For Immediate Release
Peace, Veterans, and Faith-Based Groups Organize Quickly to Prepare a Campaign Against Troop Escalation in Afghanistan
LOS ANGELES - Within just five days of the President's announcement that he will be sending 17,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, an emergency meeting of grassroots groups representing a broad swathe of the peace movement took place in Los Angeles this Saturday. The speed with which the meeting was organized underscores both the urgency caused by the President's announcement and the continuing strength of the opposition to misguided reliance on military force to resolve international conflict, whether in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Organized by Brave New Foundation and Peace Action West, the meeting included representatives from 19 groups including both national and community based organizations.
Peace Action West
Brave New Foundation
Interfaith Communities United for Peace and Justice
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Neighbors 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
American Friends Service Committee
Veterans for Peace
Progressive Christians United
Council on American-Islamic Relations
United Methodist Church
United for Peace and Justice
Orlando Peace and Justice
All Saints Episcopal Church]
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.
"Some like myself passionately supported Barack Obama for president, and I still do," said legendary activist Tom Hayden. 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."
"It is critical that we have a full examination of nonmilitary solutions for Afghanistan before risking more American and Afghan lives," said Jon Rainwater, Executive Director of Peace Action West. "There is no military solution in Afghanistan. We have paid a heavy toll in lives in money after seven years of war, without advancing US goals of stabilizing Afghanistan or defeating threats from terrorism. To makes both Americans and Afghans safer, we need to fully utilize political, diplomatic, and development tools and move away from a troops-based approach."
A White House review of policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan is underway and the Senate Armed Services Committee will hear testimony on Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy this week. A series of in-depth oversight hearings of US Afghanistan policy will be critical to allow a national conversation around Afghanistan policy to take place.
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Peace Action West advocates for a foreign policy that embodies the best values of the American people. As a membership organization with close to 50,000 supporters, we foster broad-based civic activism to create a strong voice for peaceful and pragmatic solutions to global problems. Our activities serve as a bridge between the public and the officials who make decisions that affect the lives of millions of people. More information on the organization and its campaigns is available at www.peaceactionwest.org, and at Peace Action West's blog, www.GroundswellOnline.org.