As most everyone knows by now, on June 23, President Obama fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan. He said, however, "I don't make this decision based on any difference in policy with General McChrystal, as we are in full agreement about our strategy." This, we believe, is a tragic mistake on Barack Obama's part.
We at Peaceworks are glad McChrystal is gone, BUT, our primary concern was not with Obama's choice of commander. And it wasn't that the President's plan to win the war was deficient. It's more basic. We reject his embrace of a war that should never have been launched in the first place. It's a war that's illegal at it's base, is immorally costing the lives of countless innocents, is counterproductive to national security, is phenomenally costly, and won't be won.
OUR VOICES SHOULD COUNT: While public opinion has been turning against this pointless war, the administration and Congress seem intent on ignoring our concerns. It seems the politicians know the war is not popular, but they also don't see it as an issue that many people care intensely about. As such, most feel free to ignore their constituents' concerns confident there'll be no price to pay. We've got to up the ante and let them know that we are not accepting permanent war.
SHOW THEM THAT WE CARE: For starters, please make a couple of quick phone calls. Call the White House and call your U.S. Rep. If you share our analysis, please let both know that you think it's the war itself, not just the commander, that should be canned, ASAP.
Note that this is an opportune time to let them know your thoughts, as the House has yet to approve the supplemental authorizing additional funds for President Obama's ill-conceived troop surge.
You can reach the White House Hotline at 202-456-1111. Call during business hours (9-5 Eastern/8-4 Central).
If you live in Columbia or elsewhere in Missouri's 9th Congressional District, you can call Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer's Washington office at (202) 225-2956 or his Columbia office at (573) 886-8929. You can also leave comments on his website at http://luetkemeyer.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=44§iontree=44 but calls are most effective.
If you live outside the 9th District, you can find your Rep's contact info at http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW_by_State.shtml
If you have the time, it would also be helpful to send an end-the-war message to our Senators McCaskill and Bond. You can call Sen.McCaskill's DC office at 202-224-6154, or her Columbia office at 573-442-7130. You can post an on-line message to her at http://mccaskill.
You can call Sen. Bond's DC office at (202) 224-5721, or his Columbia office at (573) 442-8151. You can post an on-line message to him at http://bond.
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MAKE YOUR CONCERN VISIBLE: Get visible for peace. Join our highly visible Rush Hour Peace Demos held every Wednesday's 4:30-5:30 at Broadway & Providence. Thousand drive by each week, with large numbers showing solidarity by honking for peace. The more folks out, the better the responses we get. While President Obama might not see us or know we're there, it sends an important message to our fellow citizens. It's essential to remind our community that this war is opposed. Your participation, even occasionally, will help us demonstrate that this is a matter that many, many people care deeply about. Additional peace vigils held each Saturday, 10-11 a.m. at Columbia Post Office and every Wednesday, 12-1 p.m. at the Jefferson City Post Office on High St.
SHOW "RETHINK AFGHANISTAN": Peaceworks invites you to host a screening of the excellent Robert Greenwald documentary, “Rethink Afghanistan.” We are happy to provide you a copy on DVD for screening at your home, organizational meeting, class or house of worship. We also can send someone to share comments and facilitate a discussion, if desired. Contact us at 573-875-0539. More on the film at www.rethinkafghanistan.com
TAKE ADDITIONAL ACTION: There are many other ways to influence public opinion and help build a new, powerful anti-war movement. We encourage you to write letters to the editors. Call in on talk shows. Speak up at work, school and at your house of worship. Join Peaceworks in our outreach efforts. Help petition at events. Arrange speakers for organizations. Attend meetings. Help plan peace events. Participate in door-to-door canvasses. There's much to be done that will reach our fellow citizens and our elected officials.