Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Troops home

By increasing US troop levels in Afghanistan, I think the Obama Administration is making a mistake. US military intervention in Afghanistan during the Cold War strengthened the Taliban in the first place. Collective punishment of Afghanistan's impoverished civilian population after 9-11 was, in my opinion, illegal, immoral and counterproductive. Even now, more than 7 years later, the only persons known beyond doubt to have perpetrated that crime against humanity are the hijackers who perished along with the planes. Civilian deaths caused by US air strikes in Afghanistan continue to increase animosity toward US soldiers, and the country is still one of the poorest in the world.

Afghanistan can't afford more war, and neither can we. We must invest in life.

Such was the message a few of us local CodePinkers conveyed on Friday, Valentine's Day eve, as we walked with decorated shopping bags around a few stores near the corner of 6th and Lamar while people were out shopping for their valentines. Our fliers contained the recommendations for Afghanistan policy written by September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows -- recommendations that do not include troop build-up.

On Valentine's Day, I displayed my "If we (heart) the troops, let's bring 'em home now!" shopping bag in the front basket of my bike as my partner and I rode around town -- to the farmers market, the new light rail demonstration at Saltillo Plaza, on the trail around Lady Bird Lake, into a sandwich shop -- and I didn't hear a single negative comment. Most folks gave a positive sign or repeated "bring 'em home."

Many thanks to Alejandra Almuelle for the photos

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