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Obama's Decision on More Troops to "Someone Else's Civil War"

On October 27, the Washington Post reported the resignation of Matthew Hoh, a top U.S. civilian official in Afghanistan, in protest of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Hoh charged that "the United States is asking its troops to die in Afghanistan for what is essentially a far-off civil war," the Post reported. In his letter of resignation, Hoh wrote,

"I fail to see the value ... in continuous U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war."

"The Pashtun insurgency," Hoh asserted, "is fed by what is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies. The U.S. and NATO presence and operations in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non-Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified."

The appearance in mainstream U.S. media of the credible assertion that the United States is intervening militarily on one side in another country's civil war, especially a conflict with an ethnic character, might be expected to have a significant impact on public perceptions of whether continuation of U.S. military involvement was justified. One of the great political and media debates of 2006-7 was whether the United States was involved in a civil war in Iraq.

JFP 10/30: Deal in Honduras to Restore President Zelaya

Just Foreign Policy News
October 30, 2009


NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
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1) Senator Levin - chair of Senate Armed Services - says sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan could backfire, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Levin suggested expansion of the U.S. combat presence would aid Taliban efforts to portray the U.S. as a foreign occupier.

JFP News 10/29: US Intervenes in Afghan Civil War

Just Foreign Policy News
October 29, 2009


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U.S./Top News
1) Anti-war activists have seized on U.S. Foreign Service officer Matthew Hoh's resignation to make their case against the war in Afghanistan, NPR reports. "He's challenging fundamental premises of the war. He's not just saying this is going badly. He's saying what we are doing doesn't make sense," said Robert Naiman of Just Foreign Policy. The Hoh letter suggests that the U.S. is essentially intervening in an ongoing civil war in Afghanistan, Naiman said.

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JFP 10/28: Congress Members Demand End of Mixed Messages on Honduras Coup

Just Foreign Policy News
October 28, 2009


NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
Help us by calling Members of Congress, asking where they stand, and reporting the results. You can also post press clips documenting Congressional opposition to the war.
http://NoEscalation.org

Matthew Hoh: Q&A
The Washington Post ran an online Q&A with Matthew Hoh, a former Foreign Service officer who resigned in protest over the Afghan war, to discuss why he thought the war "wasn't worth the fight."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/10/27/DI2009102703143.html

Congress Members Denounce Mixed US Messages on Honduras Coup
Rep. Raul Grijalva and 15 Members of Congress have written to President Obama, urging him to end the de facto policy of mixed messages regarding the coup in Honduras.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/384

Kerry, Berman Protest Law Library Report Justifying Honduras Coup

Senator Kerry and Rep. Berman have written a letter of protest to the Librarian of Congress over a Law Library of Congress report that sought to justify the coup in Honduras.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/385

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Kerry, Berman Protest Law Library Report Justifying Honduras Coup

Senator Kerry - chair of Senate Foreign Relations - and Rep. Berman - chair of House International Relations - have written a letter of protest to the Librarian of Congress over a Law Library of Congress report that sought to justify the coup in Honduras.

Kerry and Berman request that the Law Library of Congress withdraw the report and issue a corrected version, noting that the report "has contributed to the political crisis...contains factual errors and is based on a flawed legal analysis..."

The letter is published here.

Congress Members Denounce Mixed US Messages on Honduras Coup

Rep. Raul Grijalva and 15 Members of Congress have written to President Obama, urging him to end the de facto policy of mixed messages regarding the coup in Honduras.

In particular, the Members note that the unprofessional personal attacks on President Zelaya by the head of the US delegation to the Organization of American States, Lewis Amselem, have contributed to the belief by the coup regime that it can resist international pressure to stand down.

Anselem's antics are very difficult to justify when one considers that Secretary of State Clinton has identified coup leader Micheletti as the main obstacle to a negotiated solution.

The 16 Members of Congress call on President Obama to state unequivocally that the US will not recognize elections in Honduras organized by the coup regime.

