1. The Wars in Iraq & Afghanistan are NOT over
Since the supposed end of combat operations in Iraq last summer, 21 U.S. troops and at least 720 Iraqi civilians have been killed.
Our ongoing military presence in Iraq will cost $65 billion in 2011 alone. According to many analysts, Obama will likely maintain 5 U.S. bases and 50,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely.
The July drawdown date for Afghanistan is a false promise. More troops are being sent to Afghanistan all the time, and the only ones being withdrawn in July are support troops, who’s departure “would not diminish the coalition’s fighting power as significantly as sending home troops whose full-time mission is combat.” (According to the NY Times)
2. The American people are overwhelmingly against the war in Afghanistan
Nearly two-thirds of Americans now say the war in Afghanistan is no longer worth fighting, the highest proportion yet opposed to the conflict, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
3. Our troops and military families can’t take indefinite war in Iraq & Afghanistan, and neither can our national budget.
5,906 U.S. Soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan
42,517 U.S. Soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan
21,117 U.S. Soldiers committed suicide from 2001-2010
After 8 years in Iraq and nearly 10 years in Afghanistan, military families are exhausted from multiple deployments and ever-growing rates of trauma among returning troops. It is estimated that up to 50% of soldiers who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Of these, only one in four report receiving “adequate care.” It is irresponsible to send more troops into harm’s way when we can’t treat those who are already injured.
Returning veterans are now facing rapidly rising unemployment rates, over 20% for returning veterans between the ages of 18-24.
48 states are facing an ongoing state budget crisis, causing severe cuts in education, public housing, and essential services like police and firefighters. According to the National Priorities Project, what we will spend in Iraq in 2011 could instead pay for over 1 million jobs, or 13.4 million people receiving low-income health care.
The operational costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already surpassed $1 trillion. Economists estimate providing care for returning veterans will cost upwards of another $1 trillion. With an already struggling Veteran’s Administration, we don’t have the infrastructure or the money to provide adequate care for the veterans of these wars.
While the Pentagon has submitted a proposal to increase their budget by $500 billion in the next 10 years, the Obama administration is proposing a 3 year freeze on “discretionary spending,” the money which goes towards things like transportation, education, and housing.
3. Tell Your MFSO Story
Speak from your experience and your heart. Your personal stories of how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have impacted your family’s lives contain compelling reasons for bringing our troops home now. This is especially effective when you explicitly explain how your own experience parallels the situation of hundreds of thousands of others.
Try to always mention MFSO when you speak, write, or give interviews – it lets other military families who oppose these wars know that they are not alone and that there is an organization that can help us make our voices heard. We’re more powerful as a movement than we are alone.
If getting the support of other MFSO members has helped you, please tell those stories.
"Combat operations" supposedly ended August 31st. (They didn't.) And I knew US troops had continued to die; however, I didn't realize that 21 had. That is appalling.
The war on Vietnam went on for a long time. It started with 'advisors' sent in by John F. Kennedy. But most of us did not recognize what was going on. Lyndon Johnson would be president before we would, in large numbers, finally begin to realize what was taking place.
And we would -- and did -- speak out against L.B.J. His being a Democrat did not excuse him from criticism. And then Richard Nixon would take over the White House (a Republican) and you know we called him out.
But in this country, despite the fact that the illegal war is clearly bi-partisan, so many are so afraid to criticize Barack Obama. When Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, it was anything goes. Call him a Nazi, make jokes about his looks, whatever. Anything went.
But with the Christ-child (to use one of Ava and C.I.'s pointed phrases for President Obama), so many are so afraid to criticize.
He is a War Hawk. He continued the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War and that made them both his own.
I have no respect for War Hawks. Like Bully Boy Bush, Mr. Obama never served. But he is happy to send others off to die. Some 'antiwar' candidate.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today: