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Will Obama Say Yes to Afghan Peace Talks?


Afghan President Hamid Karzai is coming to Washington next week to meet with President Obama. Afghan government officials have said that their top priority for these talks is to get President Obama to agree that the U.S. will fully back efforts of the Afghan government to reconcile with senior leaders of the Afghan Taliban insurgency in order to end the war.

On the merits, saying yes to the Afghan government's request for US support for peace talks would seem like a no-brainer.

Either Hamid Karzai is the legitimate President of Afghanistan or he is not. If Hamid Karzai is not the legitimate President of Afghanistan, then Western forces must leave the country immediately, because they have no legitimate basis to remain. But if Hamid Karzai is the legitimate President of Afghanistan, then it's a slam dunk that his government's policy of national reconciliation ought to take precedence over Pentagon demands for more killing.

Either the opinions of the people of Afghanistan on questions of war and peace in their country matter or they do not. If they do not matter, then everyone in Washington pontificating about "democracy" or "governance" or "legitimacy" or "corruption" in Afghanistan please shut up immediately and remain silent. If the opinions of the Afghan public do matter, then it's a slam dunk that the Afghan public's demand for peace talks ought to take precedence over Pentagon demands for more killing.

Every Western press report from Afghanistan that addresses this issue says that the overwhelming consensus of public opinion in Afghanistan supports peace talks to end the war.

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JFP 5/6: Will Obama Say Yes to Afghan Peace Talks?

Just Foreign Policy News
May 6, 2010

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Will Obama Say Yes to Afghan Peace Talks?
On May 12, President Karzai is going to ask President Obama to back Afghan peace talks to end the war. Help us ask President Obama to say yes with an ad in the DC press.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate/peace-talks-ad

VIDEO: Urge Congress to End the War in Afghanistan
Just Foreign Policy has made a short video to help publicize the McGovern bill and the importance of a timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/video/feingold-mcgovern

SOA Watch Internships in Washington, DC
Organizing; Communications; Fundraising.
http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=756

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is Hiring
Executive Director, National Organizer, Summer Intern.
http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=2244

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U.S./Top News

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Draft letter to Obama urging US support for Afghan peace talks

Below is the draft letter groups plan to send to President Obama early next week. The draft ad we hope to place in the DC press is here.


Dear President Obama,

President Hamid Karzai’s visit to Washington this week will mark a critical juncture for U.S. policy in the war in Afghanistan. President Karzai, after conducting “talks about talks” with Taliban leaders and intermediaries for more than a year, will seek U.S. support to launch Afghan national reconciliation talks that include the Afghan Taliban. We strongly urge you to agree. Hindering Afghan efforts to resolve their differences can only prolong the war and increase its human and material costs.

There is growing agreement that talks with Afghan insurgent leaders, including the Taliban, are essential to ending the war. President Karzai and other senior Afghan politicians support talks with the Taliban. More and more ordinary Afghans, including Afghan women professionals, believe that peace in Afghanistan cannot be achieved without including Taliban leaders in a national reconciliation process.

Britain and other NATO allies also believe that it is time to start talks with the Taliban. British Foreign Minister David Miliband made clear several months ago that while an eventual agreement should require all parties to sever ties with al-Qaeda, end armed struggle, and accept an Afghan constitutional framework, these requirements should not be preconditions for a dialogue.

JFP 5/5: Ron Paul Backs McGovern; New Video; Iran OKs Brazil Mediation; Women Back Taliban Talks

Just Foreign Policy News
May 5, 2010

Support the work of Just Foreign Policy:
Please donate what you can to support our work.
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VIDEO: Urge Congress to End the War in Afghanistan
Just Foreign Policy has made a short video to help publicize the McGovern bill and the importance of a timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Watch; spread.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN03fOOCUOg

Current McGovern House co-sponsors: 64.
Ron Paul is on the bill. Tell all your Paulista friends. See the spreadsheet here, listing the co-sponsors.
http://noescalation.org

Who are the Kucinich 21?
Peace groups are working to get 100 co-sponsors on the McGovern bill. Currently, there are 64. If you look at the spreadsheet on noescalation.org, you see that there are 21 Members who voted a month ago for the Kucinich resolution - "out in 30 days" - who have not yet co-sponsored the McGovern bill. Who are they? Chu, Clay, Cleaver, Doyle, Gutiérrez, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Larson, Markey, Miller, Neal, Obey, Polis, Quigley, Rangel, Sanchez, Sanchez, Speier, Tierney, Towns, Tsongas, Velázquez, Waters.

