TWENTY-TWO REASONS FOR ENDING THE OCCUPATION OF AFGHANISTAN
By Dick Bennett
On the occasion of OMNI's February 7, 2009 Demonstration against the Invasions and Occupations of
Iraq and Afghanistan, an Appeal to President Obama to Leave Afghanistan.
We, the People, a nation of, by, and for the people—in the peace and justice movement for
nonviolence, world peace, human rights, social and economic justice, stewardship of land and species,
among many values. OMNI's numerous activities already demonstrate what can be done by resisting
individuals banding together for change. We can truly say we have the potential power for change.
Yet we are thwarted by the enormous established power exercised to control information. The
Corporate-Pentagon-Mainstream Media Complex with its influence over Congress, blunts the peace,
justice, and ecology movement. The consequences are disastrous to millions of people. To promote
the invasion of Afghanistan, President Bush and his officials invoked patriotic retribution not merely
against bin Laden's Saudi Arabian bombers but against the Afghanistan nation. Every member of
Congress except Barbara Lee, in a frenzy of revenge, voted quickly to invade Afghanistan. The public
trembled with righteous anger while its brain clamped shut, spurred on by the mainstream media
beating the drums and gongs of war!
Eight years later we are still there. Below is the case for leaving.
But before commencing let it be clear that criticism of the invasion and occupation is not intended to
diminish the sacrifice of the US soldiers who returned home physically and mentally injured and of
their families. Criticism of the brutality, illegality, impracticality, and waste of the invasion and
occupation does not detract from their physical bravery. (Further comment in Addenda.).
Note: Each item has received intense and elaborate attention in published essays and books and on the
Internet.. My intent is to suggest in short space how extensive and rational is the opposition to the US
invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Main sources are cited in text and given fully at the end.
Note 2: My newsletter on Afghanistan, like all of the OMNI special subject newsletters, is intended to
invite participation from readers, for we are together, of, BY, and for the people Building a Culture of
Peace. Together I expect we will find at least 50 good reasons for stopping the Afghanistan operation
of the permanent "War on Terror" that is generated by the permanent "War on Terror."
1. The invasion and occupation VIOLATED INTERNATIONAL LAW. That is, the U.S.A.
Congress approved and the President signed agreement to the U. N. Charter, an international
treaty, which then became U. S. law. The Charter affirms seven principles: in the third the
member nations agree to the settling of their disputes peacefully, and in the fourth they agree
not to use force or the threat of force against other nations, except in self-defense. The object
of the invasion, to inflict revenge upon the perpetrators of the 9/11 bombings of the World
Trade buildings, was a criminal matter to be pursued through normal criminal channels. The
U.S. was not attacked or threatened by attack by the government of Afghanistan. (U.N.
Charter). (See Hornberner in Notes). One member of OMNI's Steering Committee wrote the
following: "The OMNI Steering Committee agrees that war is not the answer either in
Afghanistan or anywhere on the planet. We are against warmongering when we see it and
where we see it not only in Obama but elsewhere. There are no justifications for war and no
justifiable or good wars. Feel free to individualize your signs and specify a war of your choice
on Feb 7. Blame and criticism are not the answers nor is lament and mourning. Negotiation
and diplomacy based on respect for our differences and similarities as well as international law
are the only answers in Afghanistan and elsewhere. --
2. WAR ON TERRORISM FEAR MONGERING. Nor does the so-called "war on terrorism"
justify the invasion and occupation. US leaders reflexively blame others for our own bombings,
invasions, and occupations: Others are determined to destroy us. Fear-mongering is integral to
recent US history. The communists, the drug lords, and now the terrorists are everywhere against
us, and so we must have permanent war. Let us ask ourselves why we are in conflict all around
the world. Is it because of Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden? Surely not, for they are only
symptoms of US policies, of jingoism, of desire to control energy resources, of militarism, of state
terrorism, of the National Security State. We have two wars with no exits, one with a distant
deadline and the other none. Why? Look at our foreign policies since WWII. Connect the dots
between those policies and US domestic values, urges, and fears. Confront the contradictions that
make our society dysfunctional. Not bin Laden, not the Taliban, not the "terrorists," not the over
forty countries we have invaded or intervened into illegally during the last five decades have
caused our perpetual state of war. (Blum). Then what? As so often is the case, objects of
veneration escape critical examination. In our case it is the idea—or the abuse of the idea-- of
"freedom." "Freedom" has so arrogantly deluded and entangled us globally to our disadvantage,
that we have in the name of freedom sought to dominate the world. Now we have ended in
3. The illegal occupation of Afghanistan has led to THE ILLEGAL BOMBINGS OF
PAKISTAN, despite its government's repeated protests against violations of its sovereignty
that often kill civilians and undermine its own campaign against terrorists. The US has
staged more than 30 missile strikes inside Pakistan since August 2008. "At leastd 263
people...have been killed in the strikes since last August." (Brummitt) The militants retaliate.
