September 15, 2009
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear president Obama:
We are writing on behalf of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance to seek a meeting to discuss the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan. We are greatly concerned that the people of Afghanistan, like the people of Iraq, are suffering greatly from the U.S. invasion and the continued assault on this beleaguered country.
We feel you are stuck in the same trap, which ensnared President Lyndon Johnson. His decision to continue that awful war in Vietnam brought down his presidency. He failed to listen to the peace movement, and history has not been kind to him.
Today's peace movement is baffled by your persistence to wage war on the people of Afghanistan. Not only is your policy flawed, but it is doomed to failure. Afghanistan surely does not need more killing and destruction. It needs financial assistance and the willingness of the United States to build roads, schools and clinics. The people, especially the women and children, need food, medicine, shelter and an end to the fighting. Moreover, the U.S. military is unsuited to do humanitarian work in Afghanistan.
Please meet with us as soon as possible in order to explain your exit strategy, which must include a plan to provide aid and reconstruction in Afghanistan through nongovernmental organizations. After dialogue with a variety of people in Afghanistan, the U.S. government would then fund international efforts to assist Afghans with the rebuilding of their decimated infrastructure. This would include the funding of medical assistance needed to care for hundreds of thousands of people seriously wounded since the invasion in October 2001.
We protested the belligerency of the Bush administration, and now we are demonstrating against your misguided efforts in Afghanistan. We are mystified that in the midst of a horrible economic crisis, you are wasting precious tax dollars and other resources in a futile war without end. To call this a war of necessity is an attempt to rewrite history.
Develop time lines for the withdrawal of combat troops, close down all military bases, including the notorious prison at Bagram Air Base, and stop the bombing of Pakistan. We need an economic revival in this country, and not a war of choice in Afghanistan. A better use of your time and the country's resources would be to embark on a massive program of promoting clean energy throughout the United States and to get legislation passed guaranteeing health care for all.
Please respond by indicating when and where a meeting can be scheduled. We want to assist you in ending this very tragic chapter in U.S. history. Then you can go about the very painful process of trying to restore the world's trust in the U.S. government. Continuing the war in Afghanistan will further alienate our country from the global community. We look forward to your response and further dialogue.
Joy First, Co-Convener, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Pete Perry, Co-Convener, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Max Obuszewski,Coordinating Committee, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Ellen Barfield, Coordinating Committee, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Malachy Kilbride, Coordinating Committee, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Kevin Zeese, Director, Voters for Peace
Gael Murphy, Co-Founder, Code Pink
Mike Ferner, President, Veterans for Peace
Leah Bolger, Vice President, Veterans for Peace
Elaine Brower, Military Families Speak Out
David Swanson, Co-Founder, AfterDowningStreet Coalition
June Eisley, Coordinator, Delaware Pacem in Terris
Don Muller, Sitkans for Peace and Justice
Patricia Wieland, Nothampton Committee to Stop the War in Iraq