The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

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

Afghanistan Policy: Fueling War


Available for a limited number of interviews, Scahill is recently back from Afghanistan and just wrote the piece "Killing Reconciliation." Scahill states that while the Obama administration says it is backing a strategy of reconciliation with the Taliban, night raids by U.S. Special Operations are killing that reconciliation.

Scahill is author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. He was recently interviewed on Democracy Now.

Kelly, Arents and Smith-Ferri are with the group Voices for Creative Nonviolence and have also recently returned from Afghanistan. Kelly said today: "While the U.S. military conducts deadly night raids, rounds up and imprisons young Afghan men and bulldozes homes and schools in villages outside Kandahar city in southern Afghanistan, NATO leaders will meet in Lisbon [this week] to discuss extending NATO troop presence to 2014.

"We met with Afghan people who hunger for food, justice, electricity and security. Many expressed dismay over NATO and U.S. support for a corrupt government. Still others emphasized angry weariness from three decades of warfare. Given this context, the delegation was particularly impressed by the earnest interest of Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers in building a better future based on tolerance, justice and an insistence that bombs and bullets won't solve their problems."

Background: Steve Clemons notes that while the "cost of America's military effort in Afghanistan is $65 billion per year ... the entire GDP of Afghanistan is just $22 billion.

"We are spending -- just on the military and not counting allied force commitments or NGO and other non-military aid -- more than three times the entire GDP of the country."

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.