The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, 415-235-6517
Jean Stevens, CODEPINK media coordinator, 508-769-2138

CODEPINK Heartbroken by Obama's Commitment to Continued Military Aggression in Afghanistan

Calls for real change, humanitarian aid and reconstruction


CODEPINK Women for Peace
is heartbroken and discouraged by President Obama's decision to deploy
an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan, a screeching halt to his
rhetoric for change and moving our country in a new direction.

CODEPINK women call on Obama and his administration to reject a
proven-false military solution, and call for a surge in diplomacy and
humanitarian aid and an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from

"It makes no sense to appoint Richard Holbrooke to find a way out
of the Afghan quagmire while sending 17,000 more troops," said Medea
Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder. "You can't do diplomacy while widening
the war. We must freeze the number of troops, engage in immediate
diplomatic efforts - with Afghan women at the table - and then replace
our military mission with a humanitarian, reconstruction mission. That
would reflect the change the American people voted for."

The deployment is a continuation of the same failed U.S. policies
that have inspired a Taliban resurgence, raised civilian deaths, and
destabilized infrastructure and social system. There is no military
solution to Afghanistan, as many military officials and think-tanks
have concluded. "You don't kill or capture your way out of an
industrial-strength insurgency," Gen. David Petraeus told the
Associated Press recently, and Special Envoy Holbrooke said, "It is
like no other problem we have confronted...I have never seen anything
like the mess we have inherited."

Not only will military policies not work, but they will lead to an
increase in civilian deaths at the hands of the U.S military. A United
Nations report released earlier this week found the Afghan civilian
death toll nearly doubled in 2008, with the U.S. directly blamed for
almost half of these deaths. The number of Afghan people who believe
the US has performed well dropped this year to 32 percent from 68
percent in 2005, military scholar Anthony Cordesman told a
Congressional hearing last week. Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of
Americans oppose increasing the deployments, and European opposition is
so great that leaders of Spain, France and Germany have refused to send
any additional forces.

Obama must take bold and compassionate action to address the
Afghan's real need for health care, clean water and education by
providing humanitarian assistance through non-governmental
organizations, instead of continuing to cripple Afghanistan with more
years of war. The definition of insanity is to repeat the same action
and expect different results. It's time for change.

For interviews and more information, please call Jean Stevens,
national media coordinator, at 508-769-2138 or Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK
co-founder, at 415-235-6517.

CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.

(818) 275-7232