The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Paul Kawika Martin, Political Director, 301.565.4050 x 316, 951.217.7285 cell,

Peace Action Responds to Kerry's Hearing with Soldiers on Afghanistan Occupation


Peace Action, the nation's largest peace organization, responded to today's Senate Foreign Relations hearing "Soldiers' Stories from the Afghan War." Paul Kawika Martin, the group's political director, said in the hearing room:

"It is important to hear the views of U.S. soldiers at all ranks regarding the occupation of Afghanistan. Senators Kerry and Lugar's hearing is a good start. The Afghanistan occupation deserves full, robust hearings like those Senator Fulbright conducted during the Vietnam war and where the young Sen. Kerry testified.

"Peace Action agrees with the wisdom of many U.S. troops such as Corporal Rick Reyes who testified 'Sending more troops will not make the U.S. safer, it will only build more opposition against us . . . More troops, more war is not the answer.'

"Corporal Reyes is right: 21,000 more troops, air and Predator drone strikes and night raids that kill, injure and traumatize innocent civilians drive people to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Instead, the U.S. and international community should increase funding for Afghan-led humanitarian aid, development work, and landmine clean up while supporting regional diplomacy.

"The public yearns to hear the Obama Administration's exit strategy and 'metrics' that will get us out of the costly occupation of Afghanistan and into providing more resources for smarter foreign policy and solving Americans' problems."

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.