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In 10 years security conditions have worsened for Afghan women

Tree nursery worker, Surkhrud --  Source: AfghanistanSamsortya.o

by Dr. Mariam Raqib 

Amnesty's Shilling for US-NATO Wars

By Ann Wright and Coleen Rowley

The new Executive Director of Amnesty International USA – Suzanne Nossel – is a recent U.S. government insider. So it’s a safe bet that AI’s decision to seize upon a topic that dovetailed with American foreign policy interests, “women’s rights in Afghanistan,” at the NATO Conference last month in Chicago came directly from her.

Nossel was hired by AI in January 2012. In her early career, Nossel worked for Ambassador Richard Holbrooke under the Clinton Administration at the United Nations. Most recently, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State, where she was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women’s issues, public diplomacy, press and congressional relations.

TOP UK AWARD GOES TO JOURNALIST WHO EXPOSED SECRETS OF AFGHANISTAN WAR

Gareth Porter, the Washington-based journalist, has won the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism for 2012 for his investigation of US ‘killing strategy’ in Afghanistan, including the targeting of people through their mobile phones.

The judges said: ‘In a series of extraordinary articles, Gareth Porter has torn away the facades of the Obama administration and disclosed a military strategy that amounts to a war against civilians.’

The Martha Gellhorn Prize is given in honour of one of the 20th century’s greatest reporters and is awarded to a journalist ‘whose work has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda, or “official drivel”, as Martha Gellhorn called it’.

Previous winners include Robert Fisk of the Independent, Nick Davies of the Guardian, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, and the late Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times (special award).

“Buddy, Please Put Your Hood.”

By Buddy Bell

Once I did put it on, Omar motioned for me to push back some loose strands of hair still visible outside my hooded sweatshirt. Long-haired men, though a typical sight in some regions of Afghanistan, are apparently not very common in Kabul. Covered up to his satisfaction, I followed close behind as we made our second attempt to enter the university through a second gate. We slipped handily past the guardpost, and made our way into the men’s dormitory.

Omar had been visiting the community house of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, where I was a guest and partner organizer through my role as co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. In an effort to improve human conditions in Afghanistan, he is starting to build bridges between the APVs and his university classmates. It was his fifth visit to the house when he met me and offered to bring me to meet some of them.

I agreed to go with him, partly because it is a place where not many foreigners are able to go, but also because I understood he was taking some personal risks by making this invitation. In some cases in the past, congregating with foreigners on campus has been grounds for questioning by agents of the National Directorate of Security. In a country where university students expect to face a real unemployment rate between 50 and 70 percent, it shouldn’t be surprising that Afghanistan’s unpopular government would want to keep a tight lid on this potential hotbed of dissent.

As I stepped into a dorm room that in the U.S. would house 2 students, I encountered 6 bunks jammed in along 2 walls, two bureau closets and a window ledge, where a propane burner was heating water for tea. Upon learning I was a visitor from the United States, several of the students did not hesitate to practice their English and to ask me about life in the United States, what do I think about Afghanistan, and why did I come.

I told them I wanted to hear their opinions about U.S. policy in Afghanistan, in order that the U.S. public might learn what is important to Afghans. Partly as a joke, I asked if they expected the U.S. to honor its own Enduring Strategic Protection Agreement, which in article IV calls on all nations to “refrain from interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and democratic processes.”

They told me that the president, Hamid Karzai, is widely believed to remain in office only because U.S. money and manipulation fixed it that way. “The politicians take the money from the United States, and they put it right here,” said a student who gestured to his front shirt pocket. “A lot of things are improving with U.S. money, but it is not what is possible.”

“Almost all the parliamentarians, they were warlords before,” said another student. “Isn’t Karzai a former warlord, too?” I asked. “Yes, he was part of the Taliban.” I learned that the governors of each of Afghanistan’s provinces are all appointees selected by Karzai. One student suggested that instituting “federalism” would allow each province to hold their own elections and manage some of their own affairs, raising the level of democracy on the local level.

As the night went on, I visited room after room, putting my hood on each time I walked through the hallways, at one point taking a shortcut through a kitchen to avoid passing the guardpost in front. Before the night was over I might have had 10 cups of tea and 2 dinners, served on a mat on the floor of the cramped dorm room with everyone sitting around it.