For example, in Dec. 2008 near Peshawar, Pakistan, they killed a guard and torched 160 US
vehicles, including 70 Humvees (costing about $100,000 each), on their way to Afghanistan
for US forces. (Khan). Imagine Mexico firing rockets into the US to kill its enemies, which
resulted in their enemies killing US police guarding equipment on the way to Mexico.
4 The invasion KILLED AND DISPLACED MANY CIVILIANS and the occupation continues
killing them, some 6000 in 2008 alone, and some four million Afghans have been displaced since
2001. We properly opposed the invasion, for we saw the human suffering coming, permitted by
the violation of civilized treaties our best have struggled to establish (from Hague IV of 1899, the
Convention Regarding the Laws and Customs of War on Land to the Geneva Convention of 1949
and its protocols protecting civilians in time of war). And we should continue to oppose the
occupation on this basis—on this basis alone is enough--of defending noncombatants, innocents,
children, the elderly, the injured and ill, and noncombatant women (Grayling). Focus on the
weddings , that Afghans love . US forces "bombed such a party in July, killing forty-seven. Then,
in November, warplanes hit another wedding party, killing around forty. A couple of weeks later
they hit an engagement party, killing three." (Gopal). On humane grounds alone the invasion
should not have occurred and the occupation should not be continuing. President Karzai has
repeatedly expressed concern over civilian deaths, and the forthcoming increase of 30,000 more
troops caused him to demand that his government should be consulted about prior US operations
and missions. (Grayling, Straziuso). Yet the Obama administration continues the Afghanistan
policies of the Bush administration, with Vice-President Biden leading the way. (Abrashi,
Wallsten) These considerations raise certain questions. . Can the US be excused from the treaties
passed by Congress and signed by the President making terror and indiscriminate death a moral
crime? We must ask further: Are there ever circumstances in which killing civilians in wartime is
not a moral crime, and do those circumstances apply to the US war against Afghanistan? Are
there ever circumstances that would justify or at least exonerate those who have done the killing
and those who planned and ordered the killing
5. BOMBERS NOT CAUGHT, OCCUPATION FAILING. The excuse given by the Bush
administration for the invasion, to punish the bombers, failed. To satisfy his own and the public's
desire for revenge, the Bush administration aggressively pushed to achieve early, highly visible
successes, without a long-term strategy in the "war on terror," except for the idea of "regime
change." Bin Laden escaped and the Pentagon was left with the occupation of the nation of
Afghanistan. (Smucker) The occupation has also failed. "Bush, Karzai Talk about Troubles in
Afghanistan: Problems Include Worsening Security, S. Korean Hostages, Resurgent Taliban."
ADG 8-6-07. "The Security Situations in Afghanistan over the past two years has definitely
deteriorated,' Karzai said." Taliban controls most regions outside Kabul, violence has worsened
every year since Bush's "victory" declaration in 2002, soldier and civilian casualties have risen
dramatically, and the country is in a "downward spiral." All despite 8 years of military
occupation by 60,000 troops, costing US taxpayers $2 billion a month, and NATO $1 billion a
month.. (Hightower). These killings and the refugees have incited violent opposition to the U.S.
throughout Afghanistan and the world.
6. WELFARE OF WOMEN NOT THE PURPOSE OF THE INVASION. After the failure to
capture bin Laden, the Bush Administration came up with another justification for the illegal
invasion and occupation—the humanitarian defense of the WOMEN and children of
Afghanistan from the brutal treatment women suffer from men. The flaws in this argument
are plentiful. For example, many women in other nations, such as Bangladesh and Ethiopia,
are beaten, sexually assaulted, or suffer compelled genital mutilation. Why have they not
been invaded? No evidence has been presented that the safety of women has improved under
the occupation, or would in Bangladesh if the US invaded that country. But a method for
protecting Afghan women is available and is within the power of the people of the U.S. It is
expressed by the U.N.'s Refugee Convention of 1951, signed by the U.S., which established
guidelines for deciding who should be offered asylum. We can and should give haven to the
Afghan victims of domestic violence who can prove serious abuse and their government is
unable or unwilling to protect them. Britain and Canada already grant such asylum.
