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Obama Should Consider Public Option When Deciding Future of Afghan War

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Kevin Gosztola     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Obama rejects all four military options on the war that vary from sending 20,000 to 40,000 more troops to the war in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, there is no reason for those hoping for a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan to be happy with news of Obama's recent rejection. That's because none of the options being considered by Obama include withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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When the eighth anniversary of the Afghanistan War came in October, it was not an option.

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On the anniversary, White House Press Secretary told the press, ""I don't think we have the option to leave. That's quite clear." He said this as hundreds of activists demonstrated against the war outside of the White House.

When it was reported that a shadow army of private military contractors now make up more than "57 percent of the Pentagon's Afghanistan personnel" and outnumber U.S. troops in Afghanistan, leaving was not an option.

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When former Army captain Andrew Exum, who served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 2000 to 2004 and served as part of an advisory team of the commander of the U.S. troops, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, called for a moratorium on U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and exposed the folly of the U.S.'s past counterterror military strategy in Afghanistan (and Iraq), leaving was not an option.

When the New York Times reported that the Bush Administration blocked federal investigations into alleged war crimes that may have occurred in the Dasht-e-Leili massacre in Afghanistan, when it was reported that prisoners brought from Afghanistan "had been "stacked like cordwood" in shipping containers and had to lick the perspiration off one another to survive" in July, leaving was not an option.

When the House approved $106 billion in supplemental war spending to ensure the continued financing of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in June, leaving was not an option.

When, in May, it was reported that U.S. soldiers were being encouraged to act as Christian missionaries in the predominantly Muslim country of Afghanistan, as it became more apparent that Afghanistan is continued part of a holy war begun by the Bush Administration against Islam, leaving was not an option.

When, in February, Obama sent 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan before outlying a clear strategy for war in Afghanistan, without defining a goal for continuing to wage war in a country ravaged by conflict for nearly eight years, when 32,000 more non-U.S. NATO troops were added as Obama sent more troops to Afghanistan, leaving was not an option.

Public support for the Afghanistan War has been below 50 percent for quite some time. In an America where 51 percent is good enough to elect a president, 51 percent opposed to the Afghanistan War should be good enough to send a message to Obama that withdrawal from Afghanistan should be an option.

Obama has chosen to entertain suggestions from generals on increasing troops in Afghanistan and effectively diverted attention from withdrawing from Afghanistan to curb the insurgency that is savaging American troops, killing innocent civilians, and destabilizing the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

But, Obama is meeting with a war council on Afghanistan, not a peace council on Afghanistan.

The public option on Afghanistan should be up for consideration. Rethinking and withdrawing from Afghanistan should be a possibility.


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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for

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