pollution, as well being wastefull processing food that has traveled back + forth actross the planet from those that land + water grab + packaged food destroys more habitats. so this list goes on + many are struggling, being indjured as in Honduras as land/water is grabbed + government has sold out + people suffering, as well other places which La Via Campesina can show you this detail as they support local people globally, along with NYLENI, + many more.

    not to mention PAW with your real stories.

    so again thankyou all for coming together for we have solutions, but not if we stay stuck in our own back yard, we are on this planet together + deserve to have support so as for all to go figure how we can best obtain harmony locally + beyond, which what i state here is an over abundance of good positions to be filled. for we have a lot mnore work ahead of us + we can do it as music fills the air, art is lived + good science is integrated as we live it daily + co_evolve it as we keep life flowing in harmony + accept nothing less.

    any of you have bulk international school email addresses + also US representitives + global reps that don’t have local schools, then please come aboard + send us your emails for our 1 time ebook mail out so we are alll on the same page as we build this project osic together, you can go to our forum + post it on subcatagorie bulk school emails;


    I’m sorry we did not get the grant, they said i had all that was needed, for the resources could of done this a lot faster, so as to not let people over working make fragmented decisons that leave negative impact, when we can if we do this together cover everybody so as to fill int the missing detail.

    for many are just to pissed to even take part, leaving others over worked, so please rethink for many folks are living in harmony + have no guilt for they daily do their homework + make it work as they address what sustains them + makes sure no one interferes, yet are able + fueled to do an exchange so as to fill in the missing gaps giving folks another perspective to make local life work, even if it is temporary, it will get us to the next step fulfilling our desires as we gain strength to walk our path as we build it, from clear sharp sensors maintained as we share this awareness, that all can gain, bringing self to the moment, making good choices controlling only self + aiding those unable to do the same with support in place as needed until needed.

    thank you, peace is our option now if we share what works, kara j lincoln

  • Terry Ruddy

    Please forgive if I am missing something. I see ending our “occupation” and instead we will engage in diplomacy. Negotiations with whom? Exactly what will America’s commitment be? How many billions going where? How many people in country doing what? What keeps the Taliban and Haqqani network from doing what they have continually shown they are best at and using those people as targets/hostages? How much opium will we see them grow next year? I see exactly what you don’t like, but what you do like seems rather amorphous. You are fairly plain spoken but still, the occasional new-world buzz phrase only sell the crystals and pyramid crowd. I have pulled back more and more because I sense a lack of rock solid details for alternatives to what we have in place (which admittedly is pretty crappy). Thank you for your time and best wishes for the future.

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