[pjw] FACTS: End the US Wars in Afghanistan and Syria

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Sun Oct 9 15:39:22 EDT 2022

Hi again IAG supporters

As noted yesterday, the fact sheet about the US' 21 years in Afghanistan 
and 8 years in Syria is posted online, with graphics, in printable version 


The contents are pasted in below. Feel free to share.
dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Send Aid, Not Bombs: 
End the US Wars in Afghanistan and Syria
October 7, 2022

On October 7, 2001, the US invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 
attacks in New York and Washington DC. Although US troops were withdrawn 
in August, 2021, America's war has continued militarily, diplomatically 
and economically. Meanwhile in Syria, following initial bombing campaigns 
in September 2014, the US now has roughly 900 troops in three bases in the 
northeastern part of that country, despite there being no United Nations, 
Congressional or Syrian authorization for their presence.

The Afghan War Continues, 21 Years Later

In late August 2022, nearly 50% of Americans polled said it was a mistake 
to invade Afghanistan, up from about 33% in 2019 (Defense One, August 31). 
When withdrawing troops, the US used drones to attack what they at first 
said was a convoy of terrorists, but turned out to be civilians who were 
wrongly targeted. Once the military was out of the country, the US 
continued to talk about an "over-the-horizon" presence as a threat to 
continue using force in Afghanistan. Indeed, in late July, America 
launched a drone missile with six knife blades to assassinate Ayman 
al-Zawahiri, considered to be a leader in Al Qaida, without consent from 
the Afghan government (PC Magazine,  August 2). In September, the US began 
raising the alarm that more terrorists were present in Afghanistan (VOA 
News, September 28), perhaps as a precursor to sending more troops or 
weapons back in.

One remnant of the Afghan war which has not been resolved is the continued 
operation of the prison camp at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 
At least 36 people remain there, many of whom have been cleared for 
release. Only a few of the original 770+ inmates who have been convicted 
of any crime.

Also, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which 
intended to target Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, remains in place. It has been 
used, at least, to justify US military actions in Pakistan, Yemen, 
Somalia, and Libya. A separate 2002 AUMF designed to allow the US to 
attack Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq was been repealed by the US House 
as recently as July 2022, but not the Senate (Friends Committee on 
National Legislation, July 15).

The wars that began in 2001 are estimated to have killed over 7000 
Americans and at least 800,000 people in or from other countries. The 
financial cost to the US including weaponry, military personnel, veteran 
care and the broad spying infrastructure set up in the wake of 9/11 is 
estimated at over $8 trillion (Brown University Costs of War project, 
September 2021).

At the time the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August, 2021, the US was 
holding $7 billion in Afghan funds, which it has refused to release 
despite widespread poverty and illness devastating the country. At first, 
President Biden proposed setting aside half the funds for 9/11 survivors-- 
even though not a single person who allegedly took part in those attacks 
was from Afghanistan. Several 9/11 families objected, and a US court ruled 
that America cannot keep Afghanistan's money (Middle East Eye, August 17 
and 27). But rather than get the money where it is needed, the US released 
the funds to a third-party bank in Switzerland (The Cradle, September 14).

One reason the US remains so invested in Afghanistan: there are an 
estimated $1 trillion in minerals under Afghan soil. China has expressed 
an interest in these resources, and at this time the US has pivoted much 
of its interest from the Middle East to confronting China and Russia. The 
US has continued sailing warships through the Strait of Taiwan as a 
"message" to China, including on August 28 following a diplomatically 
questionable and provocative visit from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CNN, 
August 28).

The US Expands Its Presence in Syria, Eight Years Into the War

The US military bases in Syria are explicitly there to protect access to 
oil, though another stated goal is to suppress "terrorism." The Syrian 
government considers the mostly Kurdish militias supported by the US to be 
terrorists, which goes to show how that word ultimately has no meaning. 
Just before the US opened its third base in Syria (Xinhua, September 3), 
attacks on American troops led the US to use helicopters to kill 
"suspected Iranian militants" (NBC, August 24).

At the United Nations in September, Syria called for the US to leave its 
country (Middle East Eye, September 26). Despite President Biden's strong 
rhetoric condemning Russia for its invasion and occupation of part of 
Ukraine, there was no broad acknowledgment that many of America's military 
adventures also violate international law.

Syria has been engaged in what's categorized as a civil war since 2011, 
with proxy fighting supporting the state from Russia and Iran, Turkish 
military incursions by land and air against Kurdish militants, and 
interference by the US and its allies. The people of Syria need diplomacy 
and assistance, not bombs.

Other US Interventions

The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 has kept that country in turmoil ever 
since. Iraq has currently been without a functioning government for 
roughly one year, with fighting escalating from nonviolent disagreements 
over Parliament to people being killed in the streets. And while most US 
troops were withdrawn following the devastating 2017 US/Iraqi attacks on 
Mosul to end the take-over by the Islamic State, 2500 troops remain. Of 
scores of countries where the US has a military presence, the number in 
Iraq is the ninth highest (24/7 Wall Street, August 18).

America also continues to bomb Somalia, including at least three times in 
August and September (Washington Examiner, August 11, Antiwar.com, August 
17 and September 21). These attacks also allegedly target "terrorists" but 
often include multiple civilian casualties.

While US airstrikes in Yemen seem to have slowed down, with only one 
suspected strike this year, there have been 181 such actions since 2017 
(Airwars, retrieved October 1). The US has continued to support Saudi 
Arabia's role in the war between a Houthi government in Sanaa and the 
ousted leadership which is holed up in Saudi Arabia. Fortunately, the 
warring sides have had a cease fire in place for most of 2022, but now the 
"old guard" factions supported by United Arab Emirates and those with 
Saudi ties are fighting one another. Legislation to get the US to stop 
supporting the war in Yemen has 116 cosponsors in the House and 10 in the 
Senate (Congress.gov, retrieved from HJ Res 87 and  SJ Res. 56, October 

Meanwhile, negotiations to revive the "nuclear deal" with Iran have been 
stalled for most of 2022, with the US continuing to impose more sanctions 
rather than finding a way to de-escalate tensions. President Biden has 
spoken of wanting "other options," which clearly implies military action 
(Reuters, September 8). The US continues to support Israel, which also 
favors an attack on Iran, despite Israel's illegal occupation and repeated 
bombardment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

Where Does Your Money Go?

In late September, the Senate approved another $16 billion in aid to 
Ukraine, most of which is for weapons and US military mobilization. This 
brings the total sent to that country since Russia's February invasion up 
to $67 billion,, which is $2 billion more than Russia's annual military 
budget. The US has set aside over $800 billion for "defense," while 
millions of people go without health care, housing, education and other 
basic human needs. The environment continues to deteriorate due to climate 
change, with hurricane Ian devastating Florida in late September as just 
the most recent example.

It is time to cut military spending, bring the troops home, and stop 
attacking, threatening and interfering in other countries.  At the very 
least, the US could choose to send aid, rather than bombs, into countries 
which have been torn apart by violence-- in many cases due to the actions 
of American decision-makers.

This flyer was prepared in October, 2022 by the
Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group
PO Box 42456                                         iraq at pjw.info
Portland, OR 97242                          www.pjw.info/Iraq.html
(503) 236-3065                     Contact us about our meetings !
      Meetings usually 2nd Tuesdays, 7 PM; next one is Oct. 11.

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