[pjw] INFO: Op-Ed by Rep. Jim McGovern and John Isaacs on Afghanistan | Council for a Livable World 2/5

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Mon Feb 15 12:09:46 EST 2016

This was written last week by Mass. Rep Jim McGovern and the Council for a 
Livable World. A very solid call to, as we put it last October, "end these 
endless wars."
dan h
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Date: Mon, 8 Feb 2016 17:34:13 -0800  From: Lloyd Marbet

   Op-Ed by Rep. Jim McGovern and John Isaacs on Afghanistan War
February 5, 2016

         America Cannot Afford an Endless War in Afghanistan
/By Jim McGovern and John Isaacs/

President Obama never wanted an endless war in Afghanistan, but that is
exactly what America is currently facing.

Just last week, the /Washington Post/ reported
that “Top U.S. military commanders… are now quietly talking about an
American commitment that could keep thousands of troops in the country
for decades.”

President Obama previously promised to have American troops out of
Afghanistan by the time he left office, but last October he announced
that the U.S. will keep close to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan through
most of 2016 and retain 5,500 soldiers there by the time he leaves
office. Now, keeping substantial numbers of U.S. troops in Afghanistan
indefinitely is on the table.

After decades of war, the United States learned the hard way that we
could exit Vietnam and be stronger for it. A perpetual war in Indochina
ended when we were chased out, with helicopters rescuing Americans from

Today in Afghanistan, we are at a crossroads similar to the one we faced
in Vietnam. We must remember the lessons we learned and stop Afghanistan
from becoming another endless war.

In Afghanistan, there is no clear end game and no clear formula for
success. This is the longest war in our country’s history and another
five or 10 or 25 years are not likely to bring about democracy, a stable
government or a definitive end to the Taliban’s threat to Kabul.

The simple truth is that there is no military solution to the crisis in
Afghanistan, only a political solution. And only the Afghan people
themselves can determine the fate of their future. Simply perpetuating
our military presence there is not the answer and more must be done to
support the latest round of proposed peace talks with the Taliban to lay
the foundation for lasting regional stability.

We must embrace a smart, forward-thinking approach and work with our
military leaders to create a clear plan to finally bring our troops
home. U.S. forces are currently deployed in an astounding 147 countries
across the world. Stretching our military so thin is not the right way

Looking at the world today, we know that we face real threats, but we
also know that smart and strong American leadership starts with a
clear-eyed approach that recognizes that another endless war is not the
way to keep our country safe and strengthen global security.

We have seen the power of American diplomacy with the leadership of
President Obama and Secretary Kerry in securing a historic deal with
Iran to prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon and avoid an
unnecessary war. This was a major victory for global stability and a
powerful example of why war must not be our first instinct.

It’s time to face the fact that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan has
changed significantly since 2001 when Congress passed the authorization
for the use of military force there. We simply cannot continue on the
current path.

To prevent this from becoming another endless war, Congress must work
with President Obama to create a plan that supports regional stability
and includes the clear exit strategy we have been waiting for. Congress
should insist on clarity in our Afghanistan policy. If this or any
future administration wants to expand our military footprint there, then
Congress must debate and vote to approve or disapprove such action.

President Obama promised the American people that he would bring our
troops home from Afghanistan. It’s time to fulfill that promise. Our
troops and their families deserve nothing less.

/Jim McGovern is a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts and John
Isaacs is the Executive Director of Council for a Livable World./

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