Preventing Afghan Quagmire: Supporting Congressional Opponents of the War

March 12, 2009
Dear chevra,

More than a month ago, I wrote you that the new Administration was veering close to an old lethal mistake – trying to occupy Afghanistan, a policy that shattered the Soviet Empire and regime and deeply weakened the British Empire. Since then, President Obama has taken one more extremely dangerous step: deciding to send 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

As a result, a growing number of Members of Congress – of both parties -- are also questioning troop escalation in Afghanistan. They have written a letter of serious questions to the President. It's important that we support them!

In my previous letter (see )

I included an interview by Bill Moyers of several experts on Afghani politics and society. You might want to reread that. It focused on the impossibility of controlling all of Afghani society, while examining the possibility of laser-beam dealing with Al Qaeda.

Besides their critique, take into account what an escalating Afghani war will mean to the creative efforts the president is proposing for rebirthing American society. Our ability to do both is far more limited today than Lyndon Johnson's ability was to pursue the Vietnam War and the Great Society at the same time. His failure has damaged America for 40 years. Moyers, who was LBJ's press secretary, learned a lot from that failure.

So from our deepest values of protecting human life and liberty, and strengthening the communities of compassion, trying to control Afghanistan is a practical and ethical misstep.

Please contact your own Representative and ask him/her to sign on to the Congressional Letter to Obama that asks him to reconsider the escalation of 17,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Here's how you do it:

Click to –

where you will find a very brief letter ready to go to your own Congressmember. If you want to modify the text, you can. (Make sure your "click" includes the whole address, including "28683" at the end.)

The deadline for Congressmembers to add signatures is tomorrow, Friday, March 13th -- so please write right away! Any Member of Congress may sign on to the letter by contacting Rep. Walter Jones or his staffer, John Thomas, at (202) 225-3415.

Thanks for living up to your responsibility as an aware and caring citizen,

Blessings of shalom, salaam, peace -- Arthur

Excerpts from the Congressional letter:

Dear Mr. President:

We have noted with some concern your announcement that an additional 17,000 US troops would be sent to Afghanistan. As the goals of our seven year military involvement remain troublingly unclear, we urge you to reconsider such a military escalation.

If the intent is to leave behind a stable Afghanistan capable of governing itself, this military escalation may well be counterproductive. A recent study by the Carnegie Endowment has concluded that "the only meaningful way to halt the insurgency's momentum is to start withdrawing troops. The presence of foreign troops is the most important element driving the resurgence of the Taliban."

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.

Representative Neil Abercrombie (D-HI 1st)
Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD-6th)
Representative Walter Jones, Jr. (R-NC 3rd)
Representative Steve Kagen (D-WI-8th)
Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH 10th)
Representative Ron E. Paul (R-TX 14th)
Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY-1st)
Representative Lynn Woolsey (D-CA 6th)