It's time to end the Afghanistan occupation
The reality on the ground is that the longer we stay in Afghanistan, the more damage we create … It’s time for us to get out. - Graham Clumpner, former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2006.
Members of the Afghanistan Veterans Against the War committee of IVAW are speaking out about the recent massacre of at least 16 Afghan civilians by a U.S. Army staff sergeant in a Kandahar village. They see the incident as just the latest example of the U.S./NATO failed military strategy in Afghanistan and are calling on elected officials to stop funding the war, which now costs taxpayers between $1 and $2 billion per week.
Take action with Afghanistan Veterans Against the War and other veterans by:
- Send a letter to the editor of your local paper condemning the massacre and calling for an end to our occupation in Afghanistan.
- See if your member of Congress is a co-sponsor of H.R. 780 sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), which calls for an end to funding of our troops in Afghanistan except for the sole purposes of their withdrawal. If your rep has already co-sponsored, thank them. If not, urge them to co-sponsor using our easy online tool. This is the first step in getting this bill re-introduced in Congress.
Clumpner and his fellow Afghanistan war veterans believe that this incident is not a case of one ‘bad apple’ but the effect of a continued U.S. military policy of drone strikes, night raids, and helicopter attacks where Afghan civilians pay the price. This policy, they believe, undermines any hope for stability in Afghanistan. Instead, Brock Mcintosh, who served in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard from 2008 to 2009 says, “We should be supporting diplomatic and humanitarian efforts involving players from the entire region, and with Afghan women at the table.” Brock returned to Afghanistan on a civilian peace mission last summer and met with Afghan groups organizing nonviolently for peaceful change. “There needs to be space for Afghan civil society to effectively apply nonviolent political pressure from the bottom-up without interference from outsiders.”
Emerging information on the accused 38 year old Army staff sergeant places him on his fourth deployment and with a documented Traumatic Brain Injury.# As Clumpner sees it, “We are sending soldiers back to war who are clearly not mentally fit, by the military’s own regulations. Too many of our soldiers need mental health care and do not have access to it. An active duty soldier kills themselves every 36 hours. This is no excuse for what happened in Kandahar, but it’s a reality.”
Afghanistan was sold to the American public as the “good war” and was contrasted by President Obama to Iraq - what he termed a “dumb war.” But in its 11th year, many veterans question the mission, and intractable problems remain, not the least of which is the impoverishment of the majority of the Afghan people. “When I was there, I saw terrible poverty that wasn’t changing by what we were doing,” says Alejandro Villatoro, of the Army Reserves, who returned from Afghanistan in August 2011. He questions whether there is a military solution to what he sees as largely a humanitarian problem. The UN estimates that 42% of Afghans live in extreme poverty, 23% of Afghans have access to clean water and only 24% of those above age 15 are literate.
These veterans hope that the Kandahar massacre will be a turning point in the U.S. occupation. They are heartened by the recent report released by the whistleblower Lt. Col. Daniel Davis and the hope that other veterans are moved to speak out. “It’s time to face the reality that the Afghanistan war is lost and over,” says Clumpner. “Our political leaders haven't gotten the memo yet.”
Please take action now:
Send a letter to the editor of your local paper condemning the massacre and calling for an end to our occupation in Afghanistan.
See if your member of Congress is a co-sponsor of H.R. 780 sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), which calls for an end to funding of our troops in Afghanistan except for the sole purposes of their withdrawal. If your rep has already co-sponsored, thank them. If not, urge them to co-sponsor using our easy online tool. This is the first step in getting this bill re-introduced in Congress.