Escalating the war in Afghanistan is not the answer


President Obama will make his speech on the war in Afghanistan tonight and all the hints from the administration and the media spin suggest that it will be a call for thousands of additional troops; a move that will spell disaster first of all for the people of Afghanistan but also for the people of the United States.

When Obama ran for the presidency he and Biden raised the hopes hundreds of millions here and billions around the world that peace was possible. In fact there was a big collective global sigh of relief when Obama's victory was announced. The hope for peace was a big reason why he won the presidency and over a million and a half came to Washington on that frigid January 20th to witness what they believed was a historic turning point for our nation.

The majority wanted human needs over corporate greed and war. That hope is still very much alive in the hearts and minds of the American people of all races and nationalities.

Since people have found out about the escalation or "surge" Obama's popularity according to some polls has dropped below 50%.

The well-financed Republican-led racist and red-baiting campaign to bring Obama down didn't do it, but the prospect of an escalation of the war did. The tea baggers, anti-abortionists, anti-stimulus package, astro turfers, birthers, all (whose fear of socialism is really deep down a fear of democracy) were not able to lower the president's popularity below 50%, but the war has.

While ratings are clearly an accumulative process it is significant that the peace issue pushed Obama's popularity below the 50 yard line. The prospect of a wider war is going to be a thorn in the side of the president and  Congress unless it is reversed.

Those who think that things would have been no different (or just a difference in style) if McCain and Palin had been elected are not paying attention. Have you been following Palin's statements and the reports on the content of her book? Did you hear McCain's speeches against the stimulus bill and recently against health care reform?

Now visualize them in the White House with a Republican majority in Congress and two wars and an economic crisis. The words that come to my mind are not "no difference" but "much worse." The Communist Party USA like all decent-minded people is not for much worse. We are fighting in all ways possible for much better.

But this is not to say that we agree with all of Obama's policies. Even those that go in the right direction generally do not go far enough. Like most progressive, democratic-minded people, we see real shortcomings in some of the White House policies. However, we know that with a McCain/Palin administration our nation, especially its working people, racial minorities and immigrants  would have to deal with the worse possible circumstances.

In the midst of the health care fight in the Senate the Republicans are now arguing that because of the need to finance the war the nation can't afford health care reform. Sen. Richard Lugar said just yesterday, "Put aside health care. Let's talk about the essentials: the war and money."

Does he mean that 45,000 U.S. lives a year are not essential? They are saying that the effort to end the needless loss of 45,000 lives a year here at home for lack of health care  is not as important as financing the continuing massive loss of blood and money in the endless unwinnable wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? To me it is not only a wrong priority - it's insanity!

The Republican Party is now rated in the low 20% of registered voters. Instead of listening to the Republican generals, President Obama should listen to the voice of the people (including growing numbers of military families). The people in their majority want peace. He should listen to the strong opposition in his own party and heed the call to deescalate.

This war policy is splitting the democratic forces and will weaken the fight for health care, Employee Free Choice and the effort to stop global warming. It will be a roadblock to the passing of a much needed second stimulus package and  putting our economy on a healthy green growth cycle.

What is really essential is an organized, active, visible and united movement with labor, minorities, women youth and students, and seniors that can fight for the change the majority voted for in 2008. We have a good opportunity to respond to the escalation tomorrow. Let's go all out to support the peace demonstrations against the escalation.

Photo: / CC BY 2.0



Post your comment

Comments are moderated. See guidelines here.


  • alan maki:

    thanks for the most recent thoughts outta podunk.

    this was exactly what i was looking for from you when i somewhat sarcastically wanted to know what's to be done and by whom. if i got sarcastic, etc. it was in response[reaction?] to the tone of the original email you posted on this thread, a tone i might add that you've expressed on many other threads in this publication. it was bound to generate a lot of heat and smoke but little light.

    all by way of saying that the thread below is pretty civil, explains exactly where you're coming from, and should have been the initial entry on this thread. it would have saved us all a lot of headaches.

    Posted by gary hicks, 12/07/2009 4:06pm (6 years ago)

  • I thought we made a break with 20th Century Socialism. I agree with Bruce Bostick. Why is this Maki being given a forum for his Stalinist propaganda?

    Posted by Joe Linder, 12/06/2009 5:28pm (6 years ago)

  • "Escalating the war in Afghanistan is not the answer"

    What is the answer to preventing this escalation of the war from taking place?

