This monthly feature was conceived by writer and Nation editorial board member Walter Mosley as a do-it-yourself opinion and action device. “Ten Things” offers recommendations for accomplishing a desired political or social end, sometimes highlighting unknown issues. The online version includes links to websites, books and other resources. Readers who have ideas to propose should e-mail us at NationTenThings@gmail.com.
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The war in Afghanistan is a quagmire bordering on a catastrophe. With a current price tag of $2 billion a month, this drawn-out conflict took the lives of 155 American soldiers and 2,118 Afghan civilians last year–the bloodiest year of the war to date. Western airstrikes alone killed 522 civilians, fueling hostility toward the United States and causing more Afghans to join and support the Taliban insurgency that has spread into Pakistan. President Obama has escalated our military presence by committing an additional 17,000 US troops and 4,000 trainers to work with Afghan security forces. Where is the public outcry? The Nation and Z.P. Heller, editorial director of Brave New Films, have put together a list of things you can do to oppose the war.
Watch parts one and two of Brave New Films’ documentary Rethink Afghanistan, which explores many fundamental questions.
Read up on the war. Anand Gopal‘s coverage for the Christian Science Monitor has been insightful; see also Ann Jones’s Kabul in Winter and articles like Gilles Dorronsoro’s “Focus and Exit: An Alternative Strategy for the Afghan War”. The Nation‘s own Robert Dreyfuss has more “For Your Reading Pleasure.”
Check out the coalition of bloggers and activists seeking nonmilitary alternatives to escalation at Get Afghanistan Right.
Demand Congressional oversight hearings. It is Congress’s duty to challenge policy-makers and inform the public about everything from the overall mission to the efficiency of military agencies. Sign a petition calling on Senator John Kerry and Representative Howard Berman to hold hearings immediately.
What question would you ask at a Congressional hearing on Afghanistan? Take a video of yourself or a friend asking your question and e-mail it to Brave New Foundation via YouTube. For help on recording and uploading your video to YouTube, watch the tutorial video and follow the Quick Capture instructions and then go to Rethink Afghanistan to submit the video.
Contact your senators and representative directly to demand Congressional oversight hearings. If you can’t visit their offices, a phone call or e-mail to voice your opinion can be just as effective.
Write to your local paper’s editorial board and your favorite political blogs to raise concerns about the war. Don’t let the mainstream media remain silent as they did before the Iraq War!
Support anti-escalation Afghan groups working for women’s rights and social justice. You can aid organizations like the Afghan Women’s Mission, MADRE and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) by buying them equipment from their Amazon “wish list” that helps them document and spread the news about their efforts. Stay updated with the Afghan Women’s Mission newswire.
Join the Campus Antiwar Network and hold teach-ins, debates, talks, demonstrations and walkouts on college campuses across the country.
Get involved in the peace movement with groups like Win Without War and Peace Action West, which are devoted to finding nonviolent alternatives to military escalation in Afghanistan. Follow Peace Action West on Twitter.
CONCEIVED by WALTER MOSLEY
with research by Rae Gomes