The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

David Card 202-785-5980;

ADA Calls Afghanistan a Quagmire Worse than Vietnam


In response to President Obama's announcement that he will send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, Michael J. Wilson, national director of Americans for Democratic Action, issued the following statement:

"Clearly President Obama's thoughtful and deliberate decision-making is a marked improvement from the cowboy diplomacy of the past Administration. However, his plan to send 30,000 more U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan is a monumental mistake. After consultation with our Board and our grassroots leadership, I feel compelled to express ADA's opposition to the policy as stated.

"We cannot support an escalation of U.S. military involvement after 8 long years of failure and urge the President to reconsider tens of thousands of additional troops. Terrorists cannot be defeated by armies; it will take a combination of intelligence forces, police work, and domestic and international assistance to address the challenges posed by Afghanistan.

"The U.S.-supported Karzai government is rife with corruption and lacks control of most of the country outside Kabul. War lords, tribal chiefs, and bandits are often difficult to distinguish from Taliban or Al Qaeda insurgents.

"Further, United States military action creates more enemies than it kills. "Collateral damage" from U.S. counterinsurgency efforts, notably so-called "surgical" air strikes, is killing innocent rural villagers, including women, and children as well as a few Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists.

"The years of conflict within Afghanistan have destroyed most of the positive economic activity within the country. Instead, "illegal" poppy-growing and opium-production remain the main economic activities. With few alternatives to provide for their families, Afghan men are turning to the Taliban and Al Qaeda for economic as well as ideological reasons.

"And perhaps most damaging to our efforts, the people of Afghanistan, by an every measurable matrix, have said that they want foreigners out of their country. Eight years of intervention have shown the futility of military intervention. Foreign troops of every nationality are still viewed as foreign invaders and occupiers, generating resistance and making the long term mission more difficult.

"President Obama is correct that we have a responsibility to assist Afghanistan and that an immediate withdrawal would put too much pressure on the fragile central government and on the governments of Iran and Pakistan. Yet, the long-run interests of Afghanistan and the United States will be best served by withdrawing U.S. military forces as soon as practical."

ADA is America's most experienced independent liberal lobbying organization. In the spirit of the New Deal and ADA founders Eleanor Roosevelt, renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith, and former Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey we lobby through coalition partnerships, through direct advocacy, and through the media.