[R-G] Biggest State Party to Obama: Get Out of Afghanistan
shniad at gmail.com
Tue Nov 17 17:39:55 MST 2009
November 16, 2009
*Biggest State Party to Obama: Get Out of Afghanistan*
This week begins with a significant new straw in the political wind for
President Obama to consider. The California Democratic Party has just sent
him a formal and clear message: Stop making war in Afghanistan.
Overwhelmingly approved on Sunday by the California Democratic Party’s
300-member statewide executive board, the resolution is titled "End the U.S.
Occupation and Air War in Afghanistan."
The resolution supports "a timetable for withdrawal of our military
personnel" and calls for "an end to the use of mercenary contractors as well
as an end to air strikes that cause heavy civilian casualties." Advocating
multiparty talks inside Afghanistan, the resolution also urges Obama "to
oversee a redirection of our funding and resources to include an increase in
humanitarian and developmental aid."
While Obama weighs Afghanistan policy options, the California Democratic
Party’s adoption of the resolution is the most tangible indicator yet that
escalation of the U.S. war effort can only fuel opposition within the
president’s own party – opposition that has already begun to erode his
Participating in a long-haul struggle for progressive principles inside the
party, I co-authored the resolution with savvy longtime activists Karen
Bernal of Sacramento and Marcy Winograd of Los Angeles.
Bernal, the chair of the state party’s Progressive Caucus, said on Sunday
night: "Today’s vote formalized and amplified what had been, up to now, an
unspoken but profoundly understood reality – that there is no military
solution in Afghanistan. What’s more, the vote signified an acceptance of
what is sure to be a continued and growing culture of resistance to current
administration policies on the matter within the party. This is absolutely
huge. Now, there can be no disputing the fact that the overwhelming majority
of California Democrats are not only saying no to escalation, but no to our
continued military presence in Afghanistan, period. The California
Democratic Party has spoken, and we want the rest of the country to know."
Winograd, who is running hard as a grassroots candidate in a primary race
against pro-war incumbent Rep. Jane Harman, had this to say: "We need
progressives in every state Democratic Party to pass a similar resolution
calling for an end to the U.S. occupation and air war in Afghanistan. Bring
the veterans to the table, bring our young into the room, and demand an end
to this occupation that only destabilizes the region. There is no military
solution, only a diplomatic one that requires we cease our role as occupiers
if we want our voices to be heard. Yes, this is about Afghanistan – but it’s
also about our role in the world at large. Do we want to be global occupiers
seizing scarce resources, or global partners in shared prosperity? I would
argue a partnership is not only the humane choice, but also the choice that
grants us the greatest security."
Speaking to the resolutions committee of the state party on Saturday, former
Marine corporal Rick Reyes movingly described his experiences as a warrior
in Afghanistan that led him to question and then oppose what he now
considers to be an illegitimate U.S. occupation of that country.
Another voice of disillusionment reached party delegates when Bernal
distributed a copy of the recent resignation letter from senior U.S.
diplomat Matthew Hoh, sent after five months of work on the ground in
Afghanistan. "I find specious the reasons we ask for bloodshed and sacrifice
from our young men and women in Afghanistan," he wrote. "If honest, our
stated strategy of securing Afghanistan to prevent al-Qaeda resurgence or
regrouping would require us to additionally invade and occupy western
Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, etc. Our presence in Afghanistan has only
increased destabilization and insurgency in Pakistan where we rightly fear a
toppled or weakened Pakistani government may lose control of its nuclear
Hoh’s letter added that "I do not believe any military force has ever been
tasked with such a complex, opaque, and Sisyphean mission as the U.S.
military has received in Afghanistan." And he wrote: "Thousands of our men
and women have returned home with physical and mental wounds, some that will
never heal or will only worsen with time. The dead return only in bodily
form to be received by families who must be reassured their dead have
sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost, love vanished, and promised
dreams unkept. I have lost confidence such assurances can anymore be made."
>From their own vantage points, many of the California Democratic Party
leaders who voted to approve the out-of-Afghanistan resolution on Nov. 15
have gone through a similar process. They’ve come to see the touted reasons
for the U.S. war effort as specious, the mission as Sisyphean, and the
consequences as profoundly unacceptable.
Sometime in the next few days, President Obama is likely to learn that the
California Democratic Party has approved an official resolution titled "End
the U.S. Occupation and Air War in Afghanistan." But will he really get the
More information about the Rad-Green