Afghanistan war veterans condemn the Kandahar massacre
Join us in telling Congress it’s time to cut the purse strings for this war.
Members of IVAW’s Afghanistan Veterans Against the War committee are speaking out in condemnation of the recent brutal massacre of at least 16 Afghan civilians – including 9 children – by a U.S. Army staff sergeant in a Kandahar village. The incident is just the latest example of the U.S./NATO failed military strategy where Afghans are paying the ultimate price. “Our strategy was never going to work,” says Graham Clumpner, a former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan from 2005 to 2006. “The reality is, the longer we stay in Afghanistan, the more damage we create. It’s time for us to get out.”
You can take action along with us in 2 ways:
This incident represents a pattern of our failed military policy in Afghanistan
This brutal incident is not a case of one “bad apple,” but a continued U.S. military policy of night raids, drone strikes, and helicopter attacks that terrorizes the Afghan people and undermines any hope for stability in that country.
This incident also highlights an extreme example of the effect of our military continuing to send mentally unfit soldiers on multiple deployments. The Army staff sergeant accused of this massacre is on his fourth deployment and is rumored to have been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). While it would be an extreme overstatement to suggest that people with TBI are prone to homicidal behavior, some studies have shown a link between TBI and increased violence.1 Our Operation Recovery campaign is working to end the policy of deploying troops back into battle who are dealing with untreated trauma because we know they are a potential danger to themselves and others. “Too many of our soldiers need mental health care but don’t have access to it. 36 soldiers kill themselves everyday. This is not an excuse for what has happened in Kandahar, but it’s the reality,” says Matt Howard, an Operation Recovery campaign organizer.
The accused perpetrator of this horrific crime is stationed out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, which has become notorious for its high incidence of suicide and for producing soldiers involved in a clear pattern of shocking violence back in their home community, including the veteran who recently shot and killed a park ranger in nearby Mt. Ranier.2 That is why our Operation Recovery campaign will be expanding our efforts there this Spring.
Take action now:
Use our online tools to express yourself with a letter-to-the-editor.
Join us in calling on our elected officials to stop funding the Afghanistan war, which is costing taxpayers between $1 and $2 billion per week. Contact your member of Congress about supporting H.R. 780.
There is no military solution to a largely humanitarian problem
“When I was there, I saw terrible poverty that wasn’t changing by what we were doing,” says Alejandro Villatoro, a Chicago Army Reservist who returned from Afghanistan in August 2011.
In our 11th year in Afghanistan, 42% of Afghans live in extreme poverty with almost half of the population aged 14 and younger. Only 23% of Afghans have access to clean water, and human rights groups report that hundreds of Afghan children die of starvation each week.
And despite President Obama’s stated timetable for withdrawal, bringing troops out by 2014, his administration is now negotiating a strategic agreement with the Karzai government that would have a small troop presence there indefinitely. The President is hoping to get this done before the NATO summit this spring in Chicago.
But the President is wrong on this. We need a full troop withdrawal by the end of this year, and we say no to an indefinite military presence in Afghanistan.
Instead, we should be supporting intensive diplomatic and creative humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan involving players from the entire region, and with Afghan women at the table every step of the way.
Join us in taking action today.
We hope that this horrific massacre will be a real turning point in the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan. “It’s time to face the reality that the Afghanistan war is lost and over,” says Graham Clumpner. The Marines who desecrated Afghan bodies, the Qur’an burnings and subsequent killings of U.S. military officers, the report released by Lt. Col. Daniel Davis calling out the Pentagon’s distortions on our progress – all of this is building momentum toward a policy change. In addition, the recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showing that 60% of Americans think the war is not worth fighting, gives us a window of opportunity we haven’t had in a while to make our voices heard.
Join us by taking action today.
Afghanistan Veterans Against the War
Iraq Veterans Against the War