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Tell Your Reps to Sign On to Anti-War Letter to Obama

by Bipartisan Anti-War Coalition in Congress Thursday, Dec. 03, 2009 at 7:31 PM

A recent letter initiated by a bipartisan coalition of eight anti-war Congress members urges President Obama to reconsider his choice of further military escalation in Afghanistan. The escalation of 30,000 additional troops sent to Afghanistan will only further destabilize the region by encouraging local Afghans to join the Taliban fighters as they offer the only real resistance to the occupation forcces and the overtly corrupt Karzai government.



It follows that additional presence of U.S. troops only favors the Taliban recruiters, and that only a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from the region will finally enable the Afghan population to refocus their energy on evicting the Taliban. Furthermore, lack of foreign occupation forces will slow the recruitment potential of the Taliban to negligible levels.





NOTE; This is not intended as an "instead of protesting", though should be an "in addition to protesting" option for people with time and desire to email their local Reps. Please ask them to sign on to the following letter to Pres. Obama asking him to reconsider the troop deployment to Afghanistan;



"Eight Members of Congress (Walter Jones, Neil Abercrombie, Roscoe Bartlett, Steve Kagen, Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, Ed Whitfield, and Lynn Woolsey) have initiated a letter to President Obama urging him to reconsider his support for military escalation. The letter argues that military escalation may well be counterproductive towards the goal of creating a stable government that can control Afghanistan, noting that a recent Carnegie Endowment study concluded that "the only meaningful way to halt the insurgency's momentum is to start withdrawing troops. The presence of foreign troops is the most important element driving the resurgence of the Taliban." [You can find the letter - and ask your Representative to sign it - here.]"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/can-congress-save-obama-f_b_173080.html

The recent (Dec 02, 2009) letter to Obama appears temporarily unavailable, though an earlier letter drafted by the same eight Congressmembers in March '09 should read similar, just substitute "30,000" in place of "17,000" and the remainder would apply for both times;

"Dear Mr. President:

We have noted with some concern your announcement that an additional 17,000 US troops

would be sent to Afghanistan. As the goals of our seven year military involvement remain

troublingly unclear, we urge you to reconsider such a military escalation.

If the intent is to leave behind a stable Afghanistan capable of governing itself, this military

escalation may well be counterproductive. A recent study by the Carnegie Endowment has

concluded that "the only meaningful way to halt the insurgency's momentum is to start

withdrawing troops. The presence of foreign troops is the most important element d riving the

resurgence of the Taliban."

The 2001 authorization to use military force in Afghanistan allowed military action "to prevent

any future acts of international terrorism against the United States." Continuing to fight a

counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan does not appear to us to be in keeping with these

directives and an escalation may actually harm US security.

In a tape released in 2004, Osama bin Laden stated that al Qaedas' goal was to "bleed.. .America

to the point of bankruptcy" in Afghanistan. He continued, "All that we have to do is to send two

mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in

order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political

losses without their achieving anything of note. . . ." We would do well to pay attention to these

threats and to avoid falling into any such trap through escalation of our military presence in

Afghanistan.

We are also concerned that any perceived military success in Afghanistan might create pressure

to increase military activity in Pakistan. This could very well lead to dangerous destabilization in

the region and would increase hostility toward the United States.

Mr. President, in reviewing the past history of Afghanistan and the nations that have failed to

conquer it -- Russia spent nine years in Afghanistan and lost many billions of dollars and more

than 15,000 Russian soldiers-- we urge you to reconsider the decision to send an additional

17,000 troops and to resist pressure to escalate even further.

Sincerely,

Representative Neil Abercrombie (D-HI 1st)

Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD-6th)

Representative Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC 3rd)

Representative Steve Kagen (D-WI-8th)

Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH 10th)

Representative Ron E. Paul (R-TX 14th)

Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY-1st)

Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA 6th)

letter found @;

http://www.votersforpeace.us/press/index.php?itemid=1188



Other Republicans join Ron Paul in asking for the troops to come home from Afghanistan;

There remains substantial Democratic discomfort with Obama's plan to surge tens of thousands ofd additional troops into what - despite all that talk of an exit strategy - is sounding more and more like an endless war of whim. One hundred members of the House, the vast majority of them Democrats, have now sponsored Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern's call for the development of a formal plan to bring the troops home. In the Senate, Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold and Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders make no secret of the fact that they believe the president is making a mistake, as does House Appropriations Committee chair David Obey, D-Wisconsin, the author of the "fool's errand" characterization.

Perhaps even more significant, however, is the fact that there is a good deal of division within the ranks of the Republican caucus, particularly in the U.S. House. Not every member of the Grand Old Party is banging on Obama for taking too long to do too little in Afghanistan. In fact, some key congressional conservatives are echoing the call of liberals for a "Bring the Troops Home" plan.