Many of the students expressed their fear that a U.S. withdrawal would result in the Taliban coming back into Kabul, but they were also cognizant that the U.S. presence itself and the barbarity of many of the U.S. soldiers has been causing the resurgence of the Taliban and Hezb-e-Islami. Some of the students also brought up the fact that a U.S. presence depends on supplies coming through Pakistan, which depends on the U.S. paying off their old ISI friends, who then funnel that money back to warlords of the Haqqani network.

Later, I asked one student that if he believes U.S. troops must remain in Afghanistan as a deterrent to the Taliban, does that mean he believes the U.S. must carry out offensive maneuvers such as bombing from the air. “Of course not,” he said. “No one accepts that.” “This is the problem. They have to stop thinking ten hundred Afghan people’s lives equal one American person’s life. If they cannot guarantee the life of the Afghan people, they have no right to do the bombings or the night operations.”

The electricity went out every few hours; we continued the conversation by flashlight until it came back on. At around 2am, I was provided a space to sleep on the floor. In the morning there was another communal meal with the dorm mates before Omar and a few of his friends took me for a short walk through campus, out the main gate and back home. A goodbye from one of them still echoes in my head: “I want that you write all the truth you have seen in Afghanistan.”

The names of all people included in this article have been changed or omitted in concern for their safety.

Buddy Bell (buddy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence  www.vcnv.org

U.S. Soldier Abandoned Afghanistan War Effort, Ashamed of Lies and of Even Being American

"The future is too good to waste on lies," Bowe wrote. "And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting."

From:

America's Last Prisoner of War

Three years ago, a 23-year-old soldier walked off his base in Afghanistan and into the hands of the Taliban. Now he’s a crucial pawn in negotiations to end the war. Will the Pentagon leave a man behind?

 

Afghan Children Dead After US Air Assault: Report

NATO says only two light injuries to civilians during operation in Logar province, but local official reports at least 17 killed

- Common Dreams staff

17 civilians have been killed in a NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan, according to a local official in Logar province.

Out to the Wall

By Kathy Kelly

“On the last day of summer, ten hours before fall …

… my grandfather took me out to the wall.”

Kabul--When we arrived at the museum, two legless men wheeled themselves past us, traveling in wooden carts operated by a hand held steering device.  Inside Kabul’s OMAR museum, which houses ordnance and land mines used in Afghanistan over four decades of warfare, there were many more pictures of  legless, armless and eyeless survivors of  land mine explosions lining the walls.  The  OMAR organization  bravely collects and defuses abandoned mines and cluster bomblets before they can produce more casualties such as these (and casualties that are far, far worse) among men, women, and children in Afghanistan.

Have Afghan women made "progress" under NATO?

Amnesty International ran ads and sent a letter signed by Madeline Albright supporting the absurd claim signed by the heads of state at the NATO summit in Chicago: “In the ten years of our partnership the lives of Afghan men, women and children, have improved significantly in terms of security, education, health care, economic opportunity and the assurance of rights and freedoms. There is more to be done, but we are resolved to work together to preserve the substantial progress we have made during the past decade.”

Recent facts to the contrary include:

A Killer In the White House

 

By John Grant


“No, Charlotte, I’m the jury now. I sentence you to death.”
The roar of the .45 shook the room. Charlotte staggered back a step.
“How c-could you?” she gasped.
“It was easy.”
- Mickey Spillane, I, The Jury


Why does Congress refuse to even ask the right questions about Afghanistan?

By Nieman Watchdog

No congressional committee appears the least bit interested in what he has to say, but Army Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis --who earlier this year decided to blow the whistle on the false and intentionally misleading happy-talk the American public is hearing from the top brass about Afghanistan -- had a chance to speak his mind at a press conference on Thursday, May 31, hosted by bipartisan anti-war Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and others.

Following is the slightly edited prepared text of his remarks:

Operation Enduring Freedom: a civilian’s view

By Ian Pounds

Obama’s Empire

One thing true we can say about war is that truth is its greatest casualty.

