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PJALS calls on Senators Murray and Cantwell: Congress must stop Trump’s Afghanistan Escalation

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President Trump announced Monday night a dramatic escalation of US war in Afghanistan, with no definition of success and no exit plan – in fact, very few specifics of any kind. Reports before his speech included speculations of sending 4000 more troops to join the 8400 already there.

The simple truth is that sixteen years after the initial U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, there’s nothing a few more thousand troops will do to finally put an end to a war that simply does not have a military solution.  

As an organization based in principles of nonviolence and dedicated to peace with justice, our PJALS community continues to oppose US war in Afghanistan. After 16 years of war, more than 104,000 lives have been taken. American families are paying $4 million for each hour of this war. There is no military solution and the costs of war are unacceptable. We call on Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell to re-assert Congressional authority and lead in prioritizing diplomacy and development to bring about peace.

Please call – Our Congressional electeds have not yet responded to Trump’s announcement!

  • Senator Patty Murray: 624-9515
  • Senator Maria Cantwell: 353-2507 
  • Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers: 353-2374

As the Congressional Progressive Caucus stated:

“As an alarming range of life-and-death decisions are being relinquished to unelected military officials, Congress must urgently step in and fulfill its constitutional duty to oversee war. We must repeal the ill-fated Authorization for Use of Military Force of 2001, which has been used as a blank check by three administrations for a conflict that has dragged on for nearly 16 years, has cost taxpayers nearly $1 trillion, and has killed thousands of Afghans and Americans.

“Neither Trump nor his top military officials have offered a plausible explanation of how more U.S. troops and weapons in Afghanistan will lead to a victory. They have offered no clear idea of what success might look like or any metrics for gauging success. A fresh deployment of additional U.S. personnel will, instead, aggravate the war’s human costs. After almost 16 years, it is clear that there is no military solution in Afghanistan: only a diplomatic approach, which acknowledges the complexities of the country, can bring about a just and lasting peace for Afghans.”

Background: In 2001, in response to al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States on September 11, the United States launched its combat mission in Afghanistan, which was then harboring the terrorist organization. What began as a mission to destroy al Qaeda and drive the Taliban from power became the longest-running overseas war in American history. More than six years after the successful operation in Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden and 11 years after Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the alleged ‘mastermind’ of 9/11, was captured, the war rages on with no real plan for a lasting, sustainable peace.

There is no military solution in Afghanistan. 

  • There is nothing that an additional several thousand troops can do now that as many as 100,000 could not do in the past sixteen years to provide lasting peace in Afghanistan. After sixteen years of war, it’s time to abandon the military-first approach. Diplomacy and development must be prioritized to solve the myriad of challenges Afghanistan faces today, such as protracted tribal and political rivalries, rampant corruption, poverty, and regional feuding.

America’s endless war in Afghanistan comes with high costs of immense human suffering and trillions in taxpayer dollars.   

  • The Human Costs: Since 2001, more than 104,000 lives have been lost in the war in Afghanistan, including more than 2,400 American military personnel and over 31,000 Afghan civilians. In addition, more than 20,000 U.S. service members have been wounded, with tens of thousands more suffering from invisible wounds from war such as post-traumatic stress disorder. An additional 41,000 civilians have been injured since 2001. The war has created the second largest number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) behind Syria. While hundreds of thousands are returning, they are doing so often involuntarily. Returning refugees and IDPs face limited ability to access basic health care and other services, putting them at risk of malnutrition, illness and early mortality.   
  • The Financial Costs: Every hour, taxpayers in the United States are paying $4 million for the cost of war in Afghanistan. The war in Afghanistan has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $780 billion dollars already. Care for veterans and interest payments will add trillions more over the next several decades.

Congress must reassert its war-making authority.

  • The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force has vague descriptions of acceptable targets and no geographic or time limits, effectively sanctioning a blank check for endless war. Before Donald Trump sends thousands of more American troops to Afghanistan, Congress should repeal the 2001 AUMF and debate and vote on whether or not to authorize ongoing military operations in Afghanistan.
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