Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation 

Working for peace, social justice and principled nonviolence since 1976

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Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers

Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers

Our Journey to Smile

“Beyond Afghanistan:  Choosing Nonviolence”
The War Resisters League, which was founded in 1923, works on many peace and justice issues through active, principled nonviolence. On April 1, 2009, WRL released a statement about Afghanistan, which also appears in WRL’s Spring 2009 WIN Magazine. WRL’s statement recounts the US’s violent behavior in the world and how it hurts the poor. The article points out how Martin Luther King’s 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech still pertains to US militarism and wars today. The article calls for nonviolent solutions to Afghanistan’s injustices and turmoil – and for nonviolent action in the US to stop this violent foreign policy.

“UFPJ Afghanistan Fact Sheet: Surge Peaceful Alternatives, Not Troops!”
http://www.unitedforpeace.org   www.olyfor.org
United for Peace & Justice, a large coalition of many organizations, offers a one-page flyer listing constructive steps the US should take for real peace and real solutions in Afghanistan. The Olympia FOR has modified it slightly and posted it on our website. See the original at the first link and our modified version at the second link.

Afghanistan: Should We Stay or Should We Go?
The time has come for a U.S. exit strategy in Afghanistan. But is “Out Now” a valid response? David Wildman, Sunita Viswanath, and Lorelei Kelly discuss how can we best support Afghan national stability.  by Mark Engler


The U.S. military deliberately targeted the hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan:
On October 3, 2015, the U.S. bombed a hospital operated by Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières -- MSF) in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Evidence shows that – contrary to the Pentagon’s claims – this was not an accident but rather a deliberately targeted attack on this charity hospital operated by this internationally respected humanitarian organization. MSF investigated the attack. On November 5, 2015, MSF’s General Director Christopher Stokes in Kabul issued a public statement about it. The report included this: “The hospital was razed to the ground after a wave of attack from the air. We lost our ability to treat patients at a time when we were needed the most. Thirty of our patients and medical staff died. Some of them lost their limbs and were decapitated in the explosions. Others were shot by the circling gunship while fleeing the burning building. We were forced to leave patients to die on the operating table and others burning in their ICU beds.” MSF also reports this quotation: “Many staff describe seeing people being shot, most likely from the plane, as people tried to flee the main hospital building that was being hit with each airstrike. Some accounts mention shooting that appears to follow the movement of people on the run.” The report – available on MSF’s website, included photos and a caption saying, “The view from inside the hospital is that this attack was conducted with a purpose to kill and destroy.” For information and aerial photo of the hospital “before” and “after” see http://kunduz.msf.org/

The U.S. military has targeted hospitals on a number of occasions in recent decades:
See this article in a recent issue of The Nation magazine and also available at www.thenation.com: http://www.thenation.com/article/look-for-hospitals-as-targets/

Summary of the US’s recent increase in our ongoing harm to Afghanistan:
An article titled “We Have Failed Afghanistan Again and Again” by Sonali Kolhatkar, published July 30, 2015 by www.truthdig.com includes this excerpt: “America’s first post-9/11 war, launched in Afghanistan in October 2001, is a grand symbol of our foreign policy failure. Fourteen years ago, Afghans were caught between two brutal and fundamentalist factions: the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. Today they are caught between four: the Taliban, government warlords who morphed from the Northern Alliance, U.S. forces and Islamic State.” The article proceeds to point out that instead of moving toward peace, the U.S. is reinforcing its military involvement in Afghanistan, including a huge increase in air strikes. The article includes solid information and useful insights. Read it at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/07/30/we-have-failed-afghanistan-again-and-again

In October 2015 Obama announced another delay in ending the Afghanistan war: All U.S. troops were supposed to come home from Afghanistan in 2016, ending the longest war in U.S. history. But in mid-October 2015 President Obama announced that 9,800 soldiers would stay in Afghanistan through most of 2016 and 5,500 would still be there in early 2017. Although the U.S. says our troops stopped doing major combat in 2014, they are now training Afghan forces and – in Obama’s words – “supporting a counterterrorism mission against the remnants of al-Qaeda.” See the article at this link: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/10/americas-war-afghanistan-isnt-over-after-all

In October 2015 when Obama extended the Afghanistan war, Congresswoman Barbara Lee continued her strong advocacy for peace: Not everyone falls for the propaganda. Rep. Barbara Lee from California is one of very few members of Congress who always stands up for peace. See this article about her consistent peace witness: http://www.thenation.com/article/barbara-lee-is-still-right-to-object-to-the-blank-check-endless-war-in-afghanistan/

Yes, we really CAN leave Afghanistan!
The U.S. is bogged down in an unwinnable war in Afghanistan. U.S. officials, including President Obama and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, say the U.S. cannot leave Afghanistan. But foreign policy expert and author Andrew J. Bacevich says we really can leave. On October 18, 2015, the Los Angeles Times published an op-ed he wrote about this. Obama had been talking about the great progress we were making – just as George W. Bush had done for many years before him – but on October 15, 2015, Obama renounced his goal of withdrawing American forces from Afghanistan by the time he leaves office in January 2017. The U.S.’s endless wars there and in Iraq – and increasingly throughout that entire part of the world – reveal seriously bad judgment in how the U.S. conducts foreign policy. The U.S. has been the world’s only superpower for a quarter century, and we have by far the world’s most gigantic and most powerful military, but we cannot militarily defeat some of the poorest people on the planet and cannot militarily achieve our government’s foreign policy goals. Read Andrew J. Bacevich’s article at this link: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1020-bacevich-war-no-choice-20151018-story.html

More insights into being bogged down in Afghanistan: Being “powerful” means being able to do things. If the U.S. cannot leave Afghanistan (see above), it debunks the notion that the U.S. is “powerful.” Despite our huge military, if the U.S. cannot stop our longest-running (14-year-long) war, then we must seriously question whether our military makes us powerful or merely bogs us down like the mythical Sisyphus, who – as punishment for his greedy and power-grabbing behavior – was forced to roll a huge boulder up a mountain, but before reaching the top the boulder would roll down again and Sisyphus would have to start again to roll it up the mountain again. The U.S.’s endless cycles of proclaiming successes in the war in Afghanistan and the “war on terror” overall – interspersed with setbacks and new hotspots of terrorist attacks in additional locations – makes the U.S. seem like Sisyphus. We really must question that validity of seeking military solutions to problems that cannot be solved militarily because they arise in social and political realms that military violence only makes worse. See the very informative and thought-provoking resource I wrote about this at this link: http://olympiafor.org/Violent%20Foreign%20Policy.pdf For an interactive workshop with thought-provoking questions based on this material, contact glen@olympiafor.org, and I can e-mail the .pdf document back to you.

Corruption, fraud, theft and waste are plaguing the U.S. war in Afghanistan: See information at: http://newamericamedia.org/2015/08/hard-graf-the-wasteful-war-in-afghanistan.php

What's wrong with the US's efforts to "reconstruct" Afghanistan:
An interesting article titled “Five Things You Need to Know About the US ‘Reconstruction’ Effort in Afghanistan” by Kanya D’Almeida was published on August 24, 2015, at www.truth-out.org. Read it at this link: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/32481-five-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-us-reconstruction-effort-in-afghanistan

Afghan Peace Volunteers call for end to war: Our young friends in Afghanistan, the Afghan Peace Volunteers, started the #Enough! campaign. They write this (in their own language) on their hands, encourage other people to do likewise, and spread the word. Kathy Kelly’s Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org) and the Global Days of Listening (www.globaldaysoflistening.org) and other peace organizations are supporting this.


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