I am a volunteer teacher. Four years ago I responded to a call from then candidate Barak Obama for a new kind of soldier to wage peace, one without a uniform, without a gun. On the three-year anniversary of my moving in with the orphans here in Afghanistan, I listened to gun battle and explosions in my Kabul neighborhood for ten hours through the night and into the morning. While CNN reported the insurgency event had ended I shook my head. “Nope,” I muttered to myself, listening to stray bullets fly over my room.

Army Whistleblower to Provide Analysis of America’s War in Afghanistan at Capitol Hill Press Conference

Members of Congress to Receive Testimony from Army Whistleblower, Experts at Panel Discussion

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC), and other Members of the House will hold a press conference in support of expedited withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on Thursday, May 31, 2012, at 2 p.m. EST. The press conference will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis, who will provide an analysis of the situation in Afghanistan that is vastly different than the one received by Congress from the Obama Administration. Lt. Col. Davis will also speak at the press conference.

One week after the NATO announcement on Afghanistan, the American people are still waiting for Congress to catch up and bring about an end to war in Afghanistan. Members of the House directed a request to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) that Lt. Col. Danny be invited to testify in a relevant hearing. Since no invitation has been forthcoming, the Members will be receiving the testimony of Lt. Col. Danny Davis at a panel discussion.

WHO: Danny Davis, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army

Ria Dellewar, Director, Afghanistan Study Group

Malou Innocent, Foreign Policy Analyst, Cato Institute

MEMBERS: U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)

U.S. Rep. John Duncan (R-TN)

U.S. Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL)

U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)

U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)

WHAT: Press Conference and Panel Discussion

WHEN: Thursday, May 31, 2012

TIME: Press conference begins at 2 p.m. EST

Panel Discussion held from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. EST

WHERE: B-318 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

MEDIA: Please RSVP to Kristal DeKleer (202) 225-1882 or kristal.dekleer at mail.house.gov

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This Memorial Day Let’s Start Caring for Our Nation’s Veterans: No More Ducking the Real Cost of US Wars!

 

By Dave Lindorff


Whether he ever said it or not, I’m going to borrow from a quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln and alter it a bit to say: “American politicians must love war veterans -- they keep making so many more of them.”


No One Hears the Poor

By Kathy Kelly

Here in Kabul, Voices co-coordinator Buddy Bell and I are guests at the home of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, (APV), where we’ve gotten to know four young boys who are being tutored by the Volunteers in the afternoons, having “retired” from their former work as street vendors in exchange for a chance to enter a public school.  Five afternoons a week, Murtaza, Rahim, Hamid and Sajad wheel their antiquated bicycles into the APV “yard.” They quickly shake the hand of each person present and then wash their feet outside the back door before settling into a classroom to study language, math and art, tutored in each subject by a different Volunteer. They've cycled here from school through heavy traffic, which worries their mothers, but the families cannot afford for the boys to take a public bus. 

MEMORIAL DAY 2012: A Lesson Not Yet Learned

 


by WALTER BRASCH


 


Today is Memorial Day, the last day of the three-day weekend. Veterans and community groups will remember those who died in battle and, as they have done for more than a century, will place small flags on graves.


But, for most of America, Memorial Day is a three-day picnic-filled weekend that heralds the start of Summer, just as Labor Day has become a three-day picnic-filled weekend that laments the end of Summer. 


 There will be memorial concerts and parades. The media, shoving aside political and celebrity news, will all have stories. Among those who will be the first to patriotically salute those who died in battle are those who enthusiastically pushed for them to go to war.

US/NATO to Stop Killing Taliban in 2014 as US Stopped Killing Vietcong in 1975

By Jay Janson

This week in Chicago, militarized politicians of wealthy nations pretended to sit in discussion of how much more death they will deal to the poorest nation on earth. In reality, they are powerless to do otherwise. Our real rulers, the elite of the community of private investment banking are whom the public should be focused on. In the meantime those who sign orders for killing in illegal wars will soon be facing prosecution

::::::::


Barack Obama thanks NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen NATO Summit by Chad J. McNeeley/Released)

Chicago, May 2012 - NATO's top military leaders, representing the now centuries old world rule by private investment banking, make a pathetic and pompous photo-op show of a supposedly tactical decision, to give up murdering Afghani citizens in their own country's homes, villages, cities and countryside after 2014.

