The U.S. occupation of Afghanistan has reached its “sell-by…” date.
A majority of Americans now tell pollsters the mission was a mistake.Ninety-eight members of the House – including liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans – have cosponsored Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern’s resolution asking the Pentagon to develop an exit strategy.
Unfortunately, the generals who run wars, and the defense contractors who profit from them, want to keep U.S. troops on the ground in that distant land. And President Obama is under pressure to surge tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops into “the graveyard of empires.”
The people have wisely turned against an occupation that has cost the United States too many lives and too many hundreds of billions of dollars while only making a bad situation worse for the Afghan people — especially, according to feminists in Kabul, women.
Unfortunately, the people do not have the power to end wars that they know have gone awry.
So it falls to Congress to demand an exit strategy.
We’ll explore the efforts to do that on Friday night in Manhattan, when Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and I join Congressman McGovern for a forum and film screening with filmmaker Robert Greenwald, director of Rethink Afghanistan.
Ramping up support for McGovern’s resolution is Job 1 in the struggle to bring the troops home and cede responsibility for Afghanistan to the people who live there – perhaps with an assist from an international entity, such as the United Nations, that can offer peacekeeping and development aid.
The deeper questions raised by the Afghan imbroglio will be explored Friday and Saturday in Washington, where the “Who Decides About War?” conference on war powers, law and democracy is being held at the Georgetown Law School.
The conference is a project of Ben Manski and the Liberty Tree Foundation — a think tank that actually thinks about new ways to address fundamental issues — and the “Bring the Guard Home! It’s the Law” campaign. With backing from the National Lawyers Guild at Georgetown Law School, Veterans for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Democrats.com, the Institute for Policy Studies, After Downing Street, CODEPINK-Women for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the National Coalition for Nonviolent Resistance, Peace Action USA and Progressive Democrats of America, the “Who Decides About War?” call notes, correctly, that, “The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have revived and deepened longstanding questions about how and by whom war and peace should be decided under our Constitution and in faith with our democratic aspirations.”