    Recognizing that it will take all these people becoming highly visible is one thing. What can we do to help create this high visibility? Isn't this the real question requiring an answer?

    Mr. Tyner would you expand on the excellent article you wrote with your suggestions for getting from where we are now to where we need to be? Do you think it is possible to stop the escalation of the war in Afghanistan?

    I am thinking we would be better off forgetting about this war if we can rely on Obama to wind it down.

    This way we could concentrate our efforts on winning a public option in health care reform.

    By the time the peace movement could get wound up the war will be winding down.

    This is a President I have a lot of faith in.

    jerry lund beloit wisconsin

    Posted by jerry lund, 12/04/2009 11:36pm (6 years ago)

  • Gary, strategies require development of specific tactics to make them work. You are separating strategies from tactics when you should be advocating and supporting all tactics aimed at implementing a strategy with a goal and objective in mind.

    In this case the No peace, No vote is clearly being advocated as one tactic among many as part of a strategy to end the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

    This is not about developing dome new strategy but trying one more tactic without abandoning other tactics.

    Tyner stated:

    "What is really essential is an organized, active, visible and united movement with labor, minorities, women youth and students, and seniors that can fight for the change the majority voted for in 2008."

    As part of this fight for peace people engage in all kinds of activities.

    Letter writing is an accepted form of activity.

    I read all the peace organizations requesting letters to elected officials in Congress and to Obama.

    This letter writing is now part of a "mass effort" to stop the escalation of this war.

    You have acknowledged you have not "wasted" one of your precious Bart Simpson stamps in writing a letter to Barack Obama.

    You have acknowledged you did not participate in any demonstration against this escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

    May I ask what "mass" effort you are waiting for that meets your "superior politics" since you have not participated in either of the two most popular forms of protest both of which are an integral part of the strategy aimed at bringing about peace?

    Might I suggest you could write a letter to Barack Obama telling him that unless he ends these wars you will not be voting for him or any other Democrats supporting the wars and this new escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

    You could then take that letter and distribute it to everyone you come across on your way to and from work, when you go grocery shopping and post it on bulletin boards. Maybe hand it out to all your neingbors and ask them to sign on to your letter.

    You could even pass out your letter to passerbys at the next peace demonstration.

    You could take your letter to all the various meetings you go to and ask people at these meetings to sign on to your letter.

    I met Gus Hall once and he explained to me that working in this way is what he meant by the "Communist Plus."

    Gary, I don't see any indication here in reading any of this where anyone except for you thinks they have a "superior politics" and it kind of looks to me like you are looking for excuses not to do anything.

    My gosh, if writing a letter is a waste of your time and you don't want to splurge on a postage stamp I can just imagine what you say about spending some coin for bus fare to participate in a demonstration.

    If you do go to a demonstration what do you do there? Do you collect signatures from people on a petition so you can work up a mailing list and send the petition to public officials with a letter telling them you participated in a demonstration so they understand a movement is developing and growing so they begin to think about what they are doing in waging these wars?

    The "organized, active, visible and united movement" Tyner talks about does not come ready made.

    Maybe you feel No peace, no votes will harm or retard the development of this "organized, active, visible and united movement?" If you think this is the case then by all means share that opinion with us all.

    Maybe Jarvis Tyner would care to answer this question.

    Probably like most people I often do and support things because I think they are a good idea at the time but there is a dimension that I don't consider and it takes someone else providing that dimension for me to understand.

    There must be something more than not wanting to waste your time writing a letter or spending a few cents for a postage stamp you are mulling over in your mind. Please share your thoughts with all of us.

    Dan Plochman Traverse City, Michigan

    Posted by Dan Plochman, 12/04/2009 1:10pm (6 years ago)

  • dan:

    1. slogans are tactical. the no peace, no vote proposal is a good tactic. it is not a strategy.

    2. i'm not going to write a letter to president obama for the simple reason that it won't accomplish anything other than a waste of one of my precious bart simpson stamps for postage. i write letters as part of a mass effort. when you get that together, let me know and i'll see if i like it.

    3. i asked -- rather gruffly admittedly-- for alan maki to tell us what he would do in the name of superior politics that he obviously thinks he holds. i have no apologies to make on that score. i subsequently put out some ideas of what i thought would constitute what we need to pay attention to. please go back over my stuff carefully. if you don't agree with them, fine. very fine. write up your alternatives.