(Kotlowitz) In 2008 Ms Chayes was living in Kandahar where she started and supervises a
co-op to help Afghanis, especially women. She says that the US/Canadian military operations
in support of the totally corrupt Afghan government are just creating more Taliban. (Moyers).
7. CHILDREN especially are victims of invasions and occupations. A study of wartime through
the voices of children in Bosnia, Israel, Rwanda, and Northern Ireland tell of atrocities they
have witnessed, the losses they have suffered, and the traumas they have experienced that will
last their lifetimes. And we learn how many have been killed: 15,000 in Bosnia, and the war
lasted only three years, compared to the eight years of the Afghanistan war. The indifference
to what is happening to the children, as the result of US rush to revenge, is reflected in the US
failure to sign the CEDAW Rights of the Child Treaty. (Raymond). A story: the scientist
Salk sought a rapid method of producing vaccine for polio. Risk was involved, but Salk
believed that speed was essential because children were dying. US leaders sought revenge
regardless of the sufferings of the children. And the killings continue, not against al Qaida,
but against Taliban and the people, the children, of Afghanistan.
8. Children especially but all Afghanis are endangered by "DEPLETED URANIUM," which as
chemical warfare is prohibited by Geneva conventions signed by the U.S. Dr. Miraki was
one of the presenters at the "Stop-DU" conference, Saturday, 19 May 2007, attended by the
Christian Peacemaker Team Depleted Uranium (DU) Delegation, who wrote this report, at
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee. He gave a scathing condemnation
of the U.S. bombing of innocent civilians in Afghanistan soon after the 9/11 attacks on the
U.S. Various reports indicate that some of the U.S. ordnance used in attempts to destroy the
Taliban and Al Quaeda consisted of DU munitions. Tons of DU, from bunker buster bombs
used on the caves in the eastern mountains and from rapid fire machine guns of A-10
Warthogs or Apache helicopters, have left the beautiful Afghan landscape littered with the
graves of whole and extended families plus a radioactive nightmare for those left alive. The
DU burns when fired from a weapon or exploded, leaving fine, radioactive waste everywhere
the wind blows, and causing increased rates of cancers, childhood leukemia and other
illnesses for the people who breathe it in. Dr. Miraki showed slides demonstrating the
dramatically increased rates of birth defects - nauseating photos of Afghan newborns with
swollen heads, red tumours where lips and eyes should be; frog-like babies with no brain;
abdominal and head organs left outside the body; babies with one eye in the middle of the
forehead; club hands and feet and more.
9. OPIUM. Instead of capturing the villainous al Qaida or bringing peace and protection to
women and children, the US invasion and occupation have reversed Taliban successful
reduction of opium. Afghanistan is now the main world source of opium. Afghanistan's
foreign minister, for example, objected to a report in the Financial Times that Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton had called Afghanistan a corrupt narco-state, but did admit the
government was not in control of Helmand, the country's largest drug-producing province.
("Rangin") In fact, much of the country is outside the control of Karzai's government. What
is the US doing to provide alternatives to Afghani farmers? The first military unit, from the
Missouri National Guard, just returned from its "pioneering mission in Afghanistan." After
seven years of occupation, this was the first effort by the military to help revive a farming
sector in order to wean farmers off the illegal crop and to wheat and other legal crops, by
building wells, enhancing soil, and improving marketing. Seven years of the occupation's
devastation too late. ("Agribusiness").
10, But the drug wealth is not distributed. There is a WIDENING GAP BETWEEN RICH AND
POOR, which has created additional desperation, providing another reason for Afghanis to
accept Taliban insurgents. And it's not only in the countryside. In the capital, Kabul,
startling contrasts of wealth abound. Hungry children beg near the mansions of the elite
enriched by foreign aid and contracts and official corruption. Hundreds of tattered men
compete at dawn for 50-cent jobs hauling construction debris. Seven years after the fall of the
Taliban, Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world, "with rates of
unemployment, illiteracy, infant mortality, and malnutrition on a par with the most
impoverished nations in sub-Saharan Africa." This winter "threatens to be Afghanistan's most
desperate in nearly two decades." (Constable). Seven years of war, minimal reconstruction
and relief, Taliban attacks on supply routes, drought, and food prices rising, the people of
Afghanistan need help. Thus the Pentagon's new report urging Obama to shift his strategy in
Afghanistan from nation, "democracy" building to "targeting Taliban and Al Qaida
sanctuaries in side Pakistan" (Burns and Jelinek).seems astonishingly disconnected from
reality, since precious little building has taken place.
