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Out of Afghanistan

Posted by Peter Rothberg on May 20th, 2009

Click here for more information about the Afghanistan war.

In my view, there are many good reasons to support the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. But Afghanistan is not Iraq and public opinion still largely supports Obama’s escalation. (This is partly, I think, because there’s so little media coverage of what’s actually taking place in the country — recent estimates of coverage by major news outlets report that a scant 0.6 percent of reporting has been devoted to Afghanistan.)

So, the first step to effectively opposing the war in Afghanistan is shifting US public opinion. That’s why a coalition led by United for Peace and Justice has organized this Thursday’s National Media Day of Action. The idea is to focus attention on all the reasons the current strategy isn’t working and to highlight positive solutions for re-shifting our priorities.

Public pressure is especially critical at this moment with the White House’s selection of Gen. Stanley McChrystal as top commander in Pakistan and Afghanistan after his classified role in running Special Ops in Iraq for five years. McChrystal’s “rise can only mean an intensified campaign of secret–and dirty–warfare in the remote villages of Pakistan and Afghanistan,” as Tom Hayden wrote recently,

In other words, things could get real ugly real fast if Obama isn’t convinced to change course. So do all you can on Thursday!

There are numerous ways we can all work together to get our voices out: through letters to the editor, calls to talk-radio shows, blog comments, posts on your blog and/or to your online social networks, notes to your email lists and Twitter followers — even actually talking to people about why we think the war in Afghanistan needs to end. The message is what you want it to be but you can find talking points here. Watching and sharing this video produced by our friends at Brave New Foundation also helps underscore the stakes involved.

This collective push to end the war could be an important step toward shifting public opinion away from the historical fallacy that Afghanistan can be conquered by military might.

PS: If you have extra time on your hands and want to follow me on Twitter — a micro-blog — click here. You’ll find (slightly) more personal posts, breaking news and lots of links.

(Also on The Nation)

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