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We’ll Deliver Your Message to Your Representatives This Week

Posted by Emily Taylor on October 26th, 2009

Hey all! Check out this great message from our friends at Jobs for Afghans:

Ralph Lopez and team at the Afghan Marshall Plan Exit Strategy, a project of Jobs for Afghans, will be in Washington DC this week to sound out congressmen and senators on their positions on the troop escalation, and on the replacement of the military presence with a civilian solution as demanded by www.RethinkAfghanistan.com and others. In this citizens’ lobbying effort we’ll be roaming the halls of Congress and putting their feet to the fire.

The focus will be on addressing the starvation conditions which drive the insurgency. We are against the escalation, and want troops out to be replaced by works programs which help ordinary Afghans. This strategy simply deprives the Taliban of recruits, since the Taliban is unpopular and most young men fight only because it pays $8 – $10 a day, in a climate of 40% to 50% unemployment.

If you would like Team Exit Strategy to visit your own congressman on your behalf, please call and make an appointment for them. Call our coordinator Sue at 617-599-5195 to work out the time and date. We’ll be in DC from Tuesday 10/27 through Friday 10/30. Make it clear that you are a constituent and you would like a hearing for a civilian solution. We will ask:

- Where does the congressman stand on the escalation, if he or she has not already taken a stand?

- Will this congressman speak against the escalation on the floor of the House or the Senate?

- Does the congressman support a civilian solution?

- Will the congressman become the sponsor or a co-sponsor of the Afghan Marshall Plan Exit Strategy, a summary of which can be seen here:

http://jobsforafghans.org/exitstrategy.html

- Whatever else you would like us to ask them.

Ralph and his team will report back to you the results of the meeting, This also helps to update the whip list at sister site NoEscalation.org You can then write a letter to the editor of your local paper to inform your community of where your congressman and senators stand.

Thanks!

Sue Serpa
Coordinator, Afghan Marshall Plan Exit Strategy
a project of Jobs for Afghans
617-599-5195
http://jobsforafghans.org

Jobs for Afghans project in Afghanistan

Jobs for Afghans project in Afghanistan


Fact Sheet for Afghan Marshall Plan Exit Strategy

No Troop Escalation! Demand a Civilian Solution! (We will pass these out at congressional offices)

- There is 40% – 50% unemployment in Afghanistan, and the Taliban pays $8 a day to young fighters who would rather be doing anything else. There is literal starvation taking place across the country, including in Kabul.

- 35% of Afghans are malnourished, according to the UN. Eight years after the occupation began, 1 out of 5 children still dies before the age of five, and two-thirds of the population still has no access to safe drinking water. Many children die of easily preventable or treatable disease. What is needed now is a “civilian assistance surge.”

- The Taliban is politically unpopular, and most Afghans are repulsed by its ideology, which is an extreme Wahabist interpretation of Islam. Many people remember the cruel punishments and executions in the National Stadium. But it is growing in strength by taking advantage of vast numbers of unemployed men.

- In 2001 the vast majority of Afghans welcomed the overthrow of the Taliban, which was a small minority which ruled mostly by fear.

- The best way to defeat the Taliban, and to decrease the danger to our troops, is with a countrywide jobs program costing about $4 billion, less than what military operations cost for 2 months. The Independent Directorate for Local Governance (IDLG), a ministry of the Karzai government, reported that governors and district chiefs unanimously agreed that unemployment is the number one driver of the insurgency.

- Work projects which pay cash by the day or week are up and running successfully in Afghanistan. The problem is there are not nearly enough of them.

- Men gather in the squares in Kabul by the thousands hoping to be hired for day labor at $4 per day. They are of all ages, and ready and willing to work.

- One Afghan government ministry, the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD,) is ready and capable of managing large numbers of works projects which would hire large numbers of potential Taliban recruits. This project would include digging drainage ditches, irrigation ways, and clearing canals. This would cause mass defections in the Taliban ranks. The MRRD has set up over 25,000 Community Development Councils (CDCs,) committees at the village level, to insure that the help reaches ordinary Afghans, not corrupt warlords.

- “Building up” the Afghan National Army and Police will not by itself insure stability. Rural Afghans are often more afraid of the National Police than they are of the Taliban.

- The Taliban is not an indigenous movement to Afghanistan. The Taliban originated in Pakistani madrassas funded by the Pakistani intelligence agency the ISI, in order to have a friendly or neutral country on its northern border. This was an imperative in Pakistan’s contest with India.

- Afghanistan is not an Arabic country, and has no affinity with Al Qaeda, which is Arabic in origin. The Pashto and Dari languages spoken in Afghanistan are Indo-European in origin, and distantly related to English.

- To frame the debate as being solely over whether there should be more troops, fewer troops, or no troops is flawed and misleading. This ignores the economic context of the insurgency.

- A withdrawal of US troops, by the traditional means of cutting off war funding, could be made possible a by modest infusion of economic assistance which targets and reaches ordinary Afghans. Most have no desire to join the Taliban, and would rather do anything else to make a living. Once freed of their need for the Taliban’s opium money, Afghans of all ethnicities will turn on the Taliban themselves, and be capable of defending themselves.

