National Groups Band Together to Reject Afghanistan Troop Escalation

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Five national peace advocacy groups representing hundreds of thousands of Americans launched a new project today at http://www.NoEscalation.org to urge Congress and President Obama to reject troop escalation in Afghanistan.

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We're at a major fork in the road

Leaders of the peace movement said they are asking Americans across the country to step up their efforts to oppose troop escalation, by calling their U.S. Representatives and Senators to take a stand against escalation of the failed military strategy in Afghanistan. The website has a chart that tracks each Member of Congress and whether they have taken a stand against troop escalation.

"We're at a major fork in the road," said Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy. "One road leads to years of quagmire and needless death and trauma for American soldiers and Afghan civilians. The other road leads to national reconciliation in Afghanistan, regional diplomacy, an exit strategy, and a timetable for military withdrawal."

The groups, CodePink, Just Foreign Policy, Peace Action, United for Peace and Justice, and Voters for Peace, are urging Americans to report their conversations with Congressional offices on the website NoEscalation.org. The groups will contact hundreds of thousands of voters and direct them to the website.

“Sending 40,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan will fail to substantially increase security, to stop violent extremists and to make Americans safer,” stated Paul Kawika Martin, the political director of Peace Action — the United State’s largest grassroots peace organization — who recently returned from a seven-day trip to Afghanistan. “Instead, U.S. and NATO forces need to stop air and Predator drone strikes, arbitrary arrests and detentions and other actions that kill, injure or terrorize innocent civilians and create recruits for the Taliban. The billions of dollars it would cost to send troops would pay more security dividends invested into Afghanistan to provide its populous with physical, economic and food security.”

On Monday, CNN released a poll revealing that six in 10 Americans oppose sending more U.S. troops, and a majority see the war in Afghanistan as another Vietnam. Top Administration officials, including Vice-President Biden, Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, and Ambassador Holbrooke's advisor Barnett Rubin are said to be arguing against escalation. Democratic leaders in the House have expressed skepticism.

Many Members of Congress have said that they want to "wait and see" what decision President Obama makes. But the groups say the time to influence the President's decision is before he makes it.

Besides opposing and speaking out against a troop increase, Members of the House are being urged to support Representative McGovern's (D-MA) bipartisan bill (HR 2404) calling for an exit strategy and Representative Lee's (D-CA) bill (HR 3699) prohibiting a troop increase. Senators are being asked to introduce legislation opposing a troop increase and calling for an exit strategy or timetable for military withdrawal.

Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States' largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 34 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to the conflicts with Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. The public may learn more and take action at http://www.Peace-Action.org. For more up-to-date peace insider information, follow Peace Action’s political director on Twitter. http://twitter.com/PaulKawika

Just Foreign Policy is a non-partisan membership organization dedicated to reforming U.S. foreign policy so that it reflects the values and interests of the majority of Americans.

Note to Editors:

CNN poll can be found at:
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/10/19/cnn-poll-will-afghanistan-turn-into-another-vietnam/

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