The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Axel Woolfolk

Antiwar and Faith Groups Organize Quickly to Prepare a Campaign Against Troop Escalation in Afghanistan


Within just five days of the President's announcement that he will be sending 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, an emergency meeting took place in Los Angeles last Saturday of dozens of grassroots groups representing a broad swathe of the antiwar movement. The speed with which the meeting was organized underscores both the urgency caused by the President's announcement and the strong organization of an antiwar movement that is nearly six years old and that has mobilized through three national election cycles.

Organized by Brave New Foundation and Peace Action West, the meeting included representatives from a wide variety of organizations including:

* Peace Action West
* Brave New Foundation
* Afghanistan Advocacy Group
* Interfaith Communities United for Peace and Justice
* Just Foreign Policy
* Voters for Peace
* September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
* U.S. Labor Against War
* Iraq Veterans Against War
* Win Without War
* Veterans for Peace
* Progressive Christians United
* Council on American-Islamic Relations
* United Methodist Church
* United for Peace and Justice
* All Saints Episcopal Church of Pasadena
* Southern Christian Leadership Conference
* Progressive Faith Foundation
* Military Families Speak Out
* Nazir Khaja, Peace Activist
* Tom Hayden, Peace Activist
* Islamic Center of Los Angeles
* Los Angeles Archdiocese

The meeting was the first step in what organizers say will be a major coalition campaign against any deepening of the war in Afghanistan. The campaign will include legislative lobbying, grassroots organizing and online activism.

"It is critical that we come together to demand congressional oversight hearings on Afghanistan policy," said Robert Greenwald, President of Brave New Foundation. "We are preparing a major documentary film on the subject, interviews with experts on the issue and raising the critical questions that should and must be asked through the hearings process before we bog ourselves down in this costly quagmire."

"Some like myself passionately supported Barack Obama for president, and I still do," said Tom Hayden, a legendary figure in the antiwar movement. "But I feel an equal passion against his policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which put at risk so many lives and America's national security. The peace movement must rise again to stop another quagmire."

A White House review of policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan is getting underway this week, as well as a hearing on the issue in front of Senate Armed Services Committee. The Foreign Relations Committee has yet to announce any oversight hearings, which will be critical for a national debate in rethinking Afghanistan policy to take place.

For more information or to speak to Robert Greenwald, Tom Hayden or any of the other participants of the meeting please contact:

Axel Woolfolk
310.204.0448 x232

Peace Action is 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.