The first cosponsor of Jim McGovern's resolution was North Carolina Republican Walter Jones Jr., who says of the Afghanistan occupation: "We're trying to police the world. Every great nation prior to America that tried to police the world has failed economically. That's why I tell people that I'm a Pat Buchanan American. I want to stop trying to take care of the world and fix this country. Our problems are so deep that there is no easy way to fix them."

Jones has repeatedly gone to the floor of the House to deliver calls for an exit strategy, as has his fellow "old-right" conservative, Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

Among the other stalwart conservatives who do not merely reject a surge but who are outspoken in their advocacy for the development of a plan to withdraw U.S. forces in Afghanistan are California's Dana Rohrbacher and Tennessee's John Duncan Jr.

They were joined on the eve of Obama's speech at West Point by an unexpected Republican dissenter, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who used a speech Monday at the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah.to declare: "Mr. President, it is time to bring our troops home."

Chaffetz, a pristine conservative by just about any standard, says Obama's surge strategy makes no sense.

"We're talking about having nearly 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. If the mission is to root out al-Qaida, we do not need to risk the lives of tens of thousands of troops to fulfill it," the congressman, who has traveled to Afghanistan and met with the top generals on the ground there, argues that: "If our mission in Afghanistan is simply to protect the populace and build the nation, then I believe the time has come to bring our troops home. ... I am opposed to nationbuilding. I do not believe it is the role and responsibility of the United States of America to be involved in every aspect of the globe."

Chaffetz announced his stance prior to Obama's speech because he did not want to be seen as just another Republican critic of the president. And he did so with a seriousness that merits attention, issuing a detailed assessment of the conflict and of his views regarding more serious threats facing the United States."



entire article found @;

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/12/02-0

Quotes from Reps. on troop escalation;

http://thinkprogress.org/escalation-on-the-record/





Congressman Ron Paul is one of a very few Republicans with enough courage to speak out against any further troop deployment to Afghanistan and in addition calls for U.S. forces to withdraw completely from Afghanistan and return to U.S. soil immediately. This certainly places him in a different category than the establishment members of Congress who are under the influence of the military-industrial complex;

Date: 11/18/2009

Event: House Floor Special Order: A True Bipartisan Effort

"Chairman: Mr. Paul.

Ron Paul: I thank you for yielding. I wanted to just make a couple of points in closing. The statement at the beginning of this war was made that it’s different this time. Even though the history is well known about Afghanistan, it’s ancient history, but it’s different this time because we’re different and it’s not going to have the same result. But so far, you know, they haven’t caught Osama bin Laden and we don’t have a national government really. We don’t have really honest elections. We haven’t won the hearts and minds of the people. There is a lot of dissension and it’s a miserable place, so it’s really a total failure. We really learn the costs, the cost of life and limb and money. I mean, it is just a total failure. The thought that we would pursue this and expand it and send more troops just blows my mind and I want to just mention a couple of things I think are bad arguments. One is that we’re involved there. We’ve invested too much and therefore we have to save face because it would look terrible if we had to leave.

But you know, it’s like in medicine. What if we in medicine, we’re doing the wrong things and make the wrong diagnosis. But we keep doing it to prove that we’re right? Or are we going to listen to the patient and to the results.

Steve Kagen: You’d lose your license.

Ron Paul: Yeah, that’s right. But it seems like politicians don’t lose their license and maybe they should and maybe there will be more this year or something. But the other argument they make is if you take a less militant viewpoint, as we all do, that we’re not supportive of the troops. The troops don’t believe that. The troops I talked to, the one Walter talks to, I mean, they know we care about them and they shouldn’t be put in harm’s way unless it’s absolutely necessary. This other argument is, but we got to go over there to kill them because they want to kill us.

Well, like I mentioned before, it wasn’t the Afghans that came over here. By going into their country and killing them, we’re going to create more terrorists and the more people we send, the more terrorists and the more we have to kill. And now, it’s spreading. This is the one I’m worried about in this war. You know, there was one individual, I don’t know his name, but they believed he was in Pakistan. So he was part of the terrorist group, the people who were opposing the occupation. So they sent fifteen cruise missiles, drones, over, looking for him. It took the fifteenth when they killed him, but fourteen landed and there was an estimate made that about 1,000 civilians was killed in this manner. How many more terrorists have we developed under those circumstances?