Lies and Consequences in Our Past 15 Wars

"Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their peoples in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was their object.  This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us."--Abraham Lincoln

AFGHANISTAN

Prior to 2001, the Taliban was willing to turn Osama bin Laden over to a third country if he was promised a fair trial and no death penalty, and if some evidence of his guilt of crimes were offered.  In 2001, the Taliban warned the United States that bin Laden was planning an attack on American soil.  In July 2001 the United States was known to have plans to take military action against the Taliban by mid-October. 

When the United States attacked Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, the Taliban again offered to negotiate for the handing over of bin Laden. When President George W. Bush refused, the Taliban dropped its demand for evidence of guilt and offered simply to turn bin Laden over to a third country.  Bush rejected this offer and continued bombing.  At a March 13, 2002, press conference, Bush said of bin Laden "I truly am not that concerned about him."[i] When President Barack Obama announced, in May 2011, that he had killed bin Laden, the war didn't even slow down.

Turnabout is Fair Play: Proud to Be an Extortionist!

 

By Yasmeen Ali

Lahore -- US Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), the chair and ranking minority member respectively of the Senate Armed Services Committee, say the US must not pay $5000 per truck as demanded by Pakistan, for supplies being shipped through this country to American troops in Afghanistan. McCain went further, calling the Pakistni demand “extortion.”

Afghanistan Good Enough: When All Else Fails, Lower Your Standards

 

By John Grant

 

If all else fails, lower your standards.

 

This has been my philosophy for years. My wife likes to joke it’s how she picked me; instead of prince charming, I’m “prince somewhat-charming.” So you can imagine how delighted I am that the United States of America and its NATO military allies have decided to apply that philosophy to US foreign policy in Afghanistan.

They're calling their version “Afghanistan Good Enough.”

Amnesty International Backs Mass Murder

Has Amnesty Intl. Gone Mad? It Cheers NATO

The Struggle

 

NATO feminism (32K)


War Criminal Albright Leads Amnesty Intl Program to Ask Justice From NATO for Afghan Women

Amnesty Letter to Obama and Karzai
 

"we are deeply concerned that the significant gains made by women and girls in Afghanistan may be threatened as U.S. and allied troops leave the country."

Bizarre List of Signatories, from Madeleine Albright to Yoko Ono

Where is Amnesty International's head? Karzai represenents the other faction of Afghan women despisers, the Warloards who were so disgusting in the early '90's that the Taliban women despisers looked good by comparison. And the US government stands by Karzai 100%.

For a different point of view see what Afghan women in RAWA are saying

Apathy and Inconvenience- Opinions about Protest

By Joshua Brollier

I feel compelled to comment on a few things I have heard in the past week during the lead up to and duration of NATO protests here in Chicago.  Mainly, I feel disheartened by the way the media and consumerism have shaped national opinion and attitude when it comes to these specific anti-NATO demonstrations. Two friends of mine, whom I highly respect in other aspects both personally and professionally, have made comments that seem to echo too much of the hysteria and general misunderstanding as to why people are protesting and what being a participant in a social movement entails.  

No Country for Young Men as Old Men Play for Time: The End in Afghanistan is Totally Predictable

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

John Kerry, back before he was a pompous windsurfing Senate apologist for American empire, back when he wore his hair long and was part of a movement of returned US military veterans speaking out against the continuation of the Vietnam War, famously asked the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing, “How do you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?”

 

That was 1971, and the Vietnam War continued to drag on for two more years, with more Americans dying, and with many more Vietnamese being killed, until finally the last US combat troops were gone. But even then the fighting continued, with the Army of South Vietnam armed and financed by the United States, until April 30, 1975, when the last resistance ended and Vietnam was liberated and reunified and finally at peace.

