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UPDATE: It passed! See below.

The California Democratic Party took an important step yesterday towards ending the war in Afghanistan at its Executive Board meeting in San Diego.

The Party's Resolutions Committee approved a resolution put forward by the Party's Progressive Caucus calling for an end to the U.S. war in Afghanistan, following an appeal by Marine veteran Rick Reyes. Reyes, who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, told the committee: "There is no military solution in Afghanistan. The problems in Afghanistan are social problems that a military cannot fix."

"We dishonor the patriotism and the sense of justice of our brave men and women by sending them to fight, proclaiming that they sacrifice for democracy and national security when really they struggle and die in support of nothing more than a proven criminal regime," Reyes said.

The resolution is scheduled be considered today at 10:00 am in the general session of the Executive Board.

This summer, California Democrats voted to support Representative Jim McGovern's bill, HR 2404, which would require the Pentagon to present Congress with an exit strategy from our military occupation of Afghanistan by the end of the year. In an appeal in support of McGovern's bill, John Burton, Chair of the California Democratic Party, wrote: "Enough is enough…It’s time for American troops to come home – not only from Iraq, but from Afghanistan too. And the first step is an exit strategy."

Here's Rick Reyes testifying before Congress:

UPDATE: The resolution has been passed by the California Democratic Party Executive Board, Rick Reyes reports.

Here is the text of the resolultion:

End the U.S. Occupation & Air War in Afghanistan

WHEREAS the California Democratic Party, concerned citizens and lawmakers are calling for a U.S. exit strategy from Afghanistan that will end the occupation and air war while ensuring the safety and security of our troops, our nation, and the region;  while even the U.S. Ambassador General Karl Eikenberry expresses concern about corruption in the Afghan government and our inability to stabilize the situation; and

WHEREAS the plight of women in Afghanistan is such that they continue to bear an esxpecially heavy price under an eight-year occupation, and that far from eradicating the Taliban and other insurgencies, the presence of foriegn troops has instead strengthened them, creating greater insecurity, death and impoverishment of the Afghan, people; and

WHEREAS a majority of Americans are increasingly distrubed about the toll the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan is taking on the honorable young men and women who have been killed and wounded, on the families of the these young men and women, as our involvement there continues to cost billions each month while the United States and particularly the state of California are in an economic crisis without money to fund domestic needs;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the California Democratic Party, in adiition to reiterating its support for a time-table for withdrawal of our miltary personnel, calls for an end ot the use of mercenary contractors, as well as an end to air strikes that cause heavy civilian casualties, and urges our President to oversee a redirection of our funding and resources and to include an increase in humanitarian and developmental aid, multi-party talks aimed at ensuring a democratic and legitimate representation of the people of Afghanistan, as well as multi-party regional diplomacy for the safety and stability of neighboring  countries; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED a copy of this resolution shall be sent to the California Democratic Party Congressional delegation, as well as to President Obama.

Originally posted to Robert Naiman on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:26 AM PST.


Rick Reyes is right. It's time to end the U.S. war in Afghanistan.

94%112 votes
5%7 votes

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Comment Preferences

    •  Calling this "an important step" is hyperbole (0+ / 0-)

      It would be a fine gesture, but I don't think it will turn out to be a pivotal moment in the history of this war.

      What happens in Afghanistan rests firmly in the hands of our Commander in Chief. I hope he decides wisely and begins the process of stabiling the situation and getting out troops home.

      •  actually... (0+ / 0-)

        what happens in Afghanistan rests firmly in the hands of the Afghanis, and as long as the Taliban fulfills their function in curbing the abuses of the Kabul government, then anything we can do is irrelevant.

        Again, here we have a fine example of domestic politics obscuring the facts on the ground and driving bad policy.

        McChrystal and the COIN crowd are wrong, btw. The Taliban are far better at isolating the population from us than we will ever be at the obverse. There is no feasible troop level that will change this.