- Pentagon spokesman Col. Tom Collins said in 2007 “There is a low percentage of the total Taliban force who we would call ideologically driven. We refer to them as Tier 1 people who believe their ideology, that what they’re doing is right. The vast majority of Taliban fighters are essentially economically disadvantaged young men.”

- General Karl Eikenberry, former commander of US forces in Afghanistan told Congress in 2007 “much of the enemy force is drawn from the ranks of unemployed men looking for wages to feed their families.”

- General Stanley McChrystal in his recent report says there is little ideological loyalty between the local Pashtuns and the Taliban. The Taliban gain local support by capitalizing on “vast unemployment by empowering the young and disenfranchised through cash payments, weapons, and prestige.”

- Starting jobs programs now in Afghanistan is not “nation-building.” It is “starvation-stopping.” A works program to employ vast numbers of unemployed, for two years, at $7 a day, is the first crucial step to stability and further development, guided by Afghans. It would result in small capitol savings which would jump start the Afghan economy. Afghans have suffered through 30 years of war and misery. It must stop, and the world will be rewarded with a stable and prosperous member of the international community.

- Starting the Afghan Marshall Plan will win the war at a fraction of the cost of an extended military presence, and will leave much, much more money for Americans to create their own jobs programs here at home.

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to “We’ll Deliver Your Message to Your Representatives This Week”

  1. andyincolorado says:

    The only question left is, how many names go on the memorial?

  2. BillWilliam says:

    So you think the Afghans will overthrow the Taliban and Al Qaeda? Like they did before September 11, 2001? Because they are mostly Muslim they feel obligated to follow the rule of the Muslim leaders. At one time Osama bin Laden was a national hero during the Russian war. Should we forget those people who died in the twin towers, the Pentagon and the Airliner in Pennsylvania. Does an attack on American soil by a foreign cult that was based in Afghanistan, and supported by that government at that time, mean nothing to you? There is a cost to being free. But we no longer care what free means and have no desire to “Pay” for it. You just listen to the enemy propaganda in Afghanistan. You deserve what you get with that attitude. You talk of “saving the people of Afghanistan” You can not take care of yourself, or even care for your neighbors. You call your neighbor in the foreclosed home a jerk for buying a home he could not afford. But the mortgage lender approved the loan confirming his ability to afford the home. Or did the lender have a motive in making a loan that could not be repaid? I have the facts. Yes, the lender lied. Look around at our former “Great” country? We did that! We cheered “no new taxes”, “less business regulation”. Now with less business regulation we still do not realise those regulations did not come from a vacuum or the mad dreams of FDR and before him Teddy Roosevelt. They came from a need, to survive. We have lost that will to survive and let our enemies continue their plan to dominate the world, and us, or kill us. That's what you want, then that's what you deserve. BillWilliam

  3. Roni Taylor says:

    BillWilliam, your link between Afghanistan and Sept 11 is tenuous at best. I respect your memories of those who died that day, but they are not relevant here.

    Even if they were, consider this: 2,993 people, including the hijackers, died in the attacks 11 September 2001.
    As at 7 November 2009 there have been 1,443 coalition deaths and 5,317 – 8,109 civilians killed as a result of U.S-led military actions in Afghanistan since October 2001.

    You ask: “Does an attack on American soil .. mean nothing to you?”
    I look at the deaths in Afghanistan and answer: “I'm sorry, but no. It means nothing to me anymore.”
    It's been 8 years. Get over it. Bring the troops home.

    Emily has posted a thoughtful article exploring thoughtful alternative solutions to the problems thoughtless people are using to justify a prolonged military occupation of a nation that's done them no wrong.

    Thoughtful people deserve our respect, not your thoughtless rehashing of an old (and mostly racist) grudge.

    My figures are from Wikipedia
    Afghanistan casualties: http://bit.ly/3cwHFR
    September 11 casualties: http://bit.ly/2CFJ7C

  4. Roni Taylor says:

    BillWilliam, your link between Afghanistan and Sept 11 is tenuous at best. I respect your memories of those who died that day, but they are not relevant here.

    Even if they were, consider this: 2,993 people, including the hijackers, died in the attacks 11 September 2001.
    As at 7 November 2009 there have been 1,443 coalition deaths and 5,317 – 8,109 civilians killed as a result of U.S-led military actions in Afghanistan since October 2001.

    You ask: “Does an attack on American soil .. mean nothing to you?”
    I look at the deaths in Afghanistan and answer: “I'm sorry, but no. It means nothing to me anymore.”
    It's been 8 years. Get over it. Bring the troops home.

    Emily has posted a thoughtful article exploring thoughtful alternative solutions to the problems thoughtless people are using to justify a prolonged military occupation of a nation that's done them no wrong.

    Thoughtful people deserve our respect, not your thoughtless rehashing of an old (and mostly racist) grudge.

    My figures are from Wikipedia
    Afghanistan casualties: http://bit.ly/3cwHFR
    September 11 casualties: http://bit.ly/2CFJ7C

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