Ending the Mindset That Gets Us into War

 

MAY 20, 2012, MILITARIZED CHICAGO -- Next month in Baltimore they're going to celebrate the War of 1812.  That's what we do with wars.  We say they're the last resort.  We say they're hell.  We say they're for the purpose of eliminating themselves: we fight wars for peace.  Although we never keep peace for wars.  We claim to wage only wars we have been forced into despite all possible effort to find a better way.  And then we celebrate the wars.  We keep the wars going for their own sake after all the excuses we used to get them started have expired.  The WMDs have not been found.  Osama bin Laden's been killed.  Al Qaeda is gone from the country where we're fighting it.  Nobody's threatening Benghazi anymore.  But the wars must go on!  And then we'll celebrate them.  And we'll celebrate the old ones too, the ones that were fought here, the ones that were in their day not quite so heavily painted as last resorts or humanitarian missions. 

 

Last year Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee persuaded Congress to create an Iraq-Afghanistan Wars holiday.  It's on our calendars now along with Loyalty Day (formerly May Day), Veterans Day (formerly Armistice Day), Memorial Day, Yellow Ribbon Day, Patriots Day, Independence Day, Flag Day, Pearl Harbor Day, and of course September 11th, among many others.  Last week there was an Armed Forces Spouses Appreciation Day.  The military holiday calendar is like the Catholic saints' days now: there's something every day of the year. 

 

But there's no celebration of the times we avoided war. We claim to prefer peace to war, but we don't make heroes of those presidents or Congresses who most avoided war.  In fact, we erase them.  Our history books jump from war to war as if nothing happened in between.  Nobody celebrates 1811, only 1812.  Even the peace movement doesn't celebrate the past decade's prevention, thus far, of a war on Iran.

Lee Opposes National Defense Reauthorization Bill

Lee Calls for Cuts to Bloated Pentagon Budget, Swift Withdrawal from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) was one of 120 Members of Congress to vote against H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Lee offered amendments to the bill which would safely and responsibly bring our troops home from Afghanistan, keep Pentagon spending within the limits of the Budget Control Act, and ensure that a meaningful diplomatic option with Iran is on the table.

Lee introduced an amendment to enforce the terms of the Budget Control Act which was signed into law on August 2, 2011, to avert a government shutdown.  Congress voted to limit Pentagon spending, but the House Republican leadership proposal spends$8 billion more than allowed under the Budget Control Act.  The bi-partisan amendment was not adopted (170-252). 

113 in House Vote to End War on Afghanistan -- How Many Will Vote Against the NDAA?

Lee amendment for swift withdrawal from Afghanistan falls short in House vote

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced an amendment to H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that would bring about a responsible and immediate end to the war in Afghanistan. The amendment would end combat operations at the same time it protects troops by requiring that any dollar directed to Afghanistan could only be spent for the safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors.  The amendment did not pass the House (113-303).

“The American people have overwhelmingly come to the conclusion that our brave men and women in uniform have accomplished all that we have asked of them and it is time to bring them home from Afghanistan,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “My amendment provided Members of the House the opportunity to stand squarely with the war-weary American people.  I am disappointed that a majority of House Members did not stand with seven out of ten Americans who oppose the war in Afghanistan.”

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Lee was joined by 100 Members of the House, including five Republicans, in sending a letter to President Obama urging an expedited withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan n advance of the NATO summit. 

“Our brave troops have done everything that was asked of them,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “With almost two thousand U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan, and many tens of thousands more maimed with injuries both hidden and visible, we must recognize that the boots on the ground strategy in Afghanistan is not working.  After 11 long years of war, I will continue to work to bring the troops home from Afghanistan.”     

###

Today’s House Floor speech: here

Link to letter to President Obama: here

Text of the Lee Amendment:

AMENDMENT TO H.R. 4310, AS REPORTED

OFFERED BY MS. LEE OF CALIFORNIA

At the end of subtitle B of title XII of division A of the bill, add the following:

Sec. 12xx. LIMITATION ON FUNDS FOR OPERATIONS OF THE ARMED FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN.

            (a) IN GENERAL --- Funds made available to carry out this Act for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated an expended only for purpose of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan.

            (b) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION --- Nothing in this section shall be construed –

(1)   To authorize the use of funds for the continuation of combat operations in Afghanistan while carrying out the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan; and

(2)   To prohibit or otherwise restrict the use of funds available to any department or agency of the United States to carry out diplomatic efforts or humanitarian, development, or general reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.