    Posted by gary hicks, 12/04/2009 4:20am (6 years ago)

  • As I read this article by Jarvis Tyner and the comments my attention is drawn to the only concrete suggestion for action posted here.

    A movement for accountability.

    Tyner offers not one suggestion aimed at holding Barack Obama and the Democrats accountable for anything they do.

    Gary in his comments tries to twist No peace-No Votes into nothing more than a slogan when my understanding from reading these comments is this is being advanced as a tactic.

    A very novel and creative tactic which fits in very well with our country's democratic traditions.

    I am going to write Obama a letter telling him and the Democrats not to expect my vote as long as the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan continue.

    I challenge Jarvis Tyner and Gary Hicks to write a similar letter. If they won't do this I would like them to explain why they are opposed to doing this.

    I will write my letter and post it here for everyone to read.

    I appreciate Suzy standing up for what is right and getting us all to think.

    Suzy have you considered making those protest signs to sell? If you do count me in as your first customer. I'll buy a dozen for our local vigil.

    Maybe we could work up postcards, petitions and an open letter to Obama and the Democrats to go with it.

    Gary you asked to be provided by someone else with "What Needs To Be Done?" then you turn around and post an analysis that offers nothing in the way of what needs to be done and you still haven't answered your own question. You say others are wrong so you have a responsibility to offer an alternative.

    I don't even see any photos in the PW of any Communists protesting against Obama's decision to send another 30,000 butchers to Afghanistan.

    Not only has Obama made all the wrong decisions about expanding the war in Afghanistan he has made all the wrong economic moves and Tyner strongly insinuates Obama is making the right economic moves.

    Obama. Wrong on war.

    Obama. Wrong on health care.

    Obama. Wrong on the economy.

    Previously Jarvis Tyner said that Barack Obama was a progressive. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    Dan Plochman Traverse City, Michigan

    Posted by Dan Plochman, 12/04/2009 2:58am (6 years ago)

  • Gary, thanks for the response.

    I never voted for Obama. Never will. I saw right through him what he was.

    I have been getting e-mails from friends telling me I was right in not supporting Barack Obama. Now they are sorry they ever voted for him.

    You still don't say what you think the alternative is to No peace, no votes.

    Obama has ignored protests from day one of his taking office.

    You Obama supporters are the only ones afraid to tell him he is not going to get your vote.

    I have looked at all the materials on the CPUSA site. I have considered myself a member for many years. Never saw a leadership like this one.

    WILPF is in just as bad shape. I kind of blame the problems in the CPUSA for that because the problems mirror the problems the CPUSA is going through. I don't think most of us ever realized how important the CPUSA was to many movements including the peace movement. I'm not blaming the CPUSA for our problems but I do blame the problems the CPUSA is going through for a lot of our problems because some very narrow minded people are fighting out their differences in the CPUSA in other organizations like WILPF. We have seen the demise of many peace organizations because of this.

    We can see how this all plays out in UFPJ. I can remember years ago working under the banner of the US Peace Council for nuclear disarmament. All that is gone. Why?

    I can remember my parents reading the Daily Worker and I often helped pass out the Daily World. Those newspapers never had articles like I am reading here. There were always suggestions on what could be done.

    We see the problems being played out right here in these comments. I find attacks like what have taken place right here in these comments-including yours- to be very selfishly selfserving.

    Posted by Suzy, 12/04/2009 12:45am (6 years ago)

  • Gary you sure thought the article by Phyllis Bennis was good you posted it over and over again. I find it interesting you still have to wait until the elections are upon us before we make up our minds about No peace, no votes. By then it will be too late to organize a movement. This wouldn't be your feeble attempt to try to head off a movement opposing the candidate you support would it?

    Maybe if you shared the details of your own involvement in the peace movement we would all have a better idea of, as you put it, What Needs To Be Done?

    I am wondering why you have provided us with an article that doesn't provide us with any answers to your own question? You have told me all I need to know and hear about your views. You are saying you voted for Obama and now after everything he has done you are going to consider voting for him again.

    Jarvis Tyner has asked us to visualize what McCain might have done. I don't have to visualize what McCain might have done because Barack Obama is doing just what McCain would have done.

    Is there a reason you can't refer us to what the CPUSA answer is to What Needs To Be Done?

    I find it of some little interest that you had to go off on a google search to find an answer to your own question which sets off all kinds of bells and whistles in my head telling me- This Gary person isn't active in the peace movement himself.

