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ACTION ALERT: Bills to Stop the Afghan Surge


November 24, 2009
US Rep. Barbara Lee and The Peace and Justice Resource Center

While thousands of peace activists flooded the White House with calls, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced her legislation, HR 3699, prohibiting taxpayer funds for more combat troops to Afghanistan.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee's HR 3699
The Peace and Justice Resource Center

OAKLAND, California (November 24, 2009) — While thousands of peace activists flooded the White House with calls, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced her legislation, HR 3699, prohibiting taxpayer funds for more combat troops to Afghanistan. Coupled with Rep. Jim McGovern's HR 2404 calling for an exit strategy, the measures provide space for the peace movement to organize in local communities across the country during the next six months.

Lee was joined in Oakland by Tom Hayden, Danny Glover, Paul Cox, a Vietnam veteran for peace, and Sharon Cornu, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council.

The measure will be sent to the House Appropriations Committee, whose chairman, David Obey [D-Wisc.] famously gave President Obama a one-year window in Afghanistan before promising aggressive Congressional action. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently echoed Obey's call, saying that little support exists for funding an escalation in Afghanistan.

Lee chairs the Congressional Black Caucus, so her stance becomes important in the struggle over the priorities of the Obama administration. As in the past, the White House and Pentagon are expected to pressure Democrats against a funding cut-off, while quite possibly offering a promise to limit the duration of the war through an exit strategy. If the White House succeeds, Lee's tougher bill would be defeated while McGovern's aspirational resolution will pass with a majority.

If a significant number of Democrats vote for Lee's measure, President Obama will be forced to rely on his Republican opponents who may help fund the [war] while seeking to defeat Democrats in 2010 and 2012.

The Peace and Justice Resource Center
Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs [or SEE Inc.],
22231 Mulholland Highway, Ste. 209, Calabasas, CA, 91302, [tel.] 818-225-950.



An Alternative to Escalation in Afghanistan
Hon. Barbara Lee / The Nation

WASHINGTON (November 20, 2009) — President Obama is expected to make a decision regarding his Afghanistan strategy after Thanksgiving. Before doing so, he would be wise to consider an alternative which has, until now, been excluded from the systematic review of the gravest decision a president must make. That alternative is laid out clearly in a just-released letter to President Obama from the Congressional Progressive Caucus' Afghanistan Taskforce.

Through careful consultation with a wide array of experts, including those who testified at a series of forums on Afghanistan earlier this year, the Taskforce has developed a smart, alternative approach that would be more effective in providing for both US and Afghanistan security, and far less costly in treasure and lives.

In the letter, Taskforce Chair Michael Honda, along with CPC co-chairs, Representatives Raúl Grijalva and Lynn Woolsey, and CPC members, Representatives Barbara Lee and James McGovern, outline their strategy and request a meeting.

The legislators write that their "perspectives have manifested…via Congressional Progressive Caucus Member-led legislation" including: a timeline for eventual troop withdrawal, prohibiting funds for additional troop surges, reorienting the mission so that 80 percent of US resources are devoted to economic and political development and 20 percent towards security, and prioritizing diplomacy and development over the use of force.

"We now have an opportunity to realign our defense development and diplomatic engagement to ensure political, economic, and social security for a nation deeply impoverished," the letter closes. "This new tack, if taken today, can transform the conflict while remaining consistent with America's strategic interests."

• You can find the letter here. You can also contact the White House and ask the President to expand his review so it includes the proposals of the CPC's Afghanistan Taskforce.

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