On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Congresswoman Barbara Lee hosted a special hearing entitled "Ten Years On: Why the War in Afghanistan Must End Now." Academics, experts, and advocates joined Members of Congress to present opposition to the ongoing war in Afghanistan at a panel event.
"After ten years and $460 billion invested in an unstable country with untrustworthy leadership, it is past time to end the war in Afghanistan," said Congresswoman Lee. "Ten years is ten years too long for this wasteful war; it is time to bring our troops and our tax dollars home. That's why I introduced HR 780 to safely and swiftly redeploy all combat troops and military contractors from Afghanistan."
Panelists discussed the cost of ten years of endless warfare since the overly broad Authorization of Use of Military Force was approved in 2001. Thousands of soldiers' lives have been lost, civilian Afghani casualties continue to destabilize efforts for peace, and the United States has committed to borrowing trillions of precious dollars to an open-ended military commitment. Civil liberties have been compromised, there have been illegal wiretaps, unlawful detentions, the use of torture -- all justified in the name of fighting the war on terrorism.
Boston University Professor of Political Science and United States Foreign Policy Neta Crawford provided the following testimony at the hearing: "The costs in blood and treasure in Afghanistan for the U.S., its allies, and for Afghans have been underestimated and undercounted. A comprehensive accounting shows that the intensity of the war is increasing, not decreasing."
Panelists also discussed peaceful alternatives to military action in Afghanistan. Ria Dellawar, an expert on Afghanistan testified that "with the surge, the violence has escalated and any opportunity for dialogue has closed. Despite the failure of counter-insurgency to stop the Taliban and rising civilian and troop casualties, the U.S. continues to pursue its military-first strategy."
"Afghan civil society leaders want a shift in military strategy," said Lisa Schirch, Director of 3P Human Security: Partners for Peacebuilding Policy. "Excluding key stakeholders, especially diverse sectors of civil society, will create a recipe for failure."