11, These conditions are related. They are compounded in their harm by the FAILURE OF
MAINSTREAM MEDIA to tell the full truth about the invasion and occupation, as Ed
Herman and Marc Herold argue. Herman: "For years Herold has been documenting the
U.S. bombing of Afghanistan, and he has shown repeatedly that the Pentagon kills civilians on
a large scale, often uses new barbaric weapons in areas where civilians are numerous, and
regularly lies about it. They are using Afghanistan with especial ruthlessness and as a
weapons experimental zone, because it is far away and out of media sight, so that they can get
away with it. But the immorality involved here is staggering. If pictures like those shown here
by Herold were available to the U.S. public this murderous policy would come to a screeching
halt. But the [mainstream—DB] media protect the Pentagon. This recalls to my mind the fact
that the Pentagon only used napalm in South Vietnam during the Vietnam war, not North
Vietnam, although we were allegedly saving the south from aggression. The reason for this
was that napalming the North would have led to global publicity of this ugly method of
warfare—but in South Vietnam the US was an occupying power and had a puppet
government, as in Afghanistan, and the media here kept quiet on this matter." See below for
Herold's full essay.
12. AFGHANISTAN PART OF THE US GLOBAL PRISON GULAG. The moral and legal
black hole that is Guantanamo is not alone. The some 270 prisoners there are but the tip of the
iceberg, for the US has been and is holding thousands more prisoners around the world as
"enemy combatants" as part of the immoral black hole of the global "War on Terror"--possibly
as many as 27,000. Afghanistan is part of this global gulag, particularly at Bagram Air Base,
the center of US operations in Afghanistan. Bagram "is one of the most infamous US prisons
anywhere." Parallel to plans to continue the war in Afghanistan, there are no plans to close
Bagram, but in fact the Pentagon plans to replace the current prison with a $60 million, 40-
0acre prison because the prison is overcrowded. Leaving Afghanstan will close that and other
US prisons in that country. For extensive analysis see "Prisons Beyond Guantanamo" by Matt
Vogel, The Catholic Worker (Jan.-Feb. 2009). Jim Hightower reports (from Huffington Post)
that "about 800 cases of detainee abuse" have been reported at some 50 Army firebases. And
the CIA operates its own secret detention centers.
13. ILLUSION OF "SAFE HAVENS" ONLY IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN. WHO IS
THE ENEMY? Pres. Obama has committed us to an open-ended war ("I do not have yet a
timetable") against terrorist "safe havens" in Afghanistan and Pakistan, despite the reality that
the motive of al Qaida (opposition to US imperial over-reach) is global, wherever our 900
military bases are located, but especially in the Middle East. Also, many commentators think
"the most dangerous part of the world is Afghanistan and Pakistan" with its nuclear weapons
and growing Islamic radical ascendancy. (McFeatters). The larger matter is that al Qaeda is
not close to the several homegrown insurgencies inside and outside the Taliban. "Foreign
fighters, especially Al Qaeda, have little ideological influence on most of the insurgency, and
Afghans keep their distance from such outsiders....Al Qaeda's vision of global jihad doesn't
resonate....the major concern...is intensely local: personal safety." (Gopal). So who are we
fighting? Does our government know? "...the US military has identified at least fourteen
separate insurgent organizations in Afghanistan" and "there are as many as fifty separate
Islamist formations in neighboring Pakistan." (Dreyfuss, Gopal). We need a surge of
knowledge and negotiation.
14. ADDITIONAL TROOPS AND BILLIONS MORE DOLLARS BUT NO EXIT PLAN
CONTINUES BUSH PLAN. Obama's Bushhawk advisors (Jones, Blair, Gats, Holbrooke,
Lynn) drum for an intensified war. Many Democrats—including Rep. Jim McGovern, Sen.
