Afghanistan 101

Posted by Dana -

Wed, Feb 18, 2009


  • Sharebar

There is a LOT of information out there about the crisis in Afghanistan and how and what we (as citizens, activists, women, progressives, humans, etc) need to do to address this multi-faceted, complex issue. Here are some resources that we at CODEPINK have found helfpul in reenforcing the importance of opposing military escalation in Afghanistan and supporting non-military solutions to the conflict. This is by no means an extensive list. If there are other resources that have helped YOU get a better grasp on the issues in the region please leave it in the comments!

First, 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows put together this Afghanistan Primer- this is choc full with useful, focused info + very easy-to-read/comprehend. On January 30, Bill Moyers (on the JOURNAL) hosted a fascinating conversation on bombing – it’s history and current use – with a historian and a former Pentagon official to see how well it works and has worked in the past. This website GetAfghanistanRight.org (launched by Robert Greenwald/Brave New Film and FireDogLake) is a wealth of information with some great video interviews and countless articles! Military Family Speaks Out has also collected some poignant key articles and additional resources. United for Peace and Justice’s Afghanistan Working Group has been pulling together a list of hot resources- check them out here!

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  • Alyson

    I suggest Sarah Chayes’ book, “The Punishment of Virtue,” as a great read on Afghanistan. She includes her experiences as reporter and functionary for an NGO set up to rebuild Afghanistan society after the fall of the Taliban.

  • Isabel Best

    There is an excellent article on Pakistan in the current New York Review of books. We in the West are so far from seeing things from an Asian point of view.
    What is important to Pakistanis isn’t “war on terror” — it’s the “liberation”, in their view, of Kashmir. They will stop putting up with our military activities, to the extent that they can, if they believe we are just getting them farther from that goal.
    The agreement on nuclear materials to India is just bad news. We lost an opportunity to get India to negotiate on Kashmir, among other things. It’s all so much more complicated than we would like. But we won’t make progress on peace in South Asia/Middle East without sitting down and listening to THEIR concerns.

  • rasila queen

    I always knew Obama was in the pocket of the special wealthy interests and wants to usher in the New World Order which will enslave us all. Glad you gals are watching his every move and will try to keep him to his campaign promises.

  • Shaheen

    More troops certainly means more violence, more suffering, more killing of innocents. I am calling on Pres. Obama to fulfill his promise for peace and change by sending AID NOT TROOPS. There is another way. The way of the Pilgrims to bring peace to this troubled Earth.

  • monique soroka

    The Russians have offered their opinions based on their experience in Afghanistan to the U.S. Even their most decorated General has implored the Americans not to repeat their mistakes. One of the most obvious mistakes is to have the arrogance to invade a country of which little is really known and to impose one’s own agenda on how to run their government. How can the Americans not know by now that anyone defending their own land has every motivation to fiercely defend his/her own. That “instinct” can never be overcome by a foreign invader.

    Karzai was Bush’s puppet and now it appears will be Obama’s.
    The Afghani’s presently have a flourishing opium and canabis sativa industry rather than self sufficient farms. Is is possible that the U.S. has commercial interests there ? Anything is possible . . .

    Except, it seems, action towards real peace in the most precarious economic and ecological era that the world has faced.

  • Dave Kisor

    What Afghanistan needs is a leader who can unify the country and not be afraid of the Taliban. Until that happens, the country will be a political hydra with many heads that can not be conquered because it lacks any semblance of a central government.

    Something to think about. I know you’ve all seen the videos of the airplanes striking the twin towers, but did anybody ever see any photos showing airplane parts on the ground? There was no debris field and something like the tail section of a Boeing 757 laying on the ground would have been a terrific propaganda photo, but there weren’t any photos of aircraft parts. Very strange if you ask me. Joseph Goebbels said at the Nuremburg trials if you tell them a big enough lie often enough, they’ll believe it and those videos we their lie. Twenty four tons of steel supposedly from the towers went into the bow of the USS New York, but there was never anything commemorative made from the aluminum of the two transport aircraft that supposedly crashed into the buildings and the ones that supposedly hit the pentagon. They could not have just disintegrated like the official story line went, which would have called for a suspension of the laws of physics. The Global Lie On Terror is just a bunch of hogwash designed to keep us scared. This isn’t off topic, as this debacle is what got our forces mired in Afghanistan in the first place. Read German history about the Reichstag just prior to their invasion of Russia.

    Anchors aweigh,
    Veteran USN, USNR

  • Sporkmaster

    “The Russians have offered their opinions based on their experience in Afghanistan to the U.S. Even their most decorated General has implored the Americans not to repeat their mistakes.”

    We are not repeating them. In order to make Afghanistan work we have to help people with their daliy lives and make sure they do not hav to live in fear. But for some reason when the US military does it, it is wrong and evil.


    “There is another way. The way of the Pilgrims to bring peace to this troubled Earth.”

    How exactly is that going to work?

  • Sporkmaster

    I say again, how are you going to make Afghanistan a better place without protection? What plan do you hav on any of this working without the troops?

  • Dana

    Dear Sporkmaster,
    Our stand is that there are non-military solutions to addressing the complex and far-reaching conflict in Afghanistan (and the region).
    You can of course read our statement (http://codepinkalert.org/article.php?id=4692) for more details. What WE are in fact asking for is a plan (and these things http://codepinkaction.org/article.php?id=4693)- a strategy from the White House that outlines how they are really going to address this conflict. So far, that strategy hasn’t been so clear(btw- sending 17,000 troops does not a strategy make). Senator Feingold had some interesting comments on this lack of a grander strategy (http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Top_Senate_Democrat_questions_Obama_Afghanistan_0218.html).

  • Sporkmaster

    Some problems I have with that.

    1. One is that you are assumeing that all of the troops that are being sent are combat troops. This is not the case. The are medical personnel, engineers, and other various support units that can provide much needed help for the locals and be able to defend themselves. Such projects as help with crop harvest, prividing basic medical care with avation support to tansport people from the farthest village. We also repair roads and bridges to help people have something of a normal life.

    We are working with the locals useing deplomacy. We work with the higest giverment to the smallest town elders. The people that are fighting us are doing so to use force of arms to make people follow a strict version of Islam and are not interested in talking.

    If you send in aide workers n that area how ill you be able to ensure their safty without the US troops?

    The plan posted on how to aid Afganstan is too broad. Becuase each situation is going to require different challanges. The goal that the military is not one of trying to kill every enemy in the country, but rather where both Iraq and Afganstan can provide for themselves and defend against attacks on their population.

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