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Withdraw from Afghanistan with a Public, Negotiated Timetable

The United States should withdraw its military forces from Afghanistan. The safest, most feasible and most ethical way to bring this about is through the establishment of a public, negotiated timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. forces. Such a timetable should be a core provision of an agreement negotiated by the United States with the Afghan government and with international military partners of the United States in Afghanistan governing the presence of foreign military forces in the country. Such an agreement would bolster the legitimacy of the Afghan government, as well as the legitimacy of the foreign military presence; such an agreement would dramatically increase the patience of the Afghan public, and of Western publics, for the operations of foreign military forces while they remain.

Recent public opinion polls clearly indicate that the American public no longer supports the U.S. war in Afghanistan. When Americans are asked about sending more troops, as General McChrystal is expected to soon propose, the response is even more lopsided opposition. If General McChrystal says he needs more troops to accomplish the mission he has been assigned, and we aren't willing to send more troops, that suggests that the mission needs to change to one that can be accomplished with the number of troops that we are willing to send. If there is no worthwhile mission that can be accomplished with the troops that we are willing to send, then our troops should be withdrawn.

I'm a firm believer in the idea that the United States should promote democracy by setting a good example. If the majority of Americans don't support the war, the U.S. prosecution of the war should not continue indefinitely.

GObama! US Agrees to Talks with Iran

To any naysayers who say President Obama has broken all his promises, I say, with all due respect: "na na na na na":

AP reports:

The United States and five partner countries have accepted Iran's new offer to hold talks, even though Iran insists it will not negotiate over its disputed nuclear program, the State Department said Friday.

I realize that this may be cold comfort if you took Obama seriously when he said that he was going to renegotiate NAFTA. Okay, that promise was not for real, sorry.

But when he said he was going to talk to Iran, apparently he meant it. Who knew?

It could have gone the other way. The US could have said - we offered Iran talks on how Iran was going to stop enriching uranium, and Iran has clearly said that it has no intention of stopping the enrichment of uranium, therefore, Iran has not agreed to our offer of talks.

And therefore, we have no choice but to proceed with efforts to cut off Iran's access to gas imports.

As everyone knows, there are plenty of folks in Washington - and at least one other capital city - who would have applauded such a course.

But Obama decided to take the high road. We said we wanted talks, and Iran is saying that it wants talks, so let's talk. Why not?

Iran says it wants comprehensive talks. So? Who's against comprehensive talks? More US-Iran cooperation could help make the world a better place on a lot of fronts: Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel-Palestine, Lebanon.

Making progress in negotiations on Iran's "nuclear file" will not be trivial. But there is a feasible solution, and everyone knows it. As Robert Dreyfuss wrote recently in The Nation:

JFP News 9/11: US Agrees to Talks with Iran

Just Foreign Policy News
September 11, 2009


Support British Efforts to End the War in Afghanistan
Labour Party activists in Britain are forcing a debate on the presence of British troops in Afghanistan at the Labour Party's annual conference in Brighton on September 27. Show your support of British efforts to end the war.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/labour

Oliver Stone's South of the Border - Official Trailer
Oliver Stone's new movie seeks to tell Americans the story we aren't getting from U.S. media about the historic political changes taking place in Latin America. Watch the trailer and spread the news.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hwhau48LUAA&e

Cato Forum: Should the United States Withdraw from Afghanistan?
Monday, September 14, 2009, 12PM Eastern time; broadcast on the internet. http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=6496

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.
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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) The State Department said Friday the U.S. and five partner countries have accepted Iran's new offer to hold talks, AP reports. Department spokesman Crowley said although Iran's proposal for talks was disappointing for sidestepping the nuclear issue, it represented a chance to begin a direct dialogue.

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JFP News 9/10: Pelosi - Congress Not Keen to Send More Troops

Just Foreign Policy News
September 10, 2009


Support British Efforts to End the War in Afghanistan
Labour Party activists in Britain are forcing a debate on the presence of British troops in Afghanistan at the Labour Party's annual conference in Brighton on September 27. Show your support of British efforts to end the war.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/labour

Oliver Stone's South of the Border - Official Trailer
Oliver Stone's new movie seeks to tell Americans the story we aren't getting from U.S. media about the historic political changes taking place in Latin America. Just Foreign Policy's Mark Weisbrot was a consultant on this project. Watch the trailer and spread the news, and maybe this movie can get a mainstream distributor in the United States.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hwhau48LUAA&e

Cato Forum: Should the United States Withdraw from Afghanistan?
Monday, September 14, 2009, 12PM Eastern time; broadcast on the internet. http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=6496

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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U.S./Top News

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Showdown in Brighton on British Troops in Afghanistan

From September 27 to October 1, the British Labour Party is holding its annual conference in Brighton. The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy is putting forward a resolution calling for the British government to bring British troops home from Afghanistan.

If this resolution passes, it will add significantly to the pressure on the British government to move further towards withdrawing its troops. Already, the Independent reports, Britain has told the U.S. it wants to cut UK troop numbers from more than 9,000 to fewer than 5,000 in "three to five years, maximum."

As the CLPD notes in its resolution, the majority of Britons want British troops withdrawn. Two-thirds of Britons want British troops to come home, the Independent recently reported.

The British Labour Party has been "Americanized" somewhat in recent years - power over policy has been moved away from rank-and-file activists. But it's still the case that the passage of a resolution by the Labour Party conference calling for British troops to be withdrawn will be hard for the British government to ignore as it moves into a general election campaign. The expectation that the government should follow the wishes of the people who vote for it is still stronger in Britain than it is in the United States.

