For Immediate Release
Largest Peace Group-House Vote First Step to Remove Troops from Afghanistan
WASHINGTON - Peace Action, the nation's largest grassroots peace group, supported a debate and vote today on legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would have removed all troops from Afghanistan this year.
"A true debate in the House on Afghanistan is long overdue. Today's vote to remove troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year shows that many Members of Congress have grave concerns about President Obama's military strategy in Afghanistan. Besides those that voted today to remove troops within nine months, many more Representatives have voiced publically and privately their opposition to the extreme costs and lack of efficacy of the U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan. As the President and many of his advisors have mentioned, there's no military solution in Afghanistan," stated Paul Kawika Martin, the group's policy and political director.
Even with the unusually short time between when the resolution was offered and the vote, the group organized a letter signed by 17 organizations representing nearly 2,000,000 veterans, military families and voters asking Representatives to vote to remove the troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2010.
The bipartisan, concurrent resolution offered by Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH-10) last Thursday uses section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution which forces action by the House within 15 calendar days.
The group argued that congressional debate and oversight is needed at a time when polls show Americans consistent in their opposition to the Afghanistan war and connecting huge war expenditures with a lack of funding for domestic needs.
The vote for the resolution was 65 yeas, 356 nays with 5 Republicans voting yea.
The next vote and debate on Afghanistan will be when the Congress takes up the $33 billion emergency supplemental submitted by the White House to fund its troop increase. Martin said that vote would happen sometime after Easter/Passover recess and before the end of June when the Pentagon is projected run out of funds for Afghanistan.
Martin, who travelled to Afghanistan late last year, concluded "it's time to transition from more military spending to investing in diplomacy, development and economic stimulus that creates long-term stability in the region."
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.