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For Immediate Release

Contact

Emma Mackinnon
202.822.5200 ext 277

Press Release

Andrews: President’s Afghanistan-Pakistan Strategy Will Lead to Quagmire

Statement by Tom Andrews, National Director of Win Without War and former US Congressman (D-ME) and Member of the House Armed Services Committee:
WASHINGTON -

"I regret that President Obama, in his
desire to protect our nation from a genuine threat, has outlined a policy that
will undermine our security, not enhance it. 

"The president's policy is already
uniting our enemies to fight us:

  • The New York Times
    reports today that the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban are burying their
    differences
    and uniting forces to fight the United States in response to
    our military escalation;[1]
  • According to a
    recent study by the Carnegie Endowment, the
    single most important factor behind the resurgence of the Taliban is the
    presence of foreign forces on Afghan soil
    ;[2]
  • The Coordinator of
    the al Qaeda/Taliban Monitoring Team of the UN Security Council has reported
    that al Qaeda aims to provoke a greater
    foreign military presence in Afghanistan
    and Pakistan
    to unite disparate tribes in fighting a common enemy
    .[3]

"In short, the president's policy is
playing into the hands of al Qaeda and the Taliban by providing them with a
cause that unites and strengthens them.

"A stronger American military presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan
will make securing the support of regional stakeholders like Russia and China more difficult
by placing US
forces on their sensitive borders for an indefinite period of time.[4]

 "Meanwhile, our NATO allies are
increasingly divided, putting the burden of waging this war increasingly on the
shoulders of Americans.
Britain is the only
country that has committed more troops to Afghanistan.  Others,
including Canada and the Netherlands,
have announced plans to bring their troops home.

"The policy announced today by President
Obama is economically unsustainable.
Even before the escalation of troops, the
cost of our military intervention in Afghanistan is more than $2 billion
per month and rising. His announcement that he will be seeking $1.5 billion per
year for increased foreign aid to Pakistan is a small fraction of the
cost of our military commitment.

"Finally, no exit strategy
was announced or discussed despite the president's admonition last week
on national television that "there's got to be an exit
strategy."[5]

While the president announced his intention to have performance benchmarks he
gave no indication as to what these performance benchmarks might be.

"We want to be able to support the
president and his efforts to protect the American people from the threat of al
Qaeda. But the policy announced today will fail to do so and instead takes a
significant step toward a perilous quagmire."

[1]
"Pakistan and Afghanistan
Taliban Close Ranks," by Carlotta Gall, The
New York Times
, March 27, 2009. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/27/world/asia/27taliban.html.

[2]
Carnegie Endowment for Peace, "Focus and Exit: An Alternative Strategy
for the Afghan War," by Gilles Dorronsoro, January 2009.  Available at http://carnegieendowment.org/files/afghan_war-strategy.pdf

[3]
The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political
Violence, "Seven Years After 9/11: Al-Qaida's Strengths and
Vulnerabilities," by Richard Barrett, September 2008.

[4]
Leslie H. Gelb, "How to Leave Afghanistan," The New York Times, Opinion, March 12,
2009.  Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/13/opinion/13Gelb.html.

[5]
President Obama, speaking with Steve Kroft, CBS 60 Minutes, March 20, 2009. http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtml

###

Win Without War

Win Without War is a diverse network of activists and organizations working for a more peaceful, progressive U.S. foreign policy. We believe that by democratizing U.S. foreign policy and providing progressive alternatives, we can achieve more peaceful, just, and common sense policies that ensure that all people—regardless of race, nationality, gender, religion, or economic status—can find and take advantage of opportunity equally and feel secure.

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