        Policy matters. As for party, if you want my support, you damned well have to earn it!

        by papicek on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 09:58:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Right On for California taking the lead. (5+ / 0-)

    If they pass the resolution that is. Please post the result of the vote. Thanks for the news.

  •  To me, this is pretty straightforward. (4+ / 0-)

    We are not fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan anymore; we're fighting the Taliban now.
    We have not installed, and as far as I can tell, cannot install, a Western-style democracy there.
    As long as we are there, we are an occupying force, not an aid to the "president" who's openly derided as "the mayor of Kabul" for his miniscule authority.

    I see no benefit to American and NATO troops losing their lives over this.I honestly feel that we have lost our way and out mission there, and that it is time to tell Afghanistan to find itself, and define itself.

    "They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time. [...] That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary." -Handmaid's Tale

    by Cenobyte on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 05:58:46 AM PST

    •  we're not even fighting the Taliban... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      we're facing a real, grassroots revolt. As Matthew Hoh pointed out, our enemies in one locality are totally isolated from those in those we oppose next door.

      Policy matters. As for party, if you want my support, you damned well have to earn it!

      by papicek on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 10:02:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like the idea of bringing Afghanistan to the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robert Naiman, Hound Dog

    forefront of discussion.

    Rick appeared in Los Angeles with an Afghan woman named Zoya (not to be confused with Malalai Joya) who has an audio book about her experiences in Afghanistan.  I heard one soldier describe the kind of missions he was sent on.  6 to 20 soldiers were sent to remote areas where Taliban are suspected to be in the hopes of drawing the fire of the Taliban.  When the Taliban shot at them they would try to determine the direction and location of the shots and shoot back.

    Some interesting facts from Dahr Jamail who also appeared in Los Angeles with Normon Solomon, Codepink, and Blase Bonpane
    I heard Dahr Jamail speak recently and he quoted some interesting statistics.  In World War I there were 10 million killed and 5% were civilians.  In WW II 50 million were killed and 48% were civilians.  In the Korean War 9 million were killed and 84% were civilians.

    In WW II 10% shot to kill.  In the volunteer army in Iraq and  Afghanistan 90% shoot to kill.  Someone suggested to google killology.  I have not had time.  Returning soldiers wait 6 months to be treated for PTSD.  If they are turned down they wait 4 ½ years for their case to be reviewed. 58,000 were killed in Vietnam, but 3 times as many have committed suicide.  Since 2001 4000-12000 have gone AWOL. 1/3 of women in military and 1/10 of men in the military have been raped.  80% are un-reported.

    •  I am very sceptical of many of your statistics. (0+ / 0-)

      Care to provide sources. How do you compile statistics on 'unreported rapes?

      •  I can somewhat confirm... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        his WWII statistic on how many frontline soldiers actually shot at the enemy. A now famous post war study the Pentagon conducted put the figure at something like the 10%, only, if I recall correctly, the figure was 7%.

        The study caused a revolution in training practice, with much more emphasis placed on aggression.

        The suicide rates of Vietnam era veterans is indeed higher than the 58,000 casualties from direct conflict. however, this needs qualification because this figure might include deaths due to increases in risky behavior, such as drunk driving deaths (as we had in my town - the driver also took out an entire family as well) and deaths due to drug overdose (my neighbor growing up - who survived his tour, but didn't survive 6 months after returning. He died of a drug overdose). Including these figures in the "suicide" rate is or is not a stretch depending on how one defines the term.

        Policy matters. As for party, if you want my support, you damned well have to earn it!

        by papicek on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 10:15:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I also think that considering over 6 million ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          troops served in Vietnam and Americans males have a high suicide rate generally the 158,000 number is not that surprising. I agree with you on the WWII statistics,but I'm skeptical of that 90% number for today's military. The rape statistics I can't find any evedence for.