Russ Feingold-- are wary about sending more troops because "they could become further
entrenched in an unwinnable war." Three more brigades will go soon, and more soon after, to
double US combat presence to 60,000. More than 130 US personnel died in Afghanistan in
2008, compared to 82 in 2007. And all the old Bush/Pentagon slogans: more effective effort to
root out safe havens, more effective coord. with NATO, etc. And the challenges are daunting:
"The country is one of the poorest in the world. Opium production....Corruption is rampant.
Terrorist fighters move freely across the Pakistan border. European voters want their armies to
leave." And Kyrgyzstan threatens to shut down the US base there from which troops and
supplies are flown into Afghanistan. (Flaherty, Hightower) Complicating matters is that the
insurgency is multiple and yet simple: multiple because there are "a host of insurgent groups in
addition to the Taliban"; simple because although the "factions have competing commanders
with differeing ideologies and strategies," they "agree on one essential goal: kicking out the
15. AFGHANS VERSUS US TROOPS
According to a report by Amy Goodman 2-10-09, at least a quarter of the people of Afghanistan
supports "attacks on US troops." The cause of this animosity is largely our killing of civilians
—, since 2006 a drastic increase in bombings, "tripling the number of civilians killed," and up
to 500 monthly from US cluster bombs. The bombings "have inspired a surge in the
recruitment of Afghan suicide bombers." (Hightower). Obama would curtail the indiscriminate
use of air power and advocates negotiations with the "enemy," but he also is repeating Bush's
plan to "surge" in Afghanistan. (Dreyfuss).
16. HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES UNDER US/KARZAI REGIME. Interview by Amy Goodman
2-10-09: UN official Prof. Cherif Bassiouni in 2004-05 accused US troops of torture, rape,
killings, breaking and entering and other war crimes, and was forced out of the UN by the US.
Especially indicted private contractors.
17. FAILURE TO PROVIDE ECONOMIC SOLUTION. Interv. Democracy Now 2-10-09 of
Prof. Cherif Bassiouni, former UN official in Afghanistan. After the invasion he found "very
little peace dividend or economic development." An economic solution to Afghan. Violence
was possible, but probably too late now. A military solution is hopeless. Now the Afghan
people have more to gain lby supporting Taliban. Why is Obama increasing the war?
Showing himself tough on terrorism/al Qaida. "It's a mistake."
18. WAR PROFITEERING. US spent $5 billion over 6 years on reconstruction (training police,
roads, etc.) and is spending $24 billion a year on killing and destruction, most of the money
given to private companies—DynCorp, Bearing Point, Louis Berger Group, KRB. The result
is shoddy work, misappropriated funds, and Afghan anger. For example, DynCorp was paid
nearly a billion dollars to train 30,000 Afghan police, and the effort, according to Richard
Holbrooke was "an appalling joke": incompetent and corrupt officers, Taliban resurgence, rise
in opium production. Despite this record the Bush admin. gave DynCorp $317 million to
continue the "training."
19. WARLORDS RULE. Because of 8 years of military occupation, Afghanistan is warlord state,
with political power carved up into hundreds of fiefdoms ruled by tribal leaders. There is no
legitimate national leader, not centralized state. President Hamid Karzai, handpicked by the
Bush admin. in 2001, remains a US puppet (nominated by Bush for the Nobel Peace Prize in
2002), but he has no authority outside Kabul. Afghanistan's police officers are renowned for
incompetence and venality. Its army requires years to make it a useful force, and anyway the
country lacks the money for a standing army.
20. The US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan repeats
the SOVIETS in the 1980s: Invasion and overthrow of
government, war against warlords, Taliban. "Many Afghan
watchers consider the war unwinnable and they pOint out that in
the 1980s the Soviet Union, with far more troops, had engaged
in a brutal nine-year counterinsurgency war—and lost." British
Ambassador to Afghanistan Serard Cowper-Coles warmed against
the Obama-Petraeus escalation: Sending more troops "'would
have perverse effects: it would identify us even more strongly
as an occupation force" and inspire more resistance.
