[pjw] OPINION: Let's put an end to our endless wars (Portland Tribune 11/17)

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Fri Nov 19 14:55:59 EST 2021

PJW supporters
While I'm mourning for the future of our country, with the acquittal of 
young white supremacist rifle-toting killer vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse, I 
have some slightly good news to share. The Portland Tribune ran the 
following op-ed that I wrote based on our Afghanistan 20 years later fact 
sheet last month. Apparently it's been up on the internet since Oct. 21-- 
I didn't check because I (probably incorrectly) remembered another 
person's op-ed having run first in the paper, then online.

Oddly, they changed the title from something about the wars not really 
being over to "Let's put and end to our endless wars," which I guess is 

Anyway, feel free to share. It may seem familiar since a lot of it is 
lifted from the fact sheet. But it's getting to a much wider audience now!

dan handelman
peace and justice works

Handelman: Let's put an end to our endless wars
    October 21 2021
    Dan Handelman of Portland is with the regional nonprofit Peace and
    Justice Works

    ***FILE PHOTO - Thousands marched in early 2004 against plans to
    invade Iraq and against the Afghanistan war.***

    As an organization that took part in protests against the Afghan war
    before it began in 2001, we wish we shared the Portland Tribune
    editorial board's advice to celebrate the end of two decades of war.

    While President Biden followed through on former President Donald
    Trump's pledge to pull out U.S. troops, the war has not ended. The U.S.
    has stated their intent to continue airstrikes from over-the-horizon
    positions, a tactic used during the pullout with disastrous

    Guantanamo Bay prison, created in January 2002, remains open with 39
    prisoners, many who have been cleared for release. The 2001
    Authorization for Use of Military Force intended to target Al Qaeda in
    Afghanistan remains in place and was used to justify U.S. military
    actions in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Syria. A separate 2002
    use-of-force authorization to attack Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq
    was repealed by the U.S. House this summer, but not yet in the Senate.

    These wars are estimated to have killed more than 7,000 Americans and
    at least 660,000 people elsewhere. Brown University's Costs of War
    project estimates America's financial cost including weaponry, military
    personnel, veteran care and spying infrastructure is more than $8

    The U.S. does not intend to alert the Taliban to future drone strikes
    in Afghanistan. After an attack on the Kabul airport during the August
    evacuation, a U.S. drone strike killed 10 civilians, including several
    children and a man associated with a U.S. nonprofit. The U.S. admitted
    no militants were killed.

    Future struggles will emerge over China's interest in the estimated $1
    trillion in minerals under Afghan soil. President Biden stated that
    troops leaving Afghanistan would be repositioned for potential war with

    President Biden's stated desire to bring a close to the endless wars is
    admirable. However, his threat after the airport attack to "hunt you
    down and make you pay" are not the words of a man of peace.

    Congress tried to get President Trump to end support for the Saudi war
    in Yemen. Of eight vetoes, Trump used three to overturn those efforts.

    Congress put a provision in the 2021-22 spending bill to end support
    for the Saudi war. That does not stop the U.S. drone strikes which
    began in 2004, 344 of which killed at least 209 civilians in Yemen.
    While strikes in Pakistan and Libya apparently stopped in 2017 and 2019
    respectively, Biden and Trump each led strikes in Somalia six times in
    2021, and the U.S. launched a strike in Syria as recently as September.
    About 900 U.S. troops remain on the ground in Syria.

    When referring to Afghanistan as "America's longest war," people ignore
    the war against Native Americans that began before the U.S. was a
    nation and continued into the early 20th century and beyond. The Korean
    War, which started in 1950, led to an armistice in July 1953, but no
    peace treaty has emerged to end that war. The war against Iraq began
    when the U.S. imposed sanctions in August 1990, bombed in 1991 and
    continued both of those strategies until the invasion in 2003.
    Thirty-one years later, 2,500 American troops are still in Iraq.

    It is unthinkable to spend money on war instead of human needs in this
    time of crisis. Now is time to end state-sponsored violence perpetuated
    by our country.

    Dan Handelman of Portland is with the nonprofit Peace and Justice

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