The evidence that the war in Afghanistan is a catastrophe just keeps piling up. Despite General McChrystal’s efforts to reduce civilian deaths, we just learned that so far this year the number of civilians killed by NATO has more than doubled.
This includes a botched raid where special operations forces killed five innocent civilians – including two pregnant women – and then tried to cover it up. Just last week, troops fired into a bus full of civilians, killing as many as five people and causing a firestorm of protest. The Associated Press (4/12/10) has reported that: “With troop levels rising amid heightened violence, at least 2,412 Afghan civilians were killed in fighting last year, an increase of 14 percent from 2008, according to the United Nations … NATO earlier this month confirmed that international troops were responsible for the deaths of five people, including three women, killed Feb. 12 in Gardez, south of Kabul. An Afghan government report on the incident claims U.S. special forces had mistaken their targets and later sought to cover up the killings by digging bullets out of bodies, according to investigators who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the media.”
Earlier this month, the WikiLeaks website released a harrowing video from 2007 of a U.S. Army Apache helicopter opening fire on a group of civilian men in Bagdad, two of whom were journalists working for Reuters.
The Way Towards an Exit Strategy?
The McGovern/Feingold bill was introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). It would require the president to present Congress with an exit strategy by the beginning of next year, and report to Congress every 90 days on implementing the strategy. If this legislation attracts enough support, it could reach the House floor as an amendment, allowing Congress a fundamental — and widely reported — vote on the direction of U.S. policy.
At this writing, the Feingold-McGovern-Jones bill has 21 co-sponsors in the House and no co-sponsors in the Senate.
We need your help to get a strong showing to end the war. Tell Congress we want our taxes to support jobs, healthcare, mass transit, libraries, and education — not more warfare!
Please contact your U.S. Representative and Senators and tell them to vote against supplemental funding of $33 billion in additional money for Afghanistan, which will be decided on in less than two weeks.