In Monday’s Post-Dispatch, there was an article called “Outreach is working, Carnahan reports” and we MUST RESPOND to the words issued by the congressman to let him and the St Louis community know that WAR IS NOT WORKING!
Please let me know if you would be willing and able to WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR. I would be delighted to help craft an effective letter with you.
Email me at andy (at) PeaceEconomyProject.org to help – please proactively participate!
Here are some snippets we should respond to:
-1- Taliban losing momentum?
“[Gen Stanley McCrystal] believes that they (the Taliban) had lost momentum and that we have an opportunity… but we’re not there yet,” Carnahan said.
–As the same article says, civilian casualties are up by 1/3 over the same time last year, that’s 173 civilian deaths in the Month of March, according to Monday’s Post-Dispatch. This doesn’t seem like a loss of momentum. The increased number of troops flooding the country will only serve to agitate the Taliban and force more civilians into the crossfire of more troops.
–If Carnahan thinks that the “bottom-up” approach is working, we have to do a better job of not killing those at the bottom. More guns and more soldiers will not help protect these civilians.
-2- MO National Guard Units providing agricultural training
“Carnahan said he thinks outreach efforts are bearing fruit. He pointed to the work by the MO National Guard units providing agriculture training where the farm industry has been disrupted by the war.”
–While I’m glad that some Americans in Afghanistan are focusing on plowshares rather than swords, 1st, shouldn’t the MO National Guard be, ohh, I don’t know, in Missouri?
–Also, while it’s nice that the military is helping with farming, the member of the foreign affairs committee should know that agriculture aid should come from the State Department, and not the Defense Department. When we ask the military to perform work that should be performed by the state department, it asks the military to specialize in more and more areas, weakening its overall ability to specialize in what, if we’re to have a military at all, they should be doing, which is being prepared to defend the US against attack. Asking the military to do this work also directs funds towards the military, as opposed to the State Department, so the State Dept is now underfunded and now the DoD is overfunded and being asked to do more than its mission. (for more information on the role of the military, see a previous blog post, “Wrong Tool for the Wrong Job
-3- Not a practical alternative right now
“Carnahan said he hopes that Karzai will refrain from further incendiary comments when he visits Washington this month.
“‘He is far from perfect in terms of a leader, but I think it’s important that we try to reinforce him because there’s not a practical alternative right now,’ Carnahan said.”
–There is a practical alternative. Stop the fighting. Period. Move from there to begin negotiations with men, women, rich, poor, urban, rural, Karzai’s drug runners, the Taliban, the several dozen Al Qaueda who are left in that country, and all those who want to get back to a peaceful future. Decentralized, local, non-violent negotiations will be what brings Peace to the region, not 100,000+ US soldiers and more than that many again war contractors in the region.
-4- When Carnahan was there, who was on his security detail?
“Carnahan said that he intends to hold a hearing soon on contracting in Afghanistan.”
–When we met with Congressman Carnahan’s district director in February, we recommended explicitly that he choose protection from American servicemen/women as opposed to paid mercenary contractors who are nearly ubiquitous in the region. We deserve to know if the person who is charged with investigating these contractors has been privy to their services.
–Added Comment – 5/9/2010
I wonder if this is what Carnahan was talking about when he said our stratgegy is working. US and NATO troops have already killed 90+ Afghan Civilians this year!