Wednesday, December 2, 2009

USAction Supports Afghan Exit But Opposes Troop Escalation: Too Great a Risk, Too High a Cost

/PRNewswire/ -- USAction today praised President Obama's goal of a concrete end to the war in Afghanistan, coupled with political and military benchmarks for success, but expressed profound concern over plans to commit at least 30,000 new troops to the war effort.

"We support the fact that President Obama has a set exit strategy because the previous administration did not," said USAction Program Director Alan Charney. "We are concerned that adding 30,000 troops to the Afghan war zone will make the goal of exiting Afghanistan within three years difficult to achieve. We firmly and resolutely oppose expansion of the war in Afghanistan."

Charney questioned the cost of expanding the war in Afghanistan - a cost that is expressed through the lives of Americans and Afghanis lost and the sacrifice and suffering borne by the families of those killed and maimed. "To paraphrase John Kerry: How do you ask a family to be the last to lose a loved one in Afghanistan?" Charney said. "The risk of escalation is too great. The cost is too high."

And he added that Congress and President Obama must weigh America's priorities in a time of deep recession and an unemployment rate of more than ten percent. "Investing in America's future means creating jobs, strengthening our safety net to address poverty, hunger and home foreclosure and paying for quality, affordable health care. We just cannot afford to expand the war in Afghanistan."

Matt Holland, director of USAction's online department, TrueMajority, said more than 30,000 USAction/TrueMajority members have signed a petition opposing the increase in fighting. "TrueMajority members were among the first to oppose the war in Iraq," he said. "We were among the first to oppose George W. Bush's escalation in December 2007. And we've been among the first to oppose this mistake in Afghanistan. Our members were right the first time and right the second time. Must there be a third time?"

USAction helped lead the Americans Against Escalation in Iraq coalition and many of its 28 state affiliates and partners organized on-the-ground events against the troop buildup. USAction and its online department TrueMajority also have been helping lead the effort to curtail funding for the F-22 fighter jet as well as other unnecessary and obsolete Pentagon programs.

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