21. BRUTALIZATION OF US SOLDIERS AND CITIZENS. Boudreau,
Tyler. Packing Inferno: The Unmaking of a Marine. See his
article "To Kill or Not to Kill," The Progressive (Feb. 2009),
30-32. "To master one's reluctance to take life, one must stop
revering life so much, particularly that of an enemy. This
unseemly dimension of war...was almost universally taken for
granted within the Marine Corps." In military
desensitization training "the enemy's death is meant to be
regarded with indifference and sometimes with amusement." And
who are the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan? What about
civilians? "...on the battlefield...'objectives' always supersede
life....in our headlong pursuit to deliver freedom and democracy
and to expel an oppressive regime and combat terrorism, we had
inadvertently lost sight of the very people we'd been deployed
to help." Boudreau served 12 years in the Marine Corps
infantry. And many of the public back home are also
desensitized. Sure, they say they dislike war, but they do
nothing about the slaughters caused by one US war after
another, and devote themselves to the limitless diversions
offered by US affluence and commercialism. General Eisenhower
summed it up: "I hate war, as only a soldier who has lived it
can, as only one who has seen its brutality, the futility, the
22. CALLOUSNESS OF US LEADERS. Secretary of State Madeline
Albright, in response to the question: Was the death of a half-
million Iraqi children as the result of the Clinton/Blair
embargo and bombings during the '90s worth it? She replied:
yes. Democrat or Republican, the people who seek and win high
office feel no empathy with the innocent victims shot and
bombed by soldiers under their orders. The soldiers have been
trained to harden their hearts. But the civilian leaders?
They can feel sympathy with no victim of their bombs? They
have read nothing about the human beings of Afghanistan—by
Khaled Hosseini, for example? Their upbringing in compassion,
the religious precepts and stories, the literary vicarious
identification with the feelings and thoughts of others, did
nothing take? Did they become, as they seem, stone-like
mechanicals in pursuit of empire and "national security"?
NOTE: Twenty-Two reasons. You and I know more reasons. Will you carry on? Twenty-three?
Reinhold Niebuhr's concept of "concurrence" between national and international self-interest if
peaceful policies are to be achieved among world nations applies to Afghanistan under US
occupation. Nations satisfy their interests more easily when those interests are compatible with the
interests of others. But what are Afghanistan's interests? What do the people feel and think, want and
need? In pursuit of bin Laden the US used all elements of its national power regardless of the people of
Afghanistan. The consequences have been mass death and cruel suffering. (Alas, immediately
following the announcement by Iran of its new satellite, President Obama announced the US "will use
all elements of its national power" to protect the US from [undefined] danger.). But the Taliban is not
a monolithic, ideologically obsessed, evil gang, but diverse and changing, full of niches of opportunity
for influence and change. (Gopal.). We should ask: What are their legitimate concerns? How might
we find rapprochement? Instead, we bombed, invaded, shot, occupied, bombed. Now, tit for tat, they
shoot and bomb in endless killing, both surging to kill..
Do we have alternatives? We can end the occupation that births and nourishes enemies. We can
escalate our diplomacy, development aid, and international cooperation toward Afghanistan and the
world. We can double the number of well-trained State Department personnel and strengthen civilian
crisis prevention and response capabilities. We can create a Department of Peace. We can strengthen
the US Agency for International Development and appoint humanitarian officers to reassert civilian
control over all foreign assistance. And we can rebuild US/UN relations, pay off the US debt to the
UN, and increase support for UN prevention and peacebuilding efforts. .("The Responsibility").
These reforms would bring help to the world instead of armed threatening and invading. We can stop
painting the world with a broad, too often black, brush. We can reduce the 900 military bases abroad,
and bring these troops home too. We can stop trying to control the Middle East militarily. We can
insist on an independent Palestinian state. The suffering people of the world—and all species—need
these changes and more.
Abrashi, Fisnik. "Biden Vows Long-Term U.S. Support for Afghanistan." ADG (Jan. 11, 2009). (See
"Agribusiness Unit Returns from Afghanistan." TMN (Dec. 28, 2008).
Bacevich, Andrew. The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. Holt, 2008.
Brummitt, Chris. "Missile Strikes Leave 18 Dead in Pakistan" (AP; ADG 1-24-2009)
Burns, Robert and Pauline Jelinek. "Study: US Should Pare Goals." TMN (Feb. 4, 2009).
Constable, Pamela. "Widening Gap Between Afghanistan's Rich, Poor Stirs Discontent." ADG (Jan.
Dreyfuss, Robert. "Obama's Afghan Dilemma." The Nation (Dec. 22, 2008).
Flaherty, Anne. "War Foes Urge Caution." TMN (Feb. 9, 2009).
