"That which you do not resist and mobilize to stop you will learn – or be forced – to accept."
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Barack Obama is sending a surge of 30,000 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 17 permanent bases in Iraq, but 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" begun 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 1980s.
The war in Afghanistan is and will be fought the same way the war in Iraq is being fought. Most of the people killed are civilians, 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 U.S. 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.
In 2001, in the shadow of 9/11 this antiwar movement asked, "How can people in the U.S. communicate to the people halfway across the planet that there is a difference between the U.S. power structure and the great majority of the people in the U.S. – who have no fundamental interest in oppressing and ripping off the people of the world?" 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 once again, 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.
VISIBLE ACTION IS URGENTLY NEEDED:
The USA PATRIOT Act, the Military Commissions Act, and Obama's FISA Act must be repealed; the U.S. torture state must be dismantled, and secret rendition ended.
Resist the Recruiters!
• THURSDAY MARCH 19 Local protests including school walk-outs
• SATURDAY MARCH 21
United mass protests
We in World Can't Wait pledge to work with everyone who wants to build an ANTI-war movement. Real change happens when people take independent action – outside the confines of government and in their own interests. If we want to stop the continued horror of the largest imperialist power on earth dropping bombs, sending death squads and torturers anywhere with impunity – in our names – the only way is face up to reality, tell the truth, and get out to the people with the message that we must stop the crimes of our government.