The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Gordon/Eliza Brinkmeyer (202) 822-5200

Statement of Tom Andrews On Afghanistan Troop Escalation

Former Congressman Tom Andrews, National Director of Win Without War


I am deeply disappointed
that President Obama is expected to announce tonight that he is escalating the
war in Afghanistan, bringing the number of U.S. troops in that country to
100,000 or more. In the midst of
a severe economic recession, we should be nation- building at home, not in
Afghanistan. According to the White House's own Budget Director,
adding an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan will cost an additional $30
billion. That is in addition to the $130 billion already budgeted for Iraq and
Afghanistan. That money should be spent where it is needed - creating jobs for
the 10% of Americans who are unemployed.

Congress will hear from the
President tonight. Every member of Congress needs to hear from their
constituents starting tomorrow. Congress needs to know that our men and women
in uniform should not be sent to die to prop up a corrupt and incompetent
government that was caught stealing the last national election. And they should
listen to the many respected military and national security experts who say
that increasing the U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan will fuel the
insurgency, not end it.

The president's own National
Security Advisor has reported that there are fewer than 100 al Qaeda operatives
in all of Afghanistan with no ability to launch attacks on either the United
States or our allies. Al Qaeda operatives could be operating in Yemen or
Somalia. Does that mean that we should be preparing for a military occupation
of those countries?

Congress must decide whether
spending $100 billion a year to have 100,000 troops chasing 100 terrorists in
Afghanistan is really in our national interest.

The argument that we need to
occupy Afghanistan in order to prevent the return of al Qaeda is an example of
what has been aptly described as a twentieth century response to a twenty-first
century problem. The fact is that al Qaeda does not need territory or large
bases to launch attacks on the United States.
They need only access to the Internet, safe houses and an ample supply
of martyrs.

The hawks inside and outside
of the administration have weighed in and the President has made his choice.
Now it is time for the American people to weigh in and for Congress to provide
a badly needed check and balance on a deeply flawed and potentially catastrophic

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.