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146 Votes Away from Afghanistan Exit

The secret documents released Sunday by WikiLeaks provide 92,000 additional reasons why Congress should stop the US war in Afghanistan. It will take 146 votes on the floor of the House to do so. Call your Representative now at (888) 493-5443 and tell them to vote no on the war funding bill HR 4899.end_the_war.jpg

It was July 1 when 162 Members of the House voted for Congressman Jim McGovern's amendment requiring an exit strategy with a time certain for US combat troops to be withdrawn.  The leaked documents underscore why the open ended military commitment to the second most corrupt government on earth, the Karzai government, makes no sense. Under the rules of the House, if these 162 House Members hold their ground today and vote against sending an additional $33 billion for this endless war, the motion to pass the appropriation will be defeated.

The WikiLeaks documents demonstrate why those 162 Members of the House were so right in casting their vote against an open ended military commitment to the government of Afghanistan. As the New York Times editorial page says this morning:

"But the most alarming of the reports were the ones that described the cynical collusion between Pakistan's military intelligence service and the Taliban. Despite the billions of dollars the United States has sent in aid to Pakistan since September 11, they offer powerful new evidence that crucial elements of Islamabad's power structure have been actively helping to direct and support the forces attacking the American-led military coalition."

And then there is the previously hidden report by the US Civil Affairs Office,  detailing why the insurgency strategy is doomed to fail:  "The people of Afghanistan keep loosing (sic) their trust in the government because of the high amount of corrupted government officials. The general view of the Afghans is that the current government is worst (sic) than the Taliban." This makes any counterinsurgency strategy mission impossible to achieve regardless of the number of soldiers who are sent into harm's way.

It is unconscionable to send American men and women to Afghanistan to risk their lives for a strategy that is built on quicksand.

It will take one-third of the House to defeat the Supplemental Appropriation under the rules that apply to this vote (it is being brought up through a suspension of the rules which requires the support of at least two-thirds of the Members).  Win Without War has asked its forty member organizations to e-mail their respective members, asking them to contact their Members of Congress and urge them to be one of the 146.

If they do, the House will today take the historic step of saying no to the Supplemental Appropriation for Afghanistan and yes to the US soldiers who they have placed in harm's way. All that is required is 146 of the 162 McGovern amendment allies to hold their ground and stand tall today.

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Tom Andrews

Tom Andrews

Tom Andrews, a former Member of Congress from the first Congressional District of Maine, is the President and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Tom also served as National Director of Win Without War, a coalition of forty-two national membership organizations including the National Council of Churches, the NAACP, the National Organization of Women, the Sierra Club, and MoveOn.  He is also co-founder of New Security Action.

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