Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tom Hayden on Why the Peace Movement Needs a Peace Candidate in 2012



Don't Believe the Reviews:

Where We Really Are in Afghanistan

Tom Hayden
Beaver County Peace Links via

Dec. 15, 2010 - Early last month, a White House official predicted that the Obama administration's review of Afghanistan "will not suggest alternatives if aspects of the policy are found to be failing."

Got that right.

And Congress went along, with a handful of noble exceptions, in keeping the war off the agenda during the long midterm elections.

Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe's excellent review of the administration's "non-review" is here.

Let's concentrate on these facts of the last two years, and share them with other Americans.


The Costs to America

Since 2008:

Our government has doubled the number of our troops in Afghanistan to roughly 100,000.

Our government has more than tripled both the airstrikes over Afghanistan and drone attacks over Pakistan.

The body count of dead Americans has tripled.

The number of Americans wounded is more than five times higher that in 2007.

The number of Afghan casualties is unknown. The United Nations admits to an under-count.

The cost of Afghanistan to American taxpayers will increase by $268 billion added since the Great Recession of 2008, a one hundred billion hike over the previous seven years.

The Political Fallout

The U.S. Senate has lost its foremost anti-war voice, Sen. Russ Feingold, and no replacement is yet in sight.

The House of Representatives is under Republican control, and the peace bloc has lost leverage over the process. There are slightly more than 100 Representatives on record for an exit strategy including a withdrawal timeline, out of a House membership of 435.

Yet more than three-quarters of Democratic voters and more than half of Independents favor a phased withdrawal, putting them ahead of the politicians.

The next fight in Congress will be over amendments to set deadlines for phasing out the troops and escalating peace diplomacy. This debate will occur in the run-up to Obama's announcement of how many troops he will begin withdrawing in July.

Depending on how many troops Obama promises to withdraw, he will be choosing whether to run as a peace candidate or a stay-the-course candidate in 2012, and peace voters will react accordingly. In any event, the Long War will go on in Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, the Horn of Africa and the streets of Europe. The question is whether there will be a Long Peace Movement. Article originally appeared on ( See website for complete article licensing information.

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