ON OBAMA S WARS IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN. by Tom Hayden February 6, 2009

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1 ON OBAMA S WARS IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN by Tom Hayden February 6, 2009

2 It is time to rethink Afghanistan and Pakistan. Otherwise the new Obama administration will be led into a yawning quagmire. It s time for fact-based policies to replace faithbased ones.

3 In South Vietnam, the U.S. deployed 500,000* troops on a battlefield of 67,108 square miles with 19 million people. After ten years of conventional war, the US lost. *

4 bigger battlefields, fewer troops In Iraq, the U.S. deploys 160,000* troops on a battlefield of 168,745 square miles, with 26 million people. After six years of conventional combat, the US signed a pact to withdraw by * 2 Campaigns Flare Up Over Iraq Troop Levels, Michael Luo & Sarah Wheaton, New York Times, May 31, 2008

5 the Obama plan In Afghanistan and on the Pakistan border, the U.S. plans to deploy an estimated 60,000* U.S. troops on a battlefield of 250,001 square miles with 30 million people. The war might spread to Pakistan with 310,403 square miles and 162,420,000 people. After seven years of combat, the Taliban are entrenched and growing in both countries. * Afghan Strategy Poses Stiff Challenge for Obama, Michael R. Gordon, New York Times, December 1, 2008

6 population per country

7 a comparison of land mass

8 u.s. troop commitments

9 costs of the Afghanistan war AMERICAN CASUALTIES, KILLED 4,150 WOUNDED [est.] Source: and AMERICAN TAXPAYER COST:* $267 BILLION [ ] $173 BILLION [EST. 2009] = $439.8 BILLION [TOTAL] AT THIS RATE, THE COST IN OBAMA S FIRST TERM WILL BE $692 BILLION. THE TOTAL COST OF THE WAR BY 2012 WILL BE ONE-TRILLION DOLLARS. *Amy Belasco, CRS Report for Congress: The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11, October 15, 2008.

10 Afghanistan civilian casualties CIVILIANS KILLED BY US-LED MILITARY ACTION 4,800-6,873 [ , est.] TOTAL CIVILIANS KILLED AS RESULT OF WAR 6,069-7,607 [est.] PERCENTAGE OF CIVILIAN DEATHS CAUSED BY US 79%-90% Source: average of multiple surveys, high and low estimates.

11 U.S. Killed 90 in Afghan Village, Including 60 Children, U.N. Finds -Carlotta Gall, New York Times, August 27, 2008 (image accompanies) Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan Are Undermining Allies War on the Taliban - Carlotta Gall and David E. Sanger, New York Times, May 13, 2007 A special investigator for the United Nations on Thursday accused foreign intelligence agencies of conducting nighttime raids and killing civilians in Afghanistan with impunity...he was accusing the Central Intelligence Agency or American unconventional-warfare units of operating without accountability - New York Times, May, 16, 2008

12 criticism by elected Afghanistan, Pakistan officials If America wants to see itself clean of terrorists, we also want that our villages and towns should not be bombed. - Yousaf Raza Gillani, Prime Minister of Pakistan, March 25, 2008, New York Times The coalition went around the Afghan villages, burst into people s homes and has been committing extrajudicial killings in our country. - Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, December 23, 2008, New York Times

13 secret detentions and human rights abuses Six hundred Afghans are held in secret detention without human rights protections at the US Bagram Air Base. In addition, many have been transferred from Guantanamo for secret trials where there are no witnesses, no cross-examination and no sworn statements. All of these trials have been prepared by our friends from the United States, says one member of the Afghanistan Supreme Court. Afghans Hold Secret Trials for Men U.S. Detained, David Rohde & Tim Golden, New York Times, April 10, 2008

14 a narco-state with a narco-insurgency Narco-corruption went to the top of the Afghan government, according to an American expert in Kabul. The Taliban are financed by poppy cultivation in southern Afghanistan. Ninety percent of the world s heroin trade is based in Afghanistan. A hectare of poppies brings a farmer 12 times what a hectare of wheat will produce. Aerial destruction of the poppy crop is an attack on both the government and the insurgency. Is Afghanistan a Narco-State? Thomas Schweich, New York Times Magazine, July 27, 2008

15 extreme poverty in Afghanistan Afghanistan ranked 173rd of 178 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index in 2005.* The ranking has not been revised. $36 billion: annual US military aid to Afghanistan $10.4 billion: amount of US development aid pledged, $5 billion: amount of US development aid actually dispersed. - Center for American Progress, Aug. 14, 2008 * Afghan Living Standards Among the Lowest, U.N. Finds, Carlotta Gall, New York Times, February 22, 2005.

16 U.S. secret war in Pakistan 100 American Special Forces [estimate] US $400 million for Frontier Corps of 85,000 paramilitaries in tribal areas Source: U.S. Plan Widens Role in Training Pakistani Forces in Qaeda Battle, Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, New York Times, March 2, 2008

17 framing the alternatives DIPLOMACY AND DEVELOPMENT, NOT OCCUPIERS AND PREDATORS

18 domestic recommendations Call for democratic debate and hearings on an exit strategy by US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. John Kerry, chair, including peace movement critics. Call for hearings and critical questioning from House Progressive Caucus and Out of Iraq Caucus to focus on Afghanistan.

19 diplomatic-political recommendations Non-intervention by US in August 20 Afghanistan national election Do nothing further to provoke Pashtun nationalism. Meet the Afghan government s request for investment in agricultural irrigation, energy, and roads. Talk to the Taliban [Greg Mills, special advisor to ISAF, New York Times, September 18, 2006] Diplomacy with Iran [anti-taliban, shares border, supported US in 2001] Diplomacy with Pakistan [supports Taliban to project power in Afghanistan, is strongly against US tilt to India over Kashmir] Diplomacy with Russia

20 military recommendations End US/Coalition air strikes, offensive operations against insurgents, and Predator attacks on Pakistan Define US military mission as interim holding action pending diplomatic solution with deadlines and metrics Lessen militant Taliban/al Qaeda/jihadi support base by withdrawing troops from Iraq and immediate progress on Palestinian rights No mass human displacements from aerial eradication of poppies

21 The only meaningful way to halt the insurgency s momentum is to start withdrawing troops. The presence of foreign troops is the most important element driving the resurgence of the Taliban. - Gilles Dorronsoro, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Report, January 2009 Our military strategy...should focus on counter-terrorism not counterinsurgency. Our presence so far has prevented al-qaeda from establishing training camps in Afghanistan. - Rory Stewart, Time, July 28, 2008

22 A troop increase is likely to inflame Afghan nationalism because Afghans are more foreign than we acknowledge and the support for our presence in the insurgency areas is declining. The Taliban, which was a largely discredited and backward movement, gains support by portraying itself as fighting for Islam and Afghanistan against a foreign military occupation. - Rory Stewart, Time, July 28, 2008.

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