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Draft Media Advisory for the President's Afghanistan Escalation Speech

In the event that President Obama announces a military escalation in Afghanistan - some press reports have speculated that in the next few weeks President Obama will announce that he will send tens of thousands of more troops in 2010 to remain for the indefinite future - groups around the U.S. will be having protests and vigils to coincide with the President's speech. Just Foreign Policy has drafted a "sample" press advisory for use by local groups. Adapt as you see fit. The sample press advisory is here.

JFP 11/17: Progressive Caucus Writes Obama on Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy News
November 17, 2009


Cong. Progressive Caucus Requests Meeting with Obama on Afghanistan
Today the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to President Obama, noting support in the CPC for a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, opposition to sending more troops, support for redirecting resources from the military to aid, and support for reconciliation in Afghanistan; and requesting a meeting with the President to discuss these concerns. The letter is posted here:
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/407

Trumka: Free Elections Not Possible Now in Honduras

The continued repression of trade unionists by the regime set up in Honduras after a June 28 coup makes it impossible to hold free and fair elections, wrote AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a Nov. 13 letter to Secretary of State Clinton. Trumka called on the U.S. government to oppose national elections in Honduras unless President Zelaya is reinstated.
http://blog.aflcio.org/2009/11/16/trumka-free-elections-not-possible-now-in-honduras/

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested that a "countdown towards Britain's exit from the war in Afghanistan" could start in 2010, the Times of London reports.

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Progressive Caucus Requests Meeting with Obama on Afghanistan

On November 17, the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to President Obama, noting support in the CPC for a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, opposition to sending more troops, support for redirecting resources from the military to aid, and support for reconciliation in Afghanistan; and requesting a meeting with the President to discuss these concerns. The letter is posted here.

JFP 11/16 Trumka: Free Elections Not Possible Now in Honduras

Just Foreign Policy News
November 16, 2009


Trumka: Free Elections Not Possible Now in Honduras
The continued repression of trade unionists by the regime set up in Honduras after a June 28 coup makes it impossible to hold free and fair elections, wrote AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a Nov. 13 letter to Secretary of State Clinton. Trumka called on the U.S. government to oppose national elections in Honduras unless President Zelaya is reinstated.
http://blog.aflcio.org/2009/11/16/trumka-free-elections-not-possible-now-in-honduras/

California Dems Call for End to Afghan War

The California Democratic Party has passed a resolution calling for a timetable for military withdrawal.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/11/15/804622/-California-Dems-Call-for-End-to-Afghan-War

While Obama Deliberates, Illinois Grad Employees Strike for Education Security

While President Obama mulls flushing another $40 billion a year in our tax dollars down the toilet in Afghanistan, graduate employees at the University of Illinois are on strike to protect their ability to complete their education. If Obama said no to escalation, that would free up $1.7 billion for Illinois to spend on education.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/405

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Illinois Grad Employees Strike for Education Security

While former Illinois Senator Barack Obama mulls flushing another $40 billion a year in our tax dollars down the toilet in Afghanistan - that's the estimated annual cost of sending 40,000 more troops for the next several years - graduate employees at the University of Illinois, a "land grant" public institution, are going on strike at 8 AM this morning Chicago time to protect their ability to complete their education, against threats from the University administration to withdraw tuition waivers from graduate employees.

For many teaching assistants and graduate assistants, the withdrawal of a tuition waiver would be an educational death sentence, a de facto financial expulsion from the University. But even though access to a tuition waiver is a basic condition of employment, since without also being students graduate employees would lose their jobs, the University of Illinois administration refuses to bargain the issue with the members of the Graduate Employees Organization, a local of the American Federation of Teachers, even though under Illinois labor law the GEO is the recognized bargaining agent for graduate employees.

The University administration claims that in a time of financial constraint, it needs "flexibility" to undermine a basic condition of graduate employment. It's true, of course, that the University is financially constrained, given the decline in government support for public higher education. But how the University responds to that environment is a choice. Trying to balance your budget by taking essentials away from the weakest people in the food chain is a choice - a choice often made, but still a choice.

