Obama’s Troop Surge is No Way to Bring Peace, Reconstruction, Relief at Home

PHILADELPHIA  (December 1, 2009) – The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker peace and international humanitarian organization, deeply regrets President Obama’s decision to send  thousands more troops to the war in Afghanistan announced tonight. Since the war’s beginning in 2001, AFSC has urged the U.S. government to support diplomacy and an Afghan-led civilian reconstruction effort, rather than warfare, to build peace and security in Afghanistan and the region.

Now, with a weak economy, the war’s financial cost alone – the Pentagon estimates that it costs $1 billion to send 1,000 soldiers – requires a reversal of the decision.

"The administration’s choice to invest billions more in war abroad at the same time the U.S. is suffering its highest unemployment rate in decades is tragically shortsighted," says Mary Zerkel, a coordinator of AFSC’s Afghanistan peace initiative. “If those millions were spent here at home, it could help lead us out of our so-called ‘jobless recovery.’”

AFSC supports a strategy based on diplomacy, the rule of law, accountability and development that improves the lives of both the U.S. soldiers and Afghan civilians. Specifically we ask the Obama Administration:

  • To send no additional troops to Afghanistan
  • To follow a timeline for withdrawal of U.S./NATO forces
  • To engage in talks with all parties to the conflict
  • To offer generous development aid led by civilians, not the military
  • To redirect the billions spent on war to human needs in Afghanistan and at home

AFSC and many peace organizations across the country are planning peace vigils on Wednesday to mark public opposition to troop escalation in Afghanistan and are committed to ongoing nonviolent activism for peace in Afghanistan. 

For more information on AFSC’s Afghanistan initiative, visit www.afsc.org, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.