I do want to have one minute here to read a quote and I’ll yield back. But this quote comes from a Russian general talking to Gorbachev, and Gorbachev went into office in 1985 and this was a year later, and the general was talking to Gorbachev and he says… and this is after…. just think, Gorbachev was in office one year. He had a problem. He was trying to get out. He didn’t get until 1989. But the general says, “Military actions in Afghanistan will soon be seven years old and so Mr. Gorbachev, at a November 1986 Politburo session, “There is no single piece of land in this country which has not been occupied by a Soviet soldier. Nonetheless, the majority of the territory remains in the hands of the rebels.” It reminds of the conversation between Colonel Tou and some nurses after Vietnam and some of our colonels says, “You know, we defeated you in every battle in Vietnam,” and Tou looked at me and says, “Yes, I agree, but it was also irrelevant.” I yield back.

Chairman: Thank you very much and…

(A little time later)

Steve Kagen: Mr. Paul.

Ron Paul: Yes, I would like to just make one more comment as we close this special order. You know, I opened my remarks about talking about Barbara Tuchman’s “The March of Folly” and we are on the same course and I would say it’s time to march home. I’m not for sending any more troops. It’s very clear in my mind. If the job isn’t getting done and we don’t know what we are there for, I would say, it’s time to come home because I fear and it’s been brought up. Congressman McGovern has brought it up and everybody has talked about the finances of this because it is known that all great nations, when they spread themselves to thinly around the world, they go bankrupt and that’s essentially what happened to the Soviet system and they fell apart for economic reasons. So there are trillions of dollars spent in this operation and we’re flat out broke. Two trillion dollar increase in the national debt last year and it just won’t continue. So we may not get our debate on the floor. We may not be persuasive enough, you know, to change this course, but I tell you what, the course will be changed. But let’s hope they accept some of our suggestion because when a nation crumbles for financial reasons, that’s much more dangerous than us taking the tough stand and saying, “It’s time to come home.”

Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Paul."



entire statement found @;

http://www.ronpaul.com/





Other options;

"No to More Troops, Yes to Exit Strategy

President Obama is weighing a decision on General McChrystal’s request to escalate militarily in Afghanistan by sending 40,000 more troops. Some Members of Congress have spoken out, but more have not. Some are saying that they want to wait and see what the President announces. But now is the time to have influence on the President’s decision, not afterwards when it is a done deal. That’s why we need Members of Congress to take a stand against escalation now.

House Actions

There are three key ways for Members of the House to affect President Obama’s decision: to speak out publicly against a troop increase; to co-sponsor Rep. Lee’s bill HR 3699 prohibiting an increase in troops; and to co-sponsor Rep. McGovern’s bill HR 2404 calling for an exit strategy from our military occupation of Afghanistan.

Senate Actions

There are two key ways for Senators to affect President Obama’s decision: to speak out publicly against a troop increase and to introduce legislation in opposition to a troop increase and in favor of an exit strategy from our military occupation of Afghanistan or in favor of a timetable for military withdrawal.

So, what we are asking you to do is call your representatives in Congress – or any Member of Congress you feel comfortable calling (all phone numbers are given in the spreadsheet below – click on the spreadsheet and use arrows to scroll up and down – click the second tab for the Senate – or you can just call the switchboard at 202-225-3121 and be transferred to the Rep or Senator’s office) – try to get a staff person who handles Afghanistan on the phone, and:

for Members of the House:

If their office has not co-sponsored the McGovern bill (current co-sponsors are shown in the spreadsheet below), ask them to co-sponsor it.

If their office has co-sponsored the McGovern bill but not the Lee bill, ask them to co-sponsor the Lee bill.

If they are not shown in the list below as having taken a position against sending more troops, ask them if they have taken a position against sending more troops; and urge them to take a position now against sending more troops.

(Here is a script for calling House Members.)

for Senators:



Ask them if they have taken a position against sending more U.S. troops. If they have not done so, ask them to take a position now against sending more U.S. troops.

Ask them to introduce legislation in opposition to sending more troops and in favor of an exit strategy from our occupation from Afghanistan or in favor of a timetable for military withdrawal.

(Here is a script for calling Senators.)

Then – this is important – we want you to report your results on this website — what did the office say? – using the comments section for this blog, so people around the country can see who has taken a stand and who has not.Tell us if these Members of Congress have taken a stand against sending more U.S. troops. Click on the comment link to add your reportback. If the Congressional office directs you to a website or press clips that documents the Representative’s position, or you come across such links, please post the URLs in your reportbacks.

The groups organizing this project want to end the war. But the first step to ending the war is not to deepen it. If McChrystal’s request is approved, it will likely lengthen the war by many years. Thank you for participating!"

Please spread the word by spreading this URL:

http://noescalation.org



http://noescalation.org/?p=3



OF COURSE we need massive anti-war protest mobilizations throughout the U.S. to protest the troop escalation and strengthen the positions of the eight bipartisan Congressmembers who initiated the letter!!

listing of anti-war protest locations;

http://www.worldcantwait.net
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