Massachusetts Peace Action is not a newcomer to the issues raised by the Afghanistan war. We helped organize our first of many protests against the Afghanstan war on September 12, 2001, before it started.
U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan, though “covert”, began in 1978. The progressive, secular government we helped to destroy was modernizing the country and advancing the rights of women. Its overthrow was considered a U.S. victory in the Cold War.
In Syria, our government and its allies financed and armed groups with an ideology even more backward and violent than the Taliban. Together with Turkey, we continue to this day to protect their enclave, effectively controlled by al Qaeda, in northwestern Syria.
Now, after $1 trillion and countless lives wasted on the 2001-2021 Afghanistan war, and 42 years of American interference in that country, we must help America learn the lessons of this disaster.
- The U.S. must stop making war on Afghanistan. No drone strikes, bombings, special forces, or aid to rebel groups.
- Engage with the Taliban and establish normal relations with the new government. Pay reparations to the Afghan people for the harm we have caused. Accept all Afghan refugees.
- Support regional diplomacy by convening Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran and others to guarantee the neutrality and support the stability and development of Afghanistan.
- Clean house in Washington. Conduct a thorough investigation of the lies, fraud and mismanagement. Remove all the lying and incompetent generals and national security officials who managed the war for the past 20 years.
- End other U.S. interventions in the Middle East by withdrawing troops from Syria and Iraq, ending arms sales and military assistance to Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel, ending sanctions on Syria and Iran, and rejoining the Iran nuclear deal.
- Repeal the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for use of military force. Pass the National Security Powers Act (S.2391) to ensure that any future military interventions, arms sales, and sanctions are approved by Congress and have limited terms.
- Deeply cut the Pentagon budget and use the funds made available to resettle refugees, launch a global COVID-19 vaccination drive, greatly reduce inequality in our country, and address the climate catastrophe.
If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. The debacle of four American presidents’ policies in Afghanistan is a wake-up call. We must learn the lessons, change course, rebuild our wounded society, and re-engage with the world on the basis of respect and equality rather than arrogance.