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An Open Letter To the "Anti-war Movement" in the United States

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Barack Obama is sending a surge of 20,000 troops to Afghanistan. 

An antiwar movement that does not move immediately to oppose the Obama doctrine of shifting the central front of the “war on terror” to Afghanistan, no longer deserves to be called an anti- war movement.   

Millions of people voted for Obama because they thought he would end the war.  Yet Obama filled his cabinet with Hillary “Obliterate Iran” Clinton, Robert Gates, James Jones and Susan Rice (“a kettle of hawks” said Jeremy Scahill).   

He is not only continuing an unjust war by leaving 80,000 troops and scores of permanent bases in Iraq, and all over the region, including nuclear carrier-led task forces with enough firepower to "annihilate" any country in the region, but Obama is enlisting many progressive sections of society to support and be complicit in waging a spreading war for U.S. hegemony and imperialist expansion known as the “war on terror.” 

The election of the first Black president is effectively re-branding preemptive and illegal wars of aggression to make us feel good about them.  Massive antiwar sentiment and action is already being transformed into flag-waving patriotism, passivity and capitulation in the face of horrors.   

The U.S. military, stretched thin and full of discontent after six years of carnage in Iraq, is now being replenished.  Military recruiters are targeting Black and Latino youth, telling them if they sign up now they’ll be fighting for Obama.  Their lives will be expended as cannon fodder in a brutal war of occupation that is not in their interests.   

The U.S. war on Afghanistan is an unjust war of aggression—the supreme war crime. 

The Bush regime occupied Afghanistan and drove out the Taliban regime, not to bring democracy and liberation to the Afghan people, but to control Afghanistan and spread the U.S. empire, with the goal of permanent domination of the Middle East.  

The “war on terror” began after 9/11 by the U.S. was not just a campaign against the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and Osama bin Laden, but a broad, global war to keep the U.S. as the unchallenged global superpower.  This is not a war to free people from warlords of Islamic fundamentalism, a movement the U.S. funded and armed, and ironically, spread, when it was aligned with the U.S. against the Soviet Union in the 1970’s.   

The war in Afghanistan is and will be fought the same way the war in Iraq is being fought.  At a minimum, 1 million Iraqi civilians have been killed so far, over 2 million homeless, with the U.S. justifying collateral damage and collective punishment, secret prisons, denial of due process and torture. It is wrong, unjust, illegitimate and immoral. And it won’t be otherwise, no matter who is president.  There is no such thing as a “good” war on terror 

The U.S. occupiers consider any large gathering of Afghans inherently hostile, hence the repeated bombings of wedding parties.  Even the U.S. puppet Hamid Karzai is warning the U.S. to stop killing civilians.  And it is NOT a war to free women.  According to afghan-web.com/woman/, after 7 years of US occupation:

  • Every 30 minutes, an Afghan woman dies during childbirth
  • 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate
  • 30 percent of girls have access to education in Afghanistan
  • 1 in every 3 Afghan women experience physical, psychological or sexual violence
  • 44 years is the average life expectancy rate for women in Afghanistan
  • 70 to 80 percent of women face forced marriages in Afghanistan

The deadly and self-perpetuating cycle between the terror directed at civilians by the Islamic fundamentalists fighting against the U.S. and the terror of the U.S. wars of aggression directed at civilians can only be stopped by the people of those countries, combined with the actions of people in this country who refuse to strengthen either side. We in this country and those of us in this movement have a choice. 

We can side with “our” government, with the “good war” fought in our names, and act like American lives are more important than anyone else’s lives.   Or we can show the people living in the Middle East, and the world, that in the U.S. there is a difference between the people and their government, and that the people are taking responsibility to end an unjust war and the war crimes that have been carried out in our name.  We can act like we care about the whole planet. 

The antiwar movement of the last several years which confined itself to lobbying and campaigning served to demobilize mass protest.  Now this movement must shake off this passive complicity and act in a way that is so visible and powerful it can be seen all over the world, especially in the countries that have been targets of this aggression. 

An antiwar movement that does not have the principle and the conviction to oppose the crimes carried out by our government; that dodges the immediate escalation of the war in Afghanistan, and the threat of war on other places; that chooses to focus on “domestic issues” when people of the Middle East are counting on us, will commit unconscionable betrayal. An antiwar movement needs to show common cause with the people of the world and not common cause with war criminals. 

Too much is at stake for the progressive movement to consult with or sound like the generals or the Commander in Chief.  Too much is at stake to “wait and see” whether this is all going in the direction Obama says it is. 

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http:/elaine.worldcantwait.net

Anti-war activist, mother of three combat tour US marine; member of the national steering committee for the "World Can't Wait" www.worldcantwait.net and member of Military Families Speak Out (my opinions do not reflect the national position of MFSO).

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Yes it is time to say enough is enough. The invasi... by gravity32 on Saturday, Dec 20, 2008 at 9:09:55 AM
I couldn't agree more. To end war, the reasons... by Bill Cain on Saturday, Dec 20, 2008 at 11:30:49 AM
We should let the drugs run free and the drunks sh... by Gallaher on Saturday, Dec 20, 2008 at 3:38:17 PM
We are in a time of real danger.  People are ... by Bill Samuel on Saturday, Dec 20, 2008 at 11:00:21 AM
Why is the anti-war and justice movement so weak?&... by Jay Janson on Saturday, Dec 20, 2008 at 11:28:11 AM
Oh wait, I'm some kind of weird pacifist that ... by Gallaher on Saturday, Dec 20, 2008 at 3:34:11 PM
Jay Janson, your interesting assay has got me thin... by gravity32 on Saturday, Dec 20, 2008 at 8:03:57 PM
Pakistan and Africa will be included in these wars... by charley danielson on Saturday, Dec 20, 2008 at 10:16:36 PM
I feel such a sadness every time I write about the... by Caronome on Sunday, Dec 21, 2008 at 12:24:01 AM