In the past few weeks, I have written a bit about the growing opposition to President Barrack Obama’s plan to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan. What has been interesting about the effort is that it is coming from a new source–largely liberal bloggers–and not the traditional anti-war movement in this country.
Consequently, I was curious to see where the major anti-war groups in the United States are at on Afghanistan. What follows is a brief overview of their positions:
United for Peace and Justice
The largest anti-war group, United for Peace and Justice, has opposed President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. The group has instead encouraged people to instead demand that the administration adopt an approach of:
- Reducing troop levels in Afghanistan and rejecting the idea that there is a military solution to the problem
- Immediately withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan
- A commitment to diplomacy involving all major regional players
- Addressing the real needs of Afghans by funding improvements in health care, clean water, education, security, etc., through Afghan NGOs, using local labor and services
The group has prepared a leaflet opposing the escalation that it urges its member groups to distribute. The leaflet argues that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, that Afghanistan has been the training ground for U.S. torture tactics, and that people oppose continued civilian casualties in the country.
It has also produced a second leaflet that outlines a number of peaceful alternatives to military escalation.
Code Pink, another prominent anti-war group, has adopted a set of demands similar to United for Peace and Justice. It asks that Obama undertake an “escalation in peaceful alternatives, not military force” by:
- Reduction of troop levels in Afghanistan
- Rapid withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq
- A commitment to diplomacy involving all major regional players, including major international peace-keeping bodies
- Addressing the real needs of Afghans by funding development assistance for Afghanistan’s basic human needs – health-care, clean water, education, security, rights for women and girls-, through Afghan NGOs, using local labor and services
Iraq Veterans Against the War
“the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all occupying forces in Afghanistan and reparations for the Afghan people, and supports all troops and veterans working towards those ends.”
Among the reasons supporting this decision, IVAW cites increasing coalition and civilian deaths in Afghanistan, opposition from Afghans, the lack of a “battlefield solution” to terrorism, and the difficulties that the veterans health system has in taking care of veterans.
MoveOn.org, one of the largest liberal activist groups, has thus far not taken a critical position with regard to Afghanistan. Instead, the group says that it instead is continuing to focus on Iraq and that Afghanistan is simply not “a priority” at this time. Moreover, it points to disagreement in its base on the topic.
However, I’d wager that it has more to do with the fact that MoveOn.org has largely been uncritical of the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama. Even on Iraq, the group has accepted Obama’s plan to continue the occupation when the rest of the anti-war movement was sharply critical of it. MoveOn.org said:
“The bottom line is that our members, and Americans everywhere, are so incredibly pleased to have a president who’s finally putting in place a concrete plan to end this war,” Chaudhary says. “Do we wish they could come home sooner? Of course we do. At the same time, there’s a date certain for this war to be over.”
This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, nor should the group’s support of the Afghanistan War, which many liberals and Democrats still see as “the good war.”