[pjw] NEWS: Allies on Afghanistan and other updates from the IAG meeting
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Sat Aug 26 19:27:41 EDT 2017
Greetings Iraq Affinity Group supporters
Below is a piece written by Republican congressman Walter Jones, who is
one of the strongest voices in congress about getting the US out of
Afghanistan. Yesterday I heard Sen. Jeff Merkley kind of waffling as the
host of OPB's Think Out Loud trotted out the old canard that the US
pulling out will let the Taliban take over in Afghanistan. Playing off
such fears is what has kept the US in that country almost 16 years now and
has been used in about every country the US put its troops and refused to
leave. Sen. Merkley did point out that the US presence there has led to
the violence and instability.
Merkley also noted that telling North Korea to give up its weapons as a
precondition to holding talks is not a useful diplomatic move.
Here are some other bits of information we went over at the Iraq Affinity
Group meeting on the 14th which you may find of interest:
* While we sometimes think PJW is the only organization that notes the
annual dates marking the third invasion of Iraq and first of Syria, we
found this article from Agence France Presse on August 8 that notes:
As of July 26, 2017, the coalition had conducted 13,221 strikes in
Iraq, and 10,701 strikes in Syria, for a total of 23,922 strikes at a
daily cost averaging $13.6 million.
The coalition has acknowledged killing 624 civilians to date, though
observers say the real number is much higher.
--"Anti-IS operations enter fourth year"
* Speaking of which, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force
technically doesn't cover ISIS, and Congress has never authorized the
current military activities. In his great benevolence, President Trump is
willing to help Congress write an AUMF for him to use.
--"Trump admin willing to work with Congress on war authorization"
* As if being at war in six countries and threatening/ increasing
tensions with four others (Iran, Russia, N. Korea and Venezuela) isn't
enough, the US is considering dropping bombs in the Philippines too.
--"US May Begin Airstrikes Against ISIS in Philippines" (NBC 8/7)
* Many of you may have missed that Roots Action held a news conference on
August 8 that was covered on C-Span calling for the removal of US
airplanes from Syria. Speakers included a CIA whistleblowed, a former
State Department member, Norman Solomon and David Swanson.
* Continuing information we learned last month, the US military is
withholding information on casualties in Afghanistan because of the
"limited number of troops" there, even though (a) it's the largest
contingent in the six active wars right now, and (b) none of the other
commanders are withholding such information.
--"US military wrangles over release of American casualty info" (AP 8/2)
* ...and an NBC poll finds 76 percent of Americans fear the US will be
engaged in a major war in the next four years, up from 66 percent in
--"Poll: American Fears of War Grow" (NBC 7/18)
OK, now here's that letter from Rep. Jones.
peace and justice works iraq affinity group
Rep. Walter Jones Appeals to President Trump To Get US Out of Afghanistan
Rep. Walter Jones Posted on July 20, 2017
President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Many of us in the U.S. House of Representatives believe we have been
denied our sacred duty to debate and declare war. You could say that I
am disappointed by this. Disappointed because after 16 years in
Afghanistan, Congress deserves another vote on this conflict.
Disappointed because almost $1 trillion of taxpayersÕ money has been
spent with no direct goal or strategy. And most importantly, I am
disappointed because we continue to lose American lives.
Sir, I am writing today because you seem to have had a change of heart
on this issue:
1. In August of 2011, you agreed with Ron Paul and said the US was
Òwasting lives and money in Iraq and Afghanistan.Ó
2. In 2012, you referred to Afghanistan as a Òcomplete waste,Ó and
declared it was Òtime to come home.Ó
3. The next year, you said on Twitter, ÒDo not allow our very stupid
leaders to sign a deal that keeps us in Afghanistan through 2024 Ð with
all costs by U.S.AÉÓ
4. You also tweeted that year, ÒLetÕs get out of Afghanistan. Our
troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions
there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA.Ó
Mr. President, I agree with those remarks, and so does the 31st
Commandant of Marines Corps, my friend, and unofficial advisor, General
Chuck Krulak. As he said in a recent email to me, ÒNO ONE has ever
conquered AfghanistanÉand many have tried. We will join the list of
Nations that have tried and failed.Ó
Mr. President, that is why I am asking you to review this thinking
before approving any troop level increases from General Mattis. I
believe you would see great benefit and wisdom in asking Congress to
debate and vote on troop level increases as well. You would then have
the American people and their elected officials share a decision to
send more of our sons and daughters into harmÕs way. Once you come to a
consensus, I suggest you publicly go before the American people and US
military to explain the benchmarks you choose for Afghanistan. Previous
administrations have not been able to clarify those endpoints, which is
unfair to taxpayers and our troops. In the end, we all share this
responsibility, and it is time that not only Congress but also the
American people have a say. Sixteen years is enough!
Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires! We do not want a tombstone to
read ÒUnited States of America.Ó
Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress (R-NC)
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