Gopal, Anand. "Who Are the Taliblan?" The Nation (Dec. 22, 2008).
Grayling, A.C. Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of
Civilians in Germany and Japan. Walker, 2006.
Herold, Marc. ""The Bomb Drop was reported to have Good Effects' by the U.S. Air Force: Bombing a
Village Market in Baghran, Helmand on August 2, 2007"
Hightower, Jim, ed. The Lowdown (Feb. 2009). "Team Obama's Plan for Afghanistan Is a Disaster in
Search of a Strategy."
"The War on Afghanistan Was Wrong, Too" by Jacob G. Hornberger* (click for article)
Khan, Riaz. "Militants Burn U.S., NATO Vehicles." TMN (Dec. 8, 2008).
Kotlowitz, Alex. "Asylum for the World's Battered Women." The New York Times Magazine (Feb. 11,
Lumley, Murray. CPTnet (Christian Peacekeeping Team) 29 May 2007
Johnson City, TN: "Depleted Uranium--the gift that keeps on giving" See at end for the full report.
McFeatters, Ann. "Recent News Out of Iraq [and Afghanistan] Remains Grim." TMN (2-15-09).
Miraki, Dr. Mohammed Daud, Afghanistan: After Democracy, the Untold Story Through
Photographic Images. "Congenital Deformities: the Gift That Keeps on Giving" is the title of a
chapter in the book,
Moyers' Journal Interview of Sarah Chayes (2-22-08)
Niebuhr, Reinhold. World Crisis and American Responsibility.
"Rangin Dadfar Spanta." ADG 1-18-09, 1A.
Raymond, Alan and Susan. Children in War. 2000.
"The Responsibility to Prevent." Washington Newsletter (Jan. 2009), Friends Committee on National
Smucker, Philip. Al Qaeda's Great Escape: The Military and the Media on Terror's Tail. 2004.
Straziuso, Jason. "Afghan Chief Prods U.S. on Plan for Added Forces." ADG (12-23-8).
Straziuso, Jason and Rahim Faiez. "Afghans Condemn US Raid." TMN (Jan. 26, 2009).
"USIP Afghanistan Projects Address Critical Needs," United States Institute of Peace, Peace Watch
Vogt, Heidi. (AP). "Afghans Go Hungry." TMN (Nov. 28, 2008).
Wallsten, Peter. "Biden Predicts Higher Casualties." TMN (I failed to note the date, but it was very
late Jan. or very early Feb.).
BRAVERY OF THE TROOPS AND MORALITY OF THEIR ACTIONS
But if the actions that required such courage amounted to complicity with leaders from President Bush
on down in the commission of wrongs, particularly the killing of innocents, the courage with which
they were carried out does not alter the fact that the killings were wrong. The excuse that the leader,
the "commander in chief," has absolute authority and that subordinates must unhesitatingly and
unquestioningly obey (the Fuhrerprinzip) was not acceptable even before the Nuremberg Trials. Nor
does the public popularity of the invasion and the occupation transform wrong into right. Nor the
belief by the troops that their cause was just, for that belief must be tested by law and morality, for a
war must be both just and justly fought. (Grayling).
A peace organization committed to the values I listed in the introduction must then question whether
the attack on Afghanistan—its men, women, and children—in order to apprehend a band of criminals
was in whole or in part illegal and immoral. And we must pass judgment and take a stand, or be
vulnerable to the accusation of insincerity or pusillanimity. Can the US be excused from adhering to its
own laws and the laws of nations? Does the myth of US exceptionalism permit such double standards
when judged by international law? (Perceiving ourselves as a peaceful people, we are deluded by the
conviction that our international conflicts are not of our making.) (Bacevich ). I believe the case set
forth above allows us to reply NO to these questions, and in addition supports the moral and legal
arguments with numerous other reasons why we must leave Afghanistan.
EFFECTS OF DEPLETED URANIUM, A CHEMICAL WARFARE
CPTnet (Christian Peacekeeping Team) 29 May 2007
JOHNSON CITY, TN: "Depleted Uranium--the gift that keeps on giving"
by Murray Lumley
"Congenital Deformities: the Gift That Keeps on Giving," is the title of a
chapter in Dr. Mohammed Daud Miraki's book, Afghanistan: After Democracy,
the Untold Story Through Photographic Images. [NOTE: I have not read this book, but am seeking it.
