As President Obama was considering whether to send an additional 35,000 US troops to Afghanistan, to join the already-stationed 60,000 US soldiers and 60,000 mercenaries, the California Democratic Party Executive Board, meeting in San Diego, was passing a resolution to bring our troops home. I co-authored the resolution, along with Karen Bernal, Chair of the CDP Progressive Caucus, and Norman Solomon, author of War Made Easy. The resolution, which urges an increase in humanitarian aid, passed without dissension on the floor. Prior to the vote, there was some push-back on the use of the word "occupation" but in the final hours no one objected.
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On the heels of this resolution passing, we need progressives in every state Democratic Party to pass a similar resolution calling for an end to the U.S. occupation and air war in Afghanistan. Bring the veterans to the table, bring our young men and women into the room, and bring an end to a foreign policy that only breeds more enemies. I am encouraged that this resolution passed without any dissension on the floor and with the support of our Party's Chair John Burton. Our voices must not be ignored, for ours are the voices of reason and hope that elected Barack Obama to the White House.
Following the resolution’s passage, Bernal told reporters, "Now, there can be no disputing the fact that the overwhelming majority of California Democrats are not only saying no to escalation, but no to our continued military presence in Afghanistan, period. The California Democratic Party has spoken, and we want the rest of the country to know."
Speaking to The Resolutions Committee of the state party on Saturday, former Marine Cpl. Rick Reyes said, "I have been to the war zone and I know there is no military solution ."
Bernal distributed a copy of the recent resignation letter from senior US diplomat Matthew Hoh, sent after five months of work on the ground in Afghanistan. "I find specious the reasons we ask for bloodshed and sacrifice from our young men and women in Afghanistan," he wrote. "If honest, our stated strategy of securing Afghanistan to prevent al-Qaeda resurgence or regrouping would require us to additionally invade and occupy western Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, etc. Our presence in Afghanistan has only increased destabilization and insurgency in Pakistan where we rightly fear a toppled or weakened Pakistani government may lose control of its nuclear weapons."
Hoh's letter added, "I do not believe any military force has ever been tasked with such a complex, opaque and Sisyphean mission as the US military has received in Afghanistan." And he wrote, "Thousands of our men and women have returned home with physical and mental wounds, some that will never heal or will only worsen with time. The dead return only in bodily form to be received by families who must be reassured their dead have sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost, love vanished, and promised dreams unkept. I have lost confidence such assurances can anymore be made."
Here's the full resolution:
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 especially heavy price under an eight-year occupation, and that far from eradicating the Taliban and other insurgencies, the presence of foreign troops has instead strengthened them, creating greater insecurity, death and impoverishment of the Afghan, people; and
WHEREAS a majority of Americans are increasingly disturbed 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 addition to reiterating its support for a time-table for withdrawal of our military personnel, calls for an end to 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.
I'm Marcy Winograd and I'm challenging Blue Dog corporate Democrat Jane Harman in the June 8, 2010 Democratic Party primary. In 2006, when I jumped into the race just three months before the primary, I mobilized almost 38% of the vote.
To donate to my progressive challenge, visit Winograd4Congress.com.