The Feminist Peace Network is participating in a week-long effort to demand an exit strategy for Afghanistan. While certainly believing that there should be accountability for the bombing of the World Trade Center and the many lives that were lost that day, the Afghan people were not responsible for what happened and the United States’ unending campaign to destroy Afghanistan that has cost so many Afghan lives has clearly failed to destroy the Taliban and is unsupportable and needs to end.
As this blog has pointed out countless times, despite the use of the human rights of women in Afghanistan as part of the justification for our actions, the lives of Afghan women remain at extreme peril and the continuing militarism only exacerbates the everyday dangers that they face. It is time not only to get out but to substantively provide the Afghan people and especially Afghan women with the means to rebuild their country. Doing so would make us all much safer.
Tom Engelhardt has put together an outstanding compendium of the true costs of the Afghan war, here are a few of those numbers:
- Annual funding for U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan, 2009: $60.2 billion.
- Total funds for U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan, 2002-2009: $228.2 billion.
- Funds spent since 2001 on Afghan “reconstruction”: $38 billion (“more than half of it on training and equipping Afghan security forces”).
- Percentage of U.S. funding in Afghanistan that has gone for military purposes: Nearly 90%.
- Cost of the latest upgrade of Bagram Air Base (an old Soviet base that has become the largest American base in Afghanistan): $220 million.
- Cost of a single recent Pentagon contract to DynCorp International Inc. and Fluor Corporation “to build and support U.S. military bases throughout Afghanistan”: up to $15 billion.
- U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, 2002: 5,200.
- Expected U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, December 2009: 68,000.
I highly recommend reading the list in its entirety on Tom’s site.
What can YOU do? First of all call or write to the President and your elected representatives and tell them you want out now. Secondly, if you can, please consider making a donation to help the women of Afghanistan to any of the follow organizations: