UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

April 10, 2009

AF-PAK WAR

From a letter to the president by a group of congress members and activist leaders.

The 2001 authorization to use military force in Afghanistan allowed military action "to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States." Continuing to fight a counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan does not appear to us to be in keeping with these directives and an escalation may actually harm US security.

In a tape released in 2004, Osama bin Laden stated that al Qaedas' goal was to "bleed. . . America to the point of bankruptcy" in Afghanistan. He continued, "All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note." We would do well to pay attention to these threats and to avoid falling into any such trap through escalation of our military presence in Afghanistan.

We are also concerned that any perceived military success in Afghanistan might create pressure to increase military activity in Pakistan. This could very well lead to dangerous destabilization in the region and would increase hostility toward the United States.

Mr. President, in reviewing the past history of Afghanistan and the nations that have failed to conquer it -- Russia spent nine years in Afghanistan and lost many billions of dollars and more than 15,000 Russian soldiers-- we urge you to reconsider the decision to send an additional 17,000 troops and to resist pressure to escalate even further.

Wall Street Journal - President Barack Obama plans to request new funding from Congress for the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he risks a backlash from antiwar lawmakers. . . I can't imagine any way I'd vote for it," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a California Democrat and leader in the 77-member congressional Progressive Caucus. It would be her first major break with this White House. Ms. Woolsey fears the president's plan for Iraq would leave behind a big occupation force. She is also concerned about the planned escalation in Afghanistan. "I don't think we should be going there," she said.

Similar sentiments echo across the House. Rep. Jim McGovern (D., Mass.) said he fears Afghanistan could become a quagmire. "I just have this sinking feeling that we're getting deeper and deeper into a war that has no end," he said.

Rep. John Conyers (D., Mich.) dismissed Mr. Obama's plans as "embarrassingly naive," and suggested that the president is being led astray by those around him. "He's the smartest man in American politics today," Rep. Conyers said. "But he occasionally gets bad advice and makes mistakes. This is one of those instances."

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "smartest man in American politics today" is "embarrassingly naive" about more than just 'AfPak', Mr. Conyers. But you're with him on the idea of this country's spending its way out of debt.

April 11, 2009 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some silly-ass huckster who complies with financial gangsters and professional warmongering parasites is the smartest man in american politics today?... or just the idol of the dumbest motherfuckers in american politics today?

April 13, 2009 10:16 PM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

"the idol [of some] of the DMIAP today" would be my guess.

I say "some" because there are plenty who hate him on a partisan rather than thoughtful basis, just as the other DMIAPs idolise him in an equally unthinking way.

April 17, 2009 11:20 AM  

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