E-News: Pressure Builds for Afghanistan Withdrawal
May 22, 2012
Afghanistan: Pressure Builds for Withdrawal; House Approves Dangerous, Bloated Military Bill; What's New: Starving the Hungry to Feed the Pentagon; Setting Priorities for Action; Budget Expert to Speak at Quaker Public Policy Institute; Recent FCNL Statements; War is Not the Answer Photo of the Week: Madison, WI
Faced with fading public and congressional support for the U.S. war in Afghanistan, the president and Congress are inching their way toward a responsible withdrawal of U.S. combat troops. But they have yet to embrace a complete change in the U.S. war strategy, which is presently incapable of delivering stability or peace for Afghanistan.
This weekend in Chicago, President Obama and other world leaders endorsed a plan that is billed as a wind-down of international combat operations and a responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan. However, continuing a failed military policy for another year at the cost of billions of dollars and countless lives is anything but responsible. As NATO allies look toward the exit, the U.S. should do the same by bringing an end to its military presence and shifting focus towards facilitating an end to the decades-long conflict.
The pressure to bring this war to an end is ever mounting, even in Washington. In Congress, 94 representatives called on the president to accelerate the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Recognizing this growing opposition to the war, on Thursday House leaders blocked a vote on an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have required the U.S. to end combat operations earlier than the date set by the Obama administration of December 2013.
Will this opposition lead to a change in U.S. strategy to help build a lasting peace in Afghanistan? In this election year, members of Congress need to hear from you if they are ever to act to end the war.
Photo: President Barack Obama thanks NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the opening of the NATO Summit in Chicago, Ill., May 20, 2012. (DoD photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley/Released)
The National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House last week:
- Greatly increases the Pentagon budget beyond the limits in the Budget Control Act;
- Fails to guarantee the right to civilian trial for anyone arrested in the United States;
- Fails to put limits on drone strikes; and
- Could undermine implementation of the New START treaty to reduce deployed nuclear weapons in the United States and Russia.
Find out how your representative voted on these and other amendments. Now all eyes will be on the Senate, which has yet to consider its authorization bill. Senators are unlikely to support many of the amendments approved by the House.
Photo: Rob Pongsajapan via Flickr Creative Commons
Starving the hungry to feed the Pentagon. 1.8 million people could lose food stamps. 300,000 children could lose health coverage. That would be the consequence of the House-passed budget proposal to save the Pentagon from cuts, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Your advocacy to insist that Pentagon budget cuts stay in place is more urgent now than ever, says FCNL's Katherine Philipson. Join our week of action for a peaceful budget, and plan to come to Washington this November to continue this lobbying work.
Setting priorities for action. A near-record-breaking number of Quaker meetings and churches-246-took part in the first stage of our discernment about FCNL's lobbying priorities in 2013 and 2014. Thank you! This input will be further refined by our Policy Committee during the next six months. The FCNL General Committee will then be asked to reach unity on these priorities at our Annual Meeting in November.
Budget expert Ellen Nissenbaum to speak at Quaker Public Policy Institute. Senior Vice President for Government Affairs for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (and former FCNL intern) Ellen Nissenbaum will help prepare you to lobby this November. Find out more and register for the Institute today!
- Stop Efforts to Block Reductions in Nuclear Weapons: Letter to the House
- Stop Funding for a New Nuclear Bomber: Letter to the House
- 28 Organizations Support Funding for the Complex Crises Fund
- Support the "Rebuild America Act"
FCNL's Stephen Donahoe and Emily Temple were on the road last week, taking a tour through the Midwest and meeting with our supporters, including these folks at Madison Friends Meeting.