The War in Afghanistan, President Obama and Worcester PeaceWorks
By Gordon Davis
President Obama has broken his promise to withdraw all U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016.
This is not a surprise, but it is sad and it is discouraging. It means that the misery of war in Afghanistan will continue for an indefinite time. Only death, misery and refugees will be the product of the President’s decision.
When the United States went to war with Afghanistan in 2002 it was to avenge the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. George Bush was President when the Taliban was defeated and Al Qaeda went into hiding.
Worcester PeaceWorks was formed immediately after 9-11 by many in the Worcester peace community. Claire and Scott Schaeffer Duffy and Kevin Ksen played major roles. We held rallies in Worcester and went to the huge, anti-war rally in New York City – a worldwide event in which millions of people participated.
Worcester PeaceWorks tried to get the Worcester City Council to pass a resolution against the War in Iraq when several soldiers from Worcester were killed. The City Council would not hear the petition, citing Rule 33 of the Worcester City Charter.
Since then President Obama has killed or captured almost all of Al Qaeda who were responsible for the 9-11 attacks and withdrew troops from Iraq.
Worcester PeaceWorks, for the most part, stopped functioning after President Obama’s election in 2008. The Worcester Catholic Worker movement, including Mike True and the Center for Non Violence, continued to have anti-war demonstrations at Lincoln Square. The Progressive Labor Party would every so often call for an end to “imperialism” – as it did during the beginning of the Civil War in Syria.
President Obama ordered a drawdown of forces from Afghanistan with the hope that a government friendly to the USA would be able to rule Afghanistan after the American troops leave.
This has not happened.
After more than 10 years no government set up by the USA has been strong enough to defeat the Taliban.
This effort at nation building in Afghanistan has proven a failure.
There is no clear American policy there except to protect the suspect American friend, President Hammid Karzai, living in Kabul.
The people of Afghanistan are suffering, as can be seen in the thousands of refugees seeking asylum in the European Union.
Killing people with drones has done more harm than good, especially when so many civilians are killed. There is an insight of another of the irony in one Nobel Peace Prize winner, President Obama, killing another Nobel Peace Prize winner, the International Doctors Without Borders.
It looks like we have lost in Afghanistan, like we did in Vietnam.
It is time we get out and take those who want to leave with us as refugees.
It makes no sense to continue with the misery of war when we cannot win.
The USA has avenged the 9-11 attacks and punished the perpetrators. It is time to declare “mission accomplished” and stop the killing and misery.
Unfortunately, many in the Peace community, including Worcester activists, do not want to oppose politicians who are considered to be “progressive” candidates.
Like the BlackLives Matter activists, the peace activists should compel the candidates to declare their intentions with Afghanistan, Israel and Syria.