The letter is posted here.

JFP News 10/27: Top US Official Resigns in Protest Over Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy News
October 27, 2009


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NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
Help us by calling Members of Congress, asking where they stand, and reporting the results. You can also post press clips documenting Congressional opposition to the war.
http://NoEscalation.org

"Lessons in Disaster": If Obama Caves to the Pentagon, He's No Jack Kennedy

The Wall Street Journal reported that President Obama has read Gordon Goldstein's book on the path to U.S. military escalation in Vietnam. So he knows that President Kennedy said no to the U.S. military on sending combat troops to Vietnam, and he knows that the notion that you have to do whatever the military says is madness.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/382

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"Lessons in Disaster": If Obama Caves to the Pentagon, He's No Jack Kennedy

President Obama knows better than to agree to General McChrystal's proposal for military escalation in Afghanistan. He read the book.

On October 7, the Wall Street Journal reported that top officials of the Obama Administration, including President Obama himself, had recently read Gordon Goldstein's book on the path to U.S. military escalation in Vietnam: Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam.

The Journal reported that "For opponents of a major troop increase, led by Biden and Emanuel, "'Lessons in Disaster' ... encapsulates their concerns about accepting military advice unchallenged."

Indeed, a central theme of the book is President Kennedy's willingness, on the question of ground troops in Vietnam, to do what President Obama has not yet done regarding demands for military escalation in Afghanistan: stand up to the U.S. military and say no.

Journalist Seymour Hersh, a close student of the U.S. military since he broke the story of the My Lai massacre, says the U.S. army is "in a war against the White House - and they feel they have Obama boxed in." Hersh says the only way out is for Obama to stand up to the Pentagon. "He's either going to let the Pentagon run him or he has to run the Pentagon," Hersh said. If he doesn't, "this stuff is going to be the ruin of his presidency." The only way for the U.S. to extricate itself from the conflict, Hersh says, is to negotiate with the Taliban. "It's the only way out," he said. "I know that there's a lot of discussion in the White House about this now. But Obama is going to have to take charge, and there's no evidence he's going to do that."

JFP 10/26: Ramos-Horta: Talks with Taliban Essential for Afghan Stablity

Just Foreign Policy News
October 26, 2009


NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
Help us by calling Members of Congress, asking where they stand, and reporting the results. You can also post press clips documenting Congressional opposition to the war.
http://NoEscalation.org

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Bringing all Afghan parties, including the Taliban, into talks is essential to long-term stability in Afghanistan, writes East Timor President and Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos-Horta for the Wall Street Journal. The Taliban is strong enough to make Afghanistan ungovernable for the U.S. indefinitely. The U.S. is strong enough to keep the Taliban from ever cementing its hold on the country if the US wants to do so. In East Timor and elsewhere, a stalemate opened the door to dialogue and compromise. The U.S. should use this moment to explore ways for a transitional arrangement that allows the Taliban to share power, brings an end to the fighting and provides for the timely exit of U.S. forces.

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JFP News 10/23: vanden Heuvel promotes noescalation.org

Just Foreign Policy News
October 23, 2009


Just Foreign Policy News on the Web:
[To receive just the Summary and a link to the web version, you can use this webform:
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NoEscalation.org: Help Us Push and Track Congress on Afghanistan Escalation
Help us by calling Members of Congress, asking where they stand, and reporting the results. You can also post press clips documenting Congressional opposition to the war.
http://NoEscalation.org

Bill Moyers Journal talks with Justice Goldstone
Moyers talks with Justice Richard Goldstone, who headed up the UN Human Rights Council investigation into fighting in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/10232009/profile.html

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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) President Obama will soon make what could be the defining decision of his presidency - whether to send 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, writes Katrina vanden Heuvel in The Nation. Security in the US and the region depend not on this misguided "surge," but on commonsense counterterrorist and homeland security measures, vanden Heuvel writes. She urges Nation readers to press Members of Congress to oppose escalation via the website http://NoEscalation.org.

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