The conflict in Afghanistan is now the longest shooting war in U.S. history, costing hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives for a war the U.S. military cannot win. Even a top Republican representative, Dana Rohrabacher, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, recently criticized General Petraeus’ plan for Afghanistan, saying bluntly, “we cannot win at that.”
Obama’s surge of 30,000 additional troops has only resulted in more death, destruction and money wasted. In fact, the U.S. military is so desperate that they’ve even tried to enter into negotiations with the Taliban, even though the first negotiation attempts were met with an impostor posing as a Taliban leader.
Afghanistan is the 5th poorest country in the world, led by a U.S.-sponsored puppet government that is widely seen as one of the most corrupt. These terrible conditions and civilian casualties, alongside the continued U.S. military presence, have only pushed more people, many of them impoverished youth and young farm boys, into the hands of the Taliban resistance.
Meanwhile the more than $350 billion thrown into this quagmire, according to the Congressional Research Service, comes alongside the most painful cutbacks to jobs and social services in generations. Both major parties are carrying out the cuts at home while supporting the war effort abroad and it’s time to speak out against this bipartisan big business agenda.
Shamefully, discussion on the war during the last election cycle was virtually non-existent. This is partly because the antiwar movement, having attached itself to the Democrats – in reality a pro-war party – has largely deteriorated. Meanwhile, the Democrats no longer even rhetorically oppose the war as they did in the past to get elected.
We can’t rely on the Democrats to provide an antiwar or anti-cuts voice because they’re not really opposed to either. The regional protests on April 9 in New York and San Francisco are part of the process of rebuilding that voice. Socialist Alternative supports the call for the antiwar protests and is also hosting a speaking tour this spring with antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan. Along with protests and meetings we need to build ongoing antiwar and anti-cuts campaigns that could also run independent candidates to be a voice during the elections for the opposition to the war and the cuts.
The events in Egypt and the Middle East also shine new light on the role of U.S. imperialism in the world and the need to build an international movement to rid this world of global capitalism and the poverty, exploitation, violence and war that it creates.