Dr. Miraki was one of the presenters at the "Stop-DU" conference, Saturday,
19 May 2007, attended by the Christian Peacemaker Team Depleted Uranium (DU)
delegation at East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee. Dr.
Miraki left Afghanistan with his family in 1982 during the Soviet
He gave a scathing condemnation of the U.S. bombing of innocent civilians in
Afghanistan soon after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. He told us that most
Afghans live in abject poverty after experiencing nearly thirty years of
war. "Afghan civilians are still dying from thousands of mines left by the
Soviet army," he said. Dr. Miraki has revisited Afghanistan several times
in a personal quest for the truth behind the U.S.'s stated goal of bringing
democracy to Afghanistan.
Various reports indicate that some of the U.S. ordnance used in attempts to
destroy the Taliban and Al Quaeda consisted of DU munitions. Tons of DU,
from bunker buster bombs used on the caves in the eastern mountains and from
rapid fire machine guns of A-10 Warthogs or Apache helicopters, have left
the beautiful Afghan landscape littered with the graves of whole and
extended families plus a radioactive nightmare for those left alive. The DU
burns when fired from a weapon or exploded, leaving fine, radioactive waste
everywhere the wind blows, and causing increased rates of cancers, childhood
leukemia and other illnesses for the people who breathe it in.
Dr. Miraki showed slides demonstrating the dramatically increased rates of
birth defects - nauseating photos of Afghan newborns with swollen heads, red
tumours where lips and eyes should be; frog-like babies with no brain;
abdominal and head organs left outside the body; babies with one eye in the
middle of the forehead; club hands and feet and more.
Dr. Miraki told us, "Tiny radioactive particles, inhaled by Afghan men and
women of child bearing age, have altered the DNA of their sperms and eggs."
Since DNA damage is inheritable, the increased incidence of birth defects
will pass on to future generations. He also said, "Since the radioactive
dust from DU has a half life of 4.5 billion years (the age of the Earth)
this means that Afghans (and others people living where DU has been used -
Iraq and the former Yugoslavia) will be suffering for an unforeseeable
U.S. and NATO veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who may have been exposed
to DU dust also return home with fear of having babies with birth defects.
Truly, the use of DU munitions is the gift of death - that keeps on giving.
As part of a civilization that would use such weapons on other people and
the Earth, I had an urge to put on sackcloth and ashes.
CODE PINK'S VALENTINE FOR AFGHANISTAN
Thank you to everyone who contacted Obama last week, asking
him to send diplomacy, not unmanned drones, to Pakistan and
Now, we want to shower the White House with valentines--
valentines that speak to both the hope in our hearts and to
our heartbreak over Obama's furthering of Bush's tragic
legacy in the Middle East by bombing Afghanistan and
Pakistan and by appointing hawkish Dennis Ross to be in
charge of diplomacy with Iran. Listen/Watch Democracy Now's
report from earlier this week titled, "Obama Continues Bush
Policy of Deadly Air Strikes in Pakistan."
It is said that the definition of insanity is to repeat the
same action but to expect a different result. President
Obama is a deeply intelligent man, but it is crazy for him
to stay on Bush's course of empire building, and all the
devastation and loss of life it leaves in its wake. Obama
promised change; well, sometimes the best way to change is
Let's send Obama hearts that say: STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE,
STOP IN THE NAME OF CHANGE. Click here to download and send
a Valentine, or create one with paper, glue and your own
crafty ingenuity and wit, and send it to the White House.
Send it this week so it gets to him by Valentine's Day--
Congressional mail is slow!
Send your Valentine today and remind Obama to keep his
promises to the American people by creating true and
lasting change, not more of the same failed policies.
As we speak from our hearts, we also need to educate our
minds. Learn more about the volatile situations in
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Gaza by visiting our PinkTank
blog, full of articles, interviews and talking points about
these complicated crises. PinkTank is updated with
insightful commentary on a regular basis--including
CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin's on-the-ground updates
from her harrowing and courageous trip to Gaza--so be sure
to read, comment, spread the stories and come back for
more. The more informed we can be, the more effective we
can be as activists.
Thank you for filling our hearts and engaging our minds
every day. You are our true Valentines!
Audrey, Dana, Deidra, Desiree, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jean,
Jodie, Liz, Lori, Medea, Nancy, Paris, and Rae
End of Afghanistan Newsletter 2-18-09