If Anyone Was Going to Vote Against War Authorization and Funding It'd Be These 91 Congress Members. Don't Hold Your Breath.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Urges Congress to End the War in Afghanistan

Lee leads bi-partisan group of 91 Representatives in penning letter to President 

WASHINGTON – Today 91 Members of the House of Representatives, led by Barbara Lee (D-CA), sent a letter to President Obama urging an expedited withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan.  Ninety Members of the House of Representatives signed the letter, including four Republicans.  The Congresswoman was joined by a dozen colleagues at a morning press conference. 

“Today, I am announcing that 90 Members of Congress are joining me in requesting that President Obama expedite our troops’ return and speed up the transition to having Afghans in charge of Afghanistan,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “The American people have overwhelmingly come to the conclusion that our brave men and women in uniform have accomplished all that we have asked of them and it is time to bring them home from Afghanistan.”

Today, the House of Representatives is scheduled to begin debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which provides war funding, at the same time President Obama prepares for the NATO summit in Chicago.  The bi-partisan group of Members outlined the need to make a change in policy in Afghanistan.

“I believe that it is time for Members of Congress to stand with seven out of ten Americans who oppose the war in Afghanistan,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “There is no military solution in Afghanistan, which is why I am pushing Republican leadership to allow me to offer an amendment to the NDAA that would bring about a responsible and immediate end to the war in Afghanistan.  The amendment would end combat operations while protecting our troops by ensuring that any dollar directed to Afghanistan can only be spent for the safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors.”  

Congresswoman Lee was joined by Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), Ron Paul (R-TX), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Janice Hahn (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-NY), and James McGovern (D-MA).  Congresswoman Lee thanked her colleagues for joining her at the press conference, noting that “the silence on Capitol Hill on this issue has been deafening.” 

 

###

 

Link to press release with photo here.

Copy of letter below:

 

May 16, 2012

 

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC  20500

 

Dear President Obama:

Earlier this month you visited Afghanistan to sign a Strategic Partnership Agreement.  As you stated at Bagram Air Base, “this time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” The core of al Qaeda has been greatly reduced in size and ability to attack Americans. Our brave men and women in uniform have done everything that we have asked of them. With over 17,000 dead and wounded U.S. servicemen and women, and long term costs estimated at $4 trillion for the past decade of unfunded wars, the overwhelming majority of American people want to bring the war in Afghanistan to an expedited end.

While many of us would prefer an immediate full withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is broad, bipartisan consensus in Congress and across America that it is time to accelerate the transition from U.S. to full Afghan control.  We also remind you that any agreement committing U.S. troops to Afghanistan must have congressional approval to be binding.

Therefore, at the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, we ask that you announce an accelerated transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government and security forces and the expedited withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan as quickly as these can be safely and responsibly accomplished.


Sincerely,
Members of Congress

Current Signers (91): Adam Smith, Becerra, Baldwin, Bass, Blumenauer, Boswell, Braley, Campbell, Capps, Castor, Chu, Cicilline, Yvette Clarke, Clay, Cleaver, Clyburn, Cohen, Conyers, Costello, Courtney, Cummings, John Duncan, DeFazio, DeLauro, Edwards, Ellison, Farr, Filner, Frank, Garamendi, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hahn, Hanabusa, Alcee Hastings, Heinrich, Hinchey, Holt, Honda, Jackson Jr., Eddie Bernice Johnson, Hank Johnson, Tim Johnson, Kucinich, Rick Larsen, John Larson, Barbara Lee, Lewis, Loebsack, Lofgren, Lujan, Maloney, Markey, McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, Michaud, George Miller, Moran, Moore, Chris Murphy, Nadler, Napolitano, Olver, Pastor, Paul, Pingree, Polis, Quigley, Rangel, Richardson, Rush, Loretta Sanchez, Schakowsky, Schiff, Serrano, Sherman, Sires, Slaughter, Speier, Stark, Mike Thompson, Tierney, Tonko, Towns, Tsongas, Velazquez, Waters, Watt, Waxman, Welch, Woolsey, Yarmuth.

