Question Afghanistan Now

Question Afghanistan Now

by
Abby Zimet

With alarming signs of both increased internal turmoil and likely
American escalation in Afghanistan, input from peace advocates is more
crucial than ever at today's hearing by the House Armed Services
Committee on U.S. strategy there. United For Peace and Justice is
urging people to contact their representatives and otherwise let their
voices be heard. They have posted names and numbers of the 60
Representatives on the committee, those testifying today, and key
issues. 

The issues raised in the hearing, titled 'U.S. Strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan: Balancing Interests and Resources,' become even more urgent with today's news of Taliban suicide attacks in Kabul and reports of wayward U.S. arms in Afghanistan.

The committee includes 60 Representatives from around the country. For a list of the members go here

The committee chair is Rep. Ike Skelton. His office number in D.C. is 202-225-2876.

The witnesses who will be giving testimony at the hearing are:

   Anthony Cordesman, Ph.D
   Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy, Center for Strategic and International Studies

   Stephen Biddle, Ph.D.
   Senior Fellow for Defense Policy, Council on Foreign Relations

   The Honorable Zalmay Khalilzad
   Counselor, Center for Strategic and International Studies

   General Jack Keane (ret.)
   Former Vice Chief of Staff, United States Army

   Janet St. Laurent
   Managing Director, Defense Capabilities and Management Team, Government Accountability Office

Questions UFPJ wants members of the House Armed Services Committee to ask:

1)
What do you predict the total dollar costs for Iraq and Afghanistan to
be to the U.S. economy? Did Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph
Stiglitz underestimate when he calculated three trillion dollars for
Iraq alone? How can you justify spending many millions of hard-earned
dollars every day in Iraq and Afghanistan when the U.S. economy is
suffering and so many of our people are out of work?

2) The
Taliban is on the rise again. Living conditions for the average Afghan
have not changed much. The U.S. military has killed at least 4,800
civilians in Afghanistan, representing 79% of the total civilian
casualties in the war. Is U.S. military action in Afghanistan harming
our national interests by turning the people against us? How has U.S.
military action in Afghanistan increased the security of the region and
the people of our country?

3) A policy of the former Bush
administration allowed for drone attacks to occur in Afghanistan and
Pakistan. The continued drone attacks are contributing toward
anti-American animosity without accomplishing much. Wouldn't it help
reduce the tension and improve the quality of life to ban drone attacks
entirely?

For info on UFPJ's Afghanistan Working Group go here

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