The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Starting Another Year of War in Afghanistan


Wednesday, October 7, marks the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

Benjamin, Evans and Wright are just back from Afghanistan. Benjamin and Evans are co-founders of the women's peace group CODEPINK. See the blog here.

Wright, a former State Department diplomat and retired Army colonel, helped re-open the U.S. embassy in Kabul in 2001; this was her first trip there since then.

Solomon recently wrote the piece "Starting Another Year of War in Afghanistan."
Executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, Solomon -- recently back from Kabul -- is the author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death."

Kelly and Pearson are with the group Voices for Creative Nonviolence. They just wrote the piece "Alternatives to war in Afghanistan and Pakistan," which states: "Eight years have passed and the war in Afghanistan, now costing the U.S. $4 billion per month, has spilled over into neighboring Pakistan. The Obama administration has taken the liberty of combining the two countries into a single theater of operations with the epithet 'AfPak.' Obama is now considering alternatives to a major military escalation in Afghanistan and a further acceleration of drone strikes in Pakistan is top on the list.

"We traveled to Northern Pakistan in May and June of this year to gain an understanding of the consequences for the people on the receiving end of such drone strikes. There is no reason to believe that any new strategy that includes the use of military force in Afghanistan or Pakistan will do anything but aggravate the already widespread animosity toward the U.S.

"Plans that promise to provide peace and security by eradicating 'the bad guys' may accomplish short-term 'successes' by locking up or killing armed resisters. But military establishments aren't set up to ameliorate the long-term and desperate grievances that afflict impoverished people and give rise to support for militant groups of resisters.

"According to conservative estimates, 33 percent of Pakistan's population of 170 million live below the poverty line, and nearly 75 percent live on less than $2 a day. In Afghanistan, 70 percent of the population lives in desperate poverty and 54 percent of children under the age of five are stunted.

"Meanwhile, U.S. drone attacks continue, in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Using 'eyes in the skies' by piloting Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or drones), the U.S. analysts can see and attack suspected Taliban fighters, along with anyone else who might happen to be in the vicinity. But the UAVs won't help us understand the acute need for humanitarian relief, diplomacy, negotiation and dialogue in a region already overwhelmed by attacks, counterattacks, bloodshed and death."

Protests are planned in front of the White House today, which could result in scores of arrests, see here.

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.