End Wars Issue Committee Statement on War in Afghanistan and Drone Bombings in Pakistan

January, 2010Afghan Veteran Card

WILPF urges the U.S. Congress and all respective government departments to rescind a policy on continuing and escalating a dangerous war and occupation in Afghanistan, announced by President Obama in his December 1 speech at West Point This path of escalation is inflicting "collateral" damage on a civilian population and propping up a corrupt government.  This escalation now includes  CIA –operated drone (pilotless) aircraft attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan,  attacks which are war crimes forbidden by Nuremburg and the Army Field Manual. We condemn the possible further destabilization of the entire region, including Iraq, Yemen and Iran for the stated goal of capturing Al-Qaeda members and destroying the network. This endless war is killing civilians and military personnel on all sides in the war and becomes a recuiting tool for Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The Taliban, whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan, is not a direct military threat to the United States.

In the present war the U.S. is adopting a "guns not butter" policy, making war while undermining our ability to devote the resources needed to make the economic reforms so urgently needed at home. On top of a record $708 billion request for Defense Department funds for next year, President Obama requested another $33 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

The cost of employing one U.S. soldier is $1 million per year, in addition to money for equipment, for private contractors and for war-making materials.  In addition is the money needed to provide medical and mental health support for the injured soldiers who return to the U.S.   

WILPF  urges a different Afghanistan policy that includes a full, early, and orderly withdrawal of U.S. military forces and private contractors, closing Bagram prison , and a relinquishment of any project for permanent U.S. bases.  We further condemn the US and NATO military incursion  including drone aircraft bombings on the border and within Pakistan and in Afghanistan. End the occupation of Iraq. The U.S. must close Guantanamo and Bagram prisons and provide justice for all inmates being held. Torture must be prohibited according to international law.

What is needed is a major United Nations diplomatic initiative designed to get Afghanistan's regional neighbors to join in setting a disengagement timetable.  Economic assistance to Afghani  civil society would  help to alleviate some of the conditions that draw people to the Taliban and Al Qaeda. We  support Gen. McChrystal’s proposal for a negotiated peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan, leading to a truly equitable solution to how the Afghan people govern themselves. Women must be involved at all levels in the process, as legally mandated by UNSCR 1325.

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