Americans Dead in Afghanistan: 4,000 and Counting...

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The Huffington Post

Americans Dead in Afghanistan: 4,000 and Counting...

Today's killing of the 4,000 American soldier in Iraq was the latest grim marker in the Bush administration's disastrous war and occupation in Iraq, coming just days after the tragic passing of the fifth anniversary of the American invasion.

Both occurred as the hollow claims by the Bush administration that its so-called military "surge" is "working" became even more obviously absurd. For months it has been painfully clear that the goal of the surge -- political reconciliation that a decline in violence was to make possible -- had totally failed. Now, even the reduction of violence promoted daily by President Bush and the Iraq war apologists lacks credibility.

Up to now, the misleading claim of a "decline" in violence in Iraq could only be made by comparing the numbers killed and wounded to last year's catastrophically high levels. (Kind of like standing in a violent Category 3 hurricane and claiming that it is a beautiful day by comparing it to a Category 5 storm.) Now, even that claim can no longer hold water. The so-called decline in the number of violent attacks stopped last November and for weeks the level of violence has spiked significantly upward.

Meanwhile, the people of Iraq continue to pass their own cataclysmic milestones from the more than 100,000 who have been killed to the well over four million turned into refugees.

There is no end in sight for the carnage, no sign that the U.S. backed government will be willing to compromise with its rivals and absolutely no hope that the wishes of the majority of Iraqis that American forces be removed from their country will be taken seriously.

Next month the president will ask Congress to pass another tragic milestone by handing over more than $100 billion more dollars for the military occupation. That will be the latest installment of what Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz calculates will be a $3 TRILLION dollar price tag for American taxpayers.

Washington pundits predict that the Democratic controlled Congress will facilitate this milestone by once again rolling over and handing the president whatever he wants. But, this is ONE milestone that we need not reach. That is why the 40 member Win Without War coalition marked the 5th anniversary of the war last week by circulating an "Open Letter to Congress" imploring it to reverse course. Addressed to Congressman Jack Murtha, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, it calls on Congress to:

  • Stop funding the war: Give the Pentagon only enough money for the safe and orderly redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq;
  • Support a diplomatic offensive -- as recommended by the Iraq Study Group -- to build a comprehensive solution involving many countries;
  • Stop funding the construction of permanent military bases in Iraq and military contractors; and
  • Refuse to fund any permanent "security agreement" between President Bush and Iraqi President Maliki unless first approved by Congress and the Iraqi parliament.

If you are you are sick and tired of the passing of tragic milestones, we invite to do something about it: visit our campaign web site, sign the letter and pass it on: www.standupcongress.org.

The only acceptable milestone will be the removal of the final US soldier from Iraqi soil.

Tom Andrews

Tom Andrews

Tom Andrews, a former Member of Congress from the first Congressional District of Maine, is the President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Tom also served as National Director of Win Without War, a coalition of forty-two national membership organizations including the National Council of Churches, the NAACP, the National Organization of Women, the Sierra Club, and MoveOn.  He is also co-founder of New Security Action.

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