JFP News, 9/9: Senate Dems Signal Resistance on US Afghan Troop Increase

Just Foreign Policy News
September 9, 2009


Cato Forum: Should the United States Withdraw from Afghanistan?
Monday, September 14, 2009, 12PM Eastern time; broadcast on the internet. With Malou Innocent, Cato; Celeste Ward, RAND; Patrick Cronin, National Defense University; Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy; and Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato. Moderated by Christopher Preble, Cato.
http://www.cato.org/event.php?eventid=6496

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.
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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Key Senate Democrats signaled Friday that any push by the White House to send more troops to Afghanistan is likely to hit resistance, AP reports. Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Levin said the US must focus more on building Afghanistan's security forces. His cautionary stance was echoed by Sen. Jack Reed.

2) A U.N.-backed complaints panel charged widespread fraud in the Afghan presidential election and ordered a partial recount, the Washington Post reports. The Afghan election commission said Karzai had won 54 percent of 5.4 million valid votes tallied - 91 percent of the total. The results indicate that he probably has enough votes to avoid a runoff with Abdullah, who has 28 percent.

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Dear Britain: "Get Out of Afghanistan, So We Can Get Out"

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown faces a grassroots challenge over the war in Afghanistan at this month's Labour Party conference, the Guardian reports:

Gordon Brown faces fresh questions over the war in Afghanistan at this month's Labour party conference, with grassroots activists circulating a motion demanding that troops be withdrawn.

I'd give anything for the opportunity to address this conference.

I'd wait until one or two people gave speeches arguing that Britain had to keep its troops in Afghanistan out of friendship with the United States. Then I'd ask to be recognized, and I'd say,

"As an American, I thank the honorable gentlemen and ladies for their kind words of friendship towards the people of the United States. I assure you, as you know very well, that the feelings are reciprocated.

"But I beg you, in the name of humanity: show your love differently than by continuing to support this war. Do not love us like a drinking buddy who gives liquor to an alcoholic. Do not love us by staying, teeth gritted, in a car whose driver has had too much to drink. Do not love us by holding back your criticism, or praising our war policy with faint damnation.

"Like the majority of Britons, the majority of Americans oppose this war. Fifty-seven percent of Americans say they oppose the war in Afghanistan, CNN reports.

JFP News 9/4: Biden Opposes More Troops to Afghanistan

Just Foreign Policy News
September 4, 2009


Team Obama Divided, Public Strongly Opposed, to More Troops in Afghanistan
Top officials of the Obama Administration are divided on the expected request of the Pentagon for more troops in Afghanistan, the New York Times reports today. Leading the opposition is Vice-President Biden. Biden has the wind of public opinion at his back. Recent polls show that the majority of Americans now oppose the Afghan war. But on the question of sending more troops, public opinion is even more clear. They're against it.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/321

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.
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Summary:
U.S./Top News
1) Top officials of the Obama Administration are divided on the expected request of the Pentagon for more troops in Afghanistan, the New York Times reports. Leading those with doubts is Vice President Biden, who has expressed deep reservations about an expanded presence in Afghanistan on the grounds that it may distract from what he considers the more urgent goal of stabilizing Pakistan. Military strategists said General McChrystal might offer three options. The smallest proposed reinforcement, from 10,000 to 15,000 troops, would be described as the high-risk option. A medium-risk option would involve sending about 25,000 more troops, and a low-risk option would call for sending about 45,000 troops.

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Team Obama Divided, Public Strongly Opposed, to More Troops in Afghanistan

Top officials of the Obama Administration are divided on the expected request of the Pentagon for more troops in Afghanistan, the New York Times reports today.

The military's anticipated request for more troops to combat the insurgency in Afghanistan has divided senior advisers to President Obama as they try to determine the proper size and mission of the American effort there, officials said Thursday.

Leading the opposition is Vice-President Biden:

Leading those with doubts is Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has expressed deep reservations about an expanded presence in Afghanistan on the grounds that it may distract from what he considers the more urgent goal of stabilizing Pakistan, officials said.

No-one can plausibly argue that Vice-President Biden has no idea what he's talking about. Remember, this was the guy chosen to balance the ticket with "foreign policy experience," the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Nor is Biden a pacifist or shy about foreign intervention. He voted for the Iraq war in 2002 and promoted U.S. military intervention in the former Yugoslavia.

Secretary of State Clinton has been "vocal" in favor of more troops and some officials said they expected her to be an advocate for a more robust force, the Times says.

But Biden has the wind of public opinion at his back. A number of recent polls show that the majority of Americans - and the overwhelming majority of Democrats - now oppose the Afghan war. But on the question of sending more troops, public opinion is even more clear. They're against it.

McClatchy News reports, citing a recent poll:

56 percent oppose sending any more combat troops to Afghanistan, while 35 percent support sending more troops.

JFP News 9/3: US Formally Stops Aid to Coup Regime in Honduras

Just Foreign Policy News
September 3, 2009


Just Foreign Policy News on the Web:
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On Afghanistan, Obama Hanging by G.O.P. Thread
Republican support will be "vital" for continuing the war and occupation of Afghanistan, the New York Times points out today, noting that Obama's reliance on Republican votes for the war means Republicans could pull the plug at any time: "One danger for Obama is that he may be forced to abandon his own party on Afghanistan for the right, which could put him in a perilous position if Republicans at any point decide they do not want to support a Democratic president on the issue."
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/319

Send George Will's Op-ed to Your Representatives in Congress
Prominent conservative columnist George Will has called for the U.S. to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Send George Will's op-ed to your representatives in Congress.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/george-will

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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