We must rethink Afghanistan

by Marilu Cartyer, December 4, 2009

Our nation is hemorrhaging from within. We are in dire need of resources. We must reform and reduce enormous costs of health care, and enact single-payer.

We are failing our schools, our teachers, our colleges and our students. Some cities in California reached school dropout rates of 50 percent. California once led the nation in education.

Our oceans and our planet are on the brink of catastrophe. California is entering severe drought with tinder-dry forests and water scarcity.

We need to build affordable housing, repair infrastructure, regulate banking and insurance excesses, stop foreclosures, stop outsourcing and create jobs, stop pollution, research and develop green industries and cars, care for homeless and maimed veterans, extend unemployment insurance, fund day care and elder care centers, feed the hungry, etc.

We have a huge prison industry, the highest of any Western country, based on medieval punishment and recidivism instead of education and skills training. More people are on food stamps than ever. New Orleans is ignored. Our national debt is skyrocketing.

Borrowing billions of dollars more to "win over" a poverty-stricken, war-torn region of hundreds of thousands of isolated mountain villages enriches our military industrial suppliers. We will enrich "security" mercenaries, the "Blackwaters," "Halliburtons" and hundreds of military and corporate contractors.

We are creating "terrorists" swelling the ranks of the Taliban as thousands of enraged villagers vow to avenge their losses. We do not know their language. Our troops receive handbooks indicating if in doubt, hand out dollars.

Afghanistan was Russia's "Vietnam." Russia invaded in 1979 and left in 1989. Russian casualties were 13,300 dead, 35,500 wounded, 300 missing, 500,000 sick. Afghan civilian deaths are estimated from 700,000 to more than 2 million (retrieved Dec. 2, 2009, from "Soviet war in Afghanistan," Wikipedia).

It will be our second Vietnam. Congress can stop this insanity by voting not to fund it. Write urgently and petition your representatives to act on our behalf, not on behalf of corporate mercenaries. See the important film, "Rethink Afghanistan," online at http://rethinkafghanistan.com.