JFP 11/13: Our Corrupt Occupation of Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy News
November 13, 2009


Our Corrupt Occupation of Afghanistan
There is something very Captain Renault in the complaints of Western leaders about corruption in Afghanistan. We're shocked, shocked that the Afghans have sullied our morally immaculate occupation of their country with their corruption. Perhaps we should consider the possibility that our occupation of the country is not so morally immaculate - indeed, that the most corrupt racket going in Afghanistan today is the American occupation.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/403

NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
No decision has been announced. Call Members of Congress, ask where they stand, and report the results.
http://NoEscalation.org

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Rep. Jan Schakowsky said during a visit to Honduras that "the (Honduran) congress needs to move forward quickly ... to reinstall Zelaya as president, and the democratic order needs to be restored," AP reports.

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Our Corrupt Occupation of Afghanistan

Is it just me, or is the pontification of Western leaders about corruption in Afghanistan growing rather tiresome?

There is something very Captain Renault about it. We're shocked, shocked that the Afghans have sullied our morally immaculate occupation of their country with their dirty corruption. How ungrateful can they be?

But perhaps we should consider the possibility that our occupation of the country is not so morally immaculate - indeed, that the most corrupt racket going in Afghanistan today is the American occupation.

US military officials in Kabul estimate that a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon's logistics contracts in Afghanistan consists of protection payments to insurgents, Aram Roston reports in The Nation. In southern Afghanistan - where General McChrystal wants to send more troops - security firms can't physically protect convoys of American military supplies. There's no practical way to move the supplies without paying the Taliban. So, like Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22, we're supplying both sides of the war.

JFP 11/12: A Hundred Cities Against Escalation As the President Announces It

Just Foreign Policy News
November 12, 2009


A Hundred Cities Against Escalation As the President Announces It
Recent press speculation suggests at least even odds that sometime in November, President Obama will give a speech announcing that he intends to send tens of thousands of more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in 2010. If people in a hundred cities committed in advance to hold local demonstrations to get into the President's news cycle with the response that "escalation is not the answer" and publicized that commitment, would that affect the White House decision?
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/401

'Legitimacy' in Afghanistan?
For those who want to end the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, the question of legitimacy in Afghanistan that matters most is whether Afghans participating in and supporting insurgency can be persuaded that the Afghan government is legitimate. Political negotiations that result in an Afghan government more widely accepted by those now supporting insurgency is the development most likely to end the war and bring about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/6573

NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
No decision has been announced. Call Members of Congress, ask where they stand, and report the results.
http://NoEscalation.org

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy

Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

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A Hundred Cities Against Escalation As the President Announces It

Recent press speculation suggests at least even odds that sometime in November, President Obama will give a speech announcing that he intends to send tens of thousands of more U.S. troops to Afghanistan in 2010. Not a temporary "surge," but a permanent escalation. While certainly it's good news - at least temporarily - that AP is reporting that President Obama "won't accept any of the Afghanistan war options before him without changes," and that the Washington Post is reporting that U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry is lobbying strongly against sending more troops, note that AP goes on to say:

Obama is still expected to send in more troops to bolster a deteriorating war effort.

He remains close to announcing his revamped war strategy - troops are just one component - and probably will do so shortly after he returns from a trip to Asia that ends Nov. 19.

JFP 11/11: Omar's Taliban "Distanced" from Al Qaeda

Just Foreign Policy News
November 11, 2009


NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
No decision has been announced. Call Members of Congress, ask where they stand, and report the results.
http://NoEscalation.org

Support the Work of Just Foreign Policy

Your financial contributions to Just Foreign Policy help us create opportunities for Americans to advocate for a just foreign policy.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Although Obama has said the US must remain in Afghanistan because a Taliban victory would mean a proliferation of al-Qaeda fighters, Mohammad Omar's Taliban faction seems to have distanced itself from al-Qaeda in recent months, the Washington Post reports. The shift appears to reflect Omar's growing confidence that his group can operate on its own, without al-Qaeda as its patron. The messages from the leadership of Omar's Taliban faction since the spring amount to something of a "revolution," said a political analyst who was a Foreign Ministry official under the Taliban government. "Al-Qaeda's path is now different from the Taliban's path, and they are growing more separated."

2) President Obama and his war council plan are reviewing four options for Afghanistan that could increase the number of U.S. troops there by as many as 40,000 or fewer than 10,000, the Los Angeles Times reports. The White House insisted Tuesday that Obama has not decided how many additional troops to send.

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