The Future Costs of the Afghanistan War

Health Care vs. Warfare

Published on Voices for Creative Nonviolence, by Jeff Leys, September 8, 2009.

Two key developments in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will likely take place this month. Congress will more than likely pass the Defense Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2010 (which begins on October 1) and General McChrystal will likely request that additional troops be deployed to Afghanistan. The Defense Appropriations Bill contains about $130 billion to wage the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan through September 30, 2010. General McChrystal is expected to request that 15,000 to 45,000 additional U.S. troops be deployed to Afghanistan—bringing overall U.S. troops levels in Afghanistan to 84,000 to 114,000.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes and out of the public eye, the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force are preparing their respective budget requests for FY 2011 (which begins October 1, 2010 and runs through September 30, 2011).

The publication “Inside the Pentagon” reports: …  

… The Peaceable Assembly Campaign begins, this fall, with the development of local campaign committees to advance campaign objectives and to lobby Congress regarding these objectives.

In January 2009, the PAC will focus upon President Obama. From January 19 to February 2 we will maintain a daily vigil—which will include daily acts of civil disobedience—at the White House seeking an end to funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This time period is critical for a final attempt to influence President Obama before he submits his budget request for 2011 to Congress. January 19 marks the start of President Obama’s second year in office with February 2 being the date by which he is supposed to submit his 2011 budget to Congress, a budget that will include funding for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

After February 2, the Peaceable Assembly Campaign will once again emphasize legal and extralegal lobbying work to achieve its objectives. The extralegal lobbying work will consist of nonviolent civil disobedience at the offices of Representatives and Senators who do not agree with the objectives of the campaign—and especially who do not commit to cutting off funding for warfare with a concomitant redirection of funds to serve the Common Good. This phase of the campaign is timed to the legislative calendar during which Congress will be developing and enacting the Defense Appropriations Bill for 2011—a bill which will likely include funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than likely the House and Senate will act upon the Defense Appropriations Bill for 2011 by the end of July 2010.

These next several weeks and months are critical in redirecting our country away from Common Destruction and towards the Common Good. Decisions will be made by President Obama and Congress which could send hopes for health care, education, living wage jobs, a new environmental policy crashing upon the shoals of never ending war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must insert ourselves into this decision-making process. We cannot afford to not utilize legal and extralegal (civil disobedience) lobbying, tactics and strategies to bring about an end to the Common Destruction being waged globally in our name. (full text).

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