Peace Action Releases “Afghanistan and Pakistan: Myths vs. Facts”

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Kevin Martin, Executive Director,
301.565.4050 x 307, 301.537.8244 cell
Barbra Bearden, Communication Associate
301.565.4050 ext. 330
bbearden@peace-action.org

Peace Action Releases “Afghanistan and Pakistan: Myths vs. Facts”

WASHINGTON - Peace Action, the nation's largest peace organization, released a white
paper today titled, "Afghanistan and Pakistan:  Myths vs. Facts."  With
the House hours away from voting on another $83 billion for the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan, the group plans to deliver the information to
congress.  The Senate is scheduled to take up the supplemental next
week.  Their paper stated:

1. MYTH: Expanded US military activity furthers national security and upholds our national values.

FACT:  Widening the war will be counterproductive both to our national
security objectives and to our national values. As is already evident,
it will de-stabilize the region, including Pakistan. Americans will
also be increasingly causing the deaths of many women, children,
elderly and other innocent civilians and disrupting the efforts of
thousands of Afghan villagers to flee their villages in order to escape
the spreading violence.

2. MYTH: Winning the war in Afghanistan requires a military victory for US forces.

FACT: Secretary of Defense Gates, Secretary of State Clinton, National
Security Advisor Jones, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mullen, and even
President Obama, himself, each have acknowledged that the internal
conflict in Afghanistan cannot finally be won by military means. They
have publicly agreed that it will have to be won, if it can, by
dramatic improvements in the economy, the political system, government
services, and the courts.

3. MYTH:   The additional US troops will primarily be training the
Pakistani Army and police, and are not being sent for combat operations.

FACT: Thousands of additional troops are being sent to Afghanistan,
largely from the 82 Airborne Division, the premier regular combat unit
of the Army. Such soldiers are not being sent as "trainers," to lecture
in classrooms. Instead, they will accompany Afghan soldiers on patrols
and attempted ambushes to monitor and instruct their Afghan
counterparts They will inevitably engage in combat alongside their
"students" and suffer casualties -- just as GI's did while on "training
missions" in Iraq and Vietnam. More Americans will die and, at the same
time, their fighting role will alienate the Afghan people.

4. MYTH: The U.S. military will help defeat the Taliban and prevent them from providing a refuge and base to Al Qaeda.

FACT: US military activity in Afghanistan strengthens the Taliban. It
inflames Afghans' hostility to the U.S. and wins new supporters for the
Taliban. Even now, Coalition forces are having difficulty
distinguishing Afghan Taliban forces, from tribal militants against the
national government and ordinary Afghans. That problem will only worsen
as our military involvement expands.

5. MYTH: The U.S. military in Afghanistan is not targeting civilians. Any civilian deaths are purely accidental.

FACT:  The killing of Afghan civilians is the inevitable and
foreseeable result of American missile attacks, bombing, and night
ground patrols. This euphemistically termed "collateral damage" not
only take civilian lives, but inevitably turns the population against
us.

6. MYTH: The Administration strategy is that US military commitment will be limited in size and duration.

FACT: As US soldiers suffer more casualties, there will be growing
political pressure to avoid an "American defeat" by increasing our
commitment. Now is the time to reverse direction in Afghanistan, before
we become mired in another protracted guerilla war like Vietnam

7. MYTH: Defeating the Afghan Taliban will help stabilize the situation in Pakistan.

FACT: Afghan Taliban are not a significant factor in violent or
political activity against the Pakistan Government. Indigenous
radicals, including Pakistan Taliban, as well as deep discontent from a
much broader spectrum of citizens, pose the threat to stability in
Pakistan. As shown in a recent poll, a large majority of Pakistanis
were angered by the US activity in the region and our perceived effort
to control it. That rebounds against our efforts to help stabilize
Pakistan, which is seen as our close ally.

The paper is available at:
http://peaceblog.wordpress.com

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Founded in 1957, Peace Action, the United States' largest peace and disarmament organization with over 100,000 members and nearly 100 chapters in 34 states, works to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs and encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights.

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