    Jarvis Tyner in the above article states: What is really essential is an organized, active, visible and united movement with labor, minorities, women youth and students, and seniors that can fight for the change the majority voted for in 2008. We have a good opportunity to respond to the escalation tomorrow. Let's go all out to support the peace demonstrations against the escalation.

    I participated in my local peace demonstration. Did you?

    Now what?

    We still have your question What Needs To Be Done?

    On No peace, no vote you are not sure about this. Can you provide us with an answer to your own question you are sure about?

    Have you asked Phyllis Bennis what she thinks about No peace; no votes? Why don't you write or call her and ask her and let us all know her answer?

    You ask me what I think. I think Barack Obama and the Democrats have dug themselves a grave in escalating this war in Afghanistan. Who will push them into the grave and bury them?

    I am a member of the Womens International League for Peace and Freedom since 1968. I have done everything from distributing flyers, circulating petitions, marching in the streets. I don't intend to stop doing any of this as long as my health holds out. I do intend to include No peace, no votes as part of my peace activities from now on. I am making a new protest sign stating as much with a picture of an Afghan mother weeping over her dead child with G.I. Joe still pointing his gun at her and the picture of Barack Obama speaking about his plans to send another 30,000 killers to Afghanistan.

    For your information I am also a Gold Star Mother. I notice you didn't provide us with the views of Cindy Sheehan.

    You viciously attack someone and then come back with "hi all!!" posting an article that doesn't answer the question you insisted on an answer to-What Needs To Be Done?

    No peace, no vote is my answer.

    I am not dumb enough to go out and stand in the cold carrying a sign protesting the war in Afghanistan and turn around and vote for Democrats who escalate this war and the killing. I'm not saying you are dumb.

    Posted by Suzy, 12/03/2009 11:09am (6 years ago)

  • Gary I was just reading this article and the comments. I find your comments quite childish and immature. You have an interesting concept of "attack." Where is the "attack"? There seems to be an insinuation in just about every single article I am reading on this site that Barack Obama is doing good things. Lots of people don't see it this way. I would suggest that on each page there should be a notice posted- No anti Obama comments wanted. Only praise for what is written is appreciated. Maybe you should just have a web site for approved people to have access to. Give them passwords to enter. Why even bother inviting comments? I like the idea of No peace-no votes. You challenge others to bring forward things to do. This is the most common sense based suggestion for action I have seen on this entire web site after reading it for two weeks. Where are your suggestions for action?

    Posted by Suzy, 12/03/2009 1:49am (6 years ago)

  • I have been reading this and other articles and comments for several hours now.

    Someone is upset with this Maki guy but other than calling him names and vicious inuendos where is there anything of substance in these attacks.

    I would assume this Bruce Bostick has something to offer in the way of proof for his comments?

    I checked out the Maki blogs and find them excellent activist material. Better than most blogs I read. Top notch.

    As for his suggestion about accountability I think this is the way we need to be moving. Brilliant idea.

    Maybe I am missing something here but it seems to me the most offensive thing being said that a couple people don't like is that Obama should be told to take a hike.

    Count me in as one who won't cast my vote for any politician escalating a war that should be immediately brought to an end.

    I would ask this name calling Bruce Bostick and Gary Hicks to offer a better suggestion for action then: No peace, no vote.

    I hate to make myself the target of a name calling smear attack but the article Maki posted from Reuters tells me more about this war than anything I have read on this PW website. I have copied it for further distribution from the Maki blog. I will pass on his blog to everyone I know. Thank you Mr. Hicks for encouraging me with your comments to read his most informative blog full of suggestions for activities.

    Anyone can compare what Maki wrote to what Bruce Bostick wrote and immediately see the lack of intelligence by Bostick. What kind of person makes a post using such filthy language anyways. I wouldn't be surprised if this post by Bostick hasn't opened this website to some kind of libel or slander law suit.

    My teenage daughter is just getting into showing an interest and awareness in politics. Do you think I would encourage her to read a website filled with this kind of filthy language promoting this kind of hate?

    Here you have a person sign their name with complete contact info who has nothing but a difference of opinion with the writer and he gets subjected to this.

    I would ask Bruce Bostick if he is trying to build an organization or destroy one because I don't know too many people who would submit to this kind of attack.

    JS Chicago

    Posted by Jerry Stately, 12/03/2009 1:16am (6 years ago)

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments