AIW fails: End the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan

In a close vote, AIW 6, “End the U.S. War in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” fell short of the two-thirds vote needed for approval.

The sponsor of the resolution, Harvard Divinity School professor Daniel McKanan, told delegates that it was time to end the “longest running war in United states history,” which he said “has become increasingly destructive and dangerous.” Opponents of the resolution invoked the vulnerability of women and of civil society in Afghanistan, which they said would be imperiled if the U.S. pulled out prematurely. Delegate Andrew Johnson from the UU Church of Palo Alto, Calif., a former Special Operations officer and war resister, said that an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces would “create a vacuum that will be filled with murder, rape, and pillage.”

  • David_Keppel

    This debate and vote really surprised me. I appreciate those who are concerned about Afghan civil society. But it's a tragic mistake to think that U.S. occupation can improve that sustainably. We have an unhealthy co-dependency with a corrupt puppet government (that often defies the puppet-master, as is typical in such situations).
    What is needed is a cooperative way out. We need talks involving all parties and factions in Afghanistan, and all its neighbors. That's actually the opposite of current U.S. policy, which is to exclude strategic rivals such as Iran, Russia, and China. We also need to rethink the centralism of the (Western-imposed) Afghan Constitution, which actually empowered a faction and ignored regional diversity. I know that many argue that if we withdraw there will be chaos. The real question, however, is whether we can avoid such a fate or merely postpone and worsen it by staying, as was the case in Vietnam. We spend a million dollars a soldier per year in Afghanistan, while the average GDP per capita is $531. The United States spends $300 billion annually on the war in Afghanistan and about one-tenth that on development aid to the rest of the world. Are these priorities humanitarian?

    If you belong to a congregation or task force eager to work on ending the war (and that's a majority of delegates, just not yet quite 2/3), please see rethinkafghanistan dot com http://rethinkafghanistan.com/blog/press/ and Friends Committee on National Legislation's Afghanistan page: http://www.fcnl.org/afghanistan/
    Peace,
    David

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