Here Are 87 Congress Members Claiming to Want Out of Afghanistan: Guess How Many Will Vote for Bill That Funds Staying

Current Co-Signers (86): Adam Smith, Bacerra, Baldwin, Bass, Blumenauer, Boswell, Braley, Capps, Castor, Chu, Cicilline, Yvette Clarke, Clay, Cleaver, Clyburn, Cohen, Conyers, Costello, Courtney, John Duncan, DeFazio, DeLauro, Edwards, Ellison, Farr, Filner, Frank, Garamendi, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hahn, Hanabusa, Alcee Hastings, Heinrich, Hinchey, Holt, Honda, Jackson Jr., Eddie Bernice Johnson, Hank Johnson, Tim Johnson, Kucinich, Rick Larsen, John Larson, Lewis, Loebsack, Lofgren, Lujan, Maloney, McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, Michaud, George Miller, Moran, Moore, Chris Murphy, Nadler, Napolitano, Olver, Pastor, Paul, Pingree, Polis, Rangel, Richardson, Rush, Loretta Sanchez, Schakowsky, Serrano, Sherman, Slaughter, Speier, Stark, Mike Thompson, Tierney, Tonko, Towns, Tsongas, Waters, Watt, Waxman, Welch, Woolsey, Yarmuth.

Lead Signer: Barbara Lee

Members of Congress Urge Expedited Withdrawal from Afghanistan  

Washington, D.C.Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Members of Congress from both political parties will hold a press conference in support of expedited withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. EST.  As President Obama prepares to address the NATO summit, Members will address the growing opposition among Americans and announce the opening of a letter to be delivered to the President urging expedited withdrawal.  Eighty-seven Members of the House have signed the letter, including 4 Republicans. 

WHO:              U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

                        U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)

                        U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)

U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)

                        U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL)

                        U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

U.S. Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)

                        U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

                        U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA)

           

WHAT:             Press Conference

 

WHEN:             Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. EST

 

WHERE:           HVC-117, Studio B


Members of Congress Urge Expedited Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Washington, D.C.Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Members of Congress from both political parties will hold a press conference in support of expedited withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. EST.  As President Obama prepares to address the NATO summit, Members will address the growing opposition among Americans and announce the opening of a letter to be delivered to the President urging expedited withdrawal.  Seventy nine Members of the House have signed the letter, including 4 Republicans. 

 

WHO:              U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

                        U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)

                        U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)

U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)

U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL)

                        U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

U.S. Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)

                        U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

                        U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA)

 

WHAT:             Press Conference

 

WHEN:             Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. EST

 

WHERE:           HVC-117, Studio B, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.

 

###

 

Copy of the letter, signed by 79 Members of the House including 4 Republicans:

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC  20500

Dear President Obama:

Earlier this month you visited Afghanistan to sign a Strategic Partnership Agreement.  As you stated at Bagram Air Base, “this time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” The core of al Qaeda has been greatly reduced in size and ability to attack Americans. Our brave men and women in uniform have done everything that we have asked of them. With over 17,000 dead and wounded U.S. servicemen and women, and long term costs estimated at $4 trillion for the past decade of unfunded wars, the overwhelming majority of American people want to bring the war in Afghanistan to an expedited end.

While many of us would prefer an immediate full withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is broad, bipartisan consensus in Congress and across America that it is time to accelerate the transition from U.S. to full Afghan control.  We also remind you that any agreement committing U.S. troops to Afghanistan must have congressional approval to be binding.

Therefore, at the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, we ask that you announce an accelerated transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government and security forces and the expedited withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan as quickly as these can be safely and responsibly accomplished.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

American officials want to sell you Afghan progress

Originally posted at Bullets and Ballots  and  FireDogLake

By: Philippe Duhart

It seems to be almost a historical inevitably: American military leaders and government officials cannot help themselves when it comes to optimistic statements about “progress” in a war zone. We saw it in Vietnam and in Iraq; and we’re witness to it time and again concerning Afghanistan.

Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General John Allen are currently tasked with selling progress in a shitty situation. The Independent:

Americans Love a Good Killer

 

 

By John Grant

 

The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer.
- D.H. Lawrence

The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations … where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket … where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practicing.
- Raymond Chandler
 
 
American pop culture is certainly not unique in having a love affair with killers. Since the first cave man cracked his neighbor’s head open to control a water hole, eliminating others has been top on the list of problem-solving techniques.

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