Posted on May 2, 2009, Printed on May 4, 2009
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Editor's Note: Peace activist Tom Hayden adds his ideas to Z.P. Heller's April 8 piece, Ten Things You Can Do to Oppose the War in Afghanistan.
This early period of Obama's presidency is an opportunity to rebuild Afghanistan. It is a chance to become clearer than "out now," while still using the same force in opposing the war. In addition to education on the specifics of the administration's plan and the after-effects in Afghanistan, take these concrete steps to build infrastructure from the bottom up.
1. The immediate demands should be opposition to more troops, predator attacks, human rights abuses and escalating budget costs.
2. Support a regional diplomatic solution (exit strategy), including withdrawal of US/NATO troops and bases. Read Tariq Ali's book, The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power.
3. Demand of Congress and President the same accountability that was demanded of Bush and never won: verifiable casualty figures, transparent budgeting, oversight of contractors, compliance with human rights standards, including women's rights--clear metrics to measure progress towards a defined exit strategy.
4.With these focuses in mind and using United for Peace and Justice as an organizational base:
- assist in doubling their membership
- build a local e-mail list of at least 300 names
- build a coalition (at least a letterhead or leadership alliance) of clergy, academic, human rights, environmentalists, African-Americans and Latinos, labor and other progressive organizations.
5. Criticize Obama's war from within the Obama structure and MoveOn.org. (Since neither of these structures have a focus on the war, contact them or start on a discussion on Afghanistan under another heading).
6. Start or join a group against military recruiters.
7. Build a visible network in your Congressional district. Buy and wear antiwar buttons, T-shirts and banners.
8. Build a local media list and meet with the editorial board.
9. Start Friday night streetcorner pickets. These are the hundreds of groups in every region that hold up placards on Friday nights. This is the heart of the antiwar movement.
10. Support other organizations, such as American Friends Service Committee, Military Families Speak Out, Code Pink etc.
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