          •  good point... (0+ / 0-)

            I don't have peace time suicide rates for males either, though it's one of the 5 most common causes of death among males < 25 years (unsurprising, this is a young, healthy group).

            As for the WWII "ratio of fire" statistics, they came under suspicion almost as soon as SLA Marshall published them. I've seen a lot of figures quoted in my online research. (10% to something less than 25%).

            Though Marshall's claims may be unsubstantiated, the author of the wikipedia article on him claims that they track rather well with earlier studies dating as far back as the Civil War.

            Policy matters. As for party, if you want my support, you damned well have to earn it!

            by papicek on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 06:28:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Obama may compromise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Robert Naiman, Hound Dog

    I heard Tom Hayden a few days ago and he thought Obama might attempt a strange compromise of sending something like 20,000 soldiers and in addition stipulating some sort of withdrawal date.  I oppose this sort of weak kneed approach but it does seem to be very much like him to do this.  This is also to be opposed.

    I saw "Rethink Afghanistan" again the other day with Daniel Ellsberg, Robert Greenwald, and Matthew Hoh.  Robert Baer in the movie  said it better than I ever could.  To paraphrase him: "The idea that we are in Afghanistan for some kind of national security interest is pure bullshit.  Daniel Ellsberg echoed the comment.  Matthew Hoh's resignation caused quite a stir because of his resignation.  This, hopefully, may apply additional pressure on Obama to "Rethink Afghanistan".

    Yesterday Clay Claiborne had a small diary that consisted mainly of a graphic of Obama and LBJ.  LBJ had some very sage advice for Obama.  It is worth looking at.

  •  Position of Florida Veterans for Common Sense (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lightfoot, Robert Naiman, Hound Dog

    Here is the link to the guest column in the Sarasota Herald Tribune by Florida Veterans for Common Sense on the issue.

  •  Constant endless war benefits no one (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lightfoot, Robert Naiman

    except for defense contractos and politicians who depend on them for campaign funds.

    The troops won't be coming home without the populace tangibly expressing their will for it to happen.  

    The only things we have to accomplish this are our freedoms of speech, press, and assembly.  

    An envelope and a stamp, a phone, an internet connection, and a visit to your favorite congress critter's office are all anyone needs to put these freedoms into action.

    Push back HARD
    on your congress critters and on the White House.

    Tell them to stop creating these -

    .     .
    .     .

    receiving the casket flag

    .     .
    .     .

    Ask them, Are more flag-draped coffins at Dover what Democrats stand for?

    Tell them, Continued funding for constant, endless war makes WAR America's greatest export.

    Tell them, Continued war funding does NOT support our troops, but only buys more boards and nails to crucify them.

    .     .
    .     .

    Send the mail, make the phone calls, and pound on their doors and desks in person for re-deployment.

    Then do it again, and again, and....

    As Meteor Blades says,

    Don't tell me what you believe.  Tell me what you do, and I will tell you what you believe.


    We can drastically reduce defense spending and the size of our Armed Forces, and still have everything we need for military defense of the United States.

    If we reduce the number of brigade combat teams, then presidents will be less able to deploy troops for bad reasoning.

    War is one of America's greatest exports; but constant endless warfare does not benefit our troops, their families, or civilians in the areas of operation.  It DOES benefit defense contractors, and their Political Puppets On A String.

    Posterchild for the Military Political Industrial Complex, Ike Skelton (D-MO):


    .     .
    .     .

    Check out Ike's career total campaign contributions.  Recognize any defense contractors?

    A few give much, a few give all, and most Americans give....NOTHING! ~~~ Support our troops - Bring them home

    by Hound Dog on Sun Nov 15, 2009 at 07:41:30 AM PST

  •  Absolutely no no no no no. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    realtime, Robert Naiman

    No more war in Afghanistan. We have to make Obama stop. Petition in my signature.

  •  UPDATE: the resolution passed! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tr4nqued, lightfoot

    See the update in the diary.

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