Jubilee USA: Urge Congress to Support the Jubilee Debt Cancellation Act
HR 4405. The Jubilee Act will expand eligibility for 100 percent debt cancellation to 65 impoverished countries in the Global South, and presses for that cancellation not to be conditioned on harmful IMF/World Bank economic policies.

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JFP 5/4: Can Brazil Save the World From War With Iran?

Just Foreign Policy News
May 4, 2010

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Can Brazil Save the World From War With Iran?
We're at a new moment in international relations, in which countries outside of the permanent members of the Security Council and their handpicked allies are insisting on having meaningful input into fundamental international issues of war and peace, and are starting to have some success in pressing their case for inclusion. Brazil has been a leader in these efforts. The most striking example of this shift is the recent willingness of Brazil and Turkey to challenge the leadership of the United States on the question of responding to Iran's nuclear program.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-naiman/can-brazil-save-the-world_b_561475.html

Urge Congress to End the War in Afghanistan
Urge your representatives to support the Feingold-McGovern-Jones bill for a timetable for military withdrawal. (H.R.5015/ S.3197)
If we can get 100 co-sponsors in the House in the next few weeks, we may able to get on a vote on a withdrawal timetable when the House considers the supplemental.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern

Current House co-sponsors: 63.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:HR05015:@@@P

Congresswoman Lee Introduces Congressional Resolution on the Case of Tristan Anderson

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Can Brazil Save the World from War with Iran?

Sao Paulo - For the last several decades, fundamental international issues of war and peace have been largely determined by a small group of countries, especially the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the US, Britain, France, Russia and China, with some input from the other so-called G7 industrial democracies: Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council each have a veto over UN Security Council resolutions; they are also the only countries recognized as nuclear-weapon states under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

We are now at a new moment in international relations, in which countries outside of the permanent members of the Security Council and their handpicked allies are insisting on having some meaningful input into these issues, and are starting to have some success in pressing their case for inclusion. Brazil has been a leader in these efforts.

The most striking example of this shift is the recent willingness of Brazil and Turkey to challenge the leadership of the United States on the question of responding to Iran's nuclear program.

JFP 4/30: 63 Back McGovern; NATO says combat for years

Just Foreign Policy News
April 30, 2010

Support the work of Just Foreign Policy:
Please donate what you can to support our work.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Urge Congress to End the War in Afghanistan
Urge your representatives to support the Feingold-McGovern-Jones bill for a timetable for military withdrawal. (H.R.5015/ S.3197)
If we can get 100 co-sponsors in the House in the next few weeks, we may able to get on a vote on a withdrawal timetable when the House considers the supplemental.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern

New House co-sponsors: Twenty-five new House co-sponsors were listed today, including Donna Edwards and Keith Ellison, bringing the total to 63.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:HR05015:@@@P

Be the Media: Raise the Profile of the Afghanistan Withdrawal Bill
Write a letter to your local newspaper, urging support for the McGovern bill and a timeline for U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/mcgovern-lte

Atrocities in Afghanistan: A Troubling Timetable
Kathy Kelly and Dan Pearson provide a list of events showing a pattern: U.S./NATO officials first distribute misleading information about victims of an attack and later acknowledge that the victims were unarmed civilians.
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/04/30-10

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Specter v. Sestak: Who's the Real Democrat on Afghanistan?

Yesterday, an organization that lobbies on peace issues asked me to contribute money in the upcoming Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary between Senator Arlen Specter and his challenger, Representative Joe Sestak. I'm ready to donate. But first I need a key piece of information: which candidate will act to end the war in Afghanistan?

Both candidates are currently serving in Congress, so we can compare their records. Last year, Senator Specter strongly opposed sending more troops to Afghanistan, while Representative Sestak strongly supported sending more troops.

But now the troops are on their way, and the key question facing Members of Congress right now on the Afghanistan war is this: who supports establishing a timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan?

Whichever one comes out first saying that they support a timetable for withdrawal, that candidate will get my donation. Perhaps the candidates will address this in tomorrow's debate.

But even if the issue is not addressed during tomorrow's debate, there is a straightforward means to test which is the Afghanistan peace candidate: who will be the first to co-sponsor the Feingold-McGovern bill, which would require the President to establish a timetable for military withdrawal from Afghanistan?

The support of either one would give this effort a major boost.

McGovern's House bill, H.R. 5015, currently has 63 co-sponsors, but not a single one of them is from the great state of Pennsylvania. Yet there are 6 co-sponsors from neighboring New York, three co-sponsors from New Jersey, one from Maryland, and two from Ohio. Representative Sestak would be a great addition to this list.

JFP 4/29: Baldwin Backs McGovern; US kills relative of Afghan lawmaker, sparking protests

Just Foreign Policy News
April 29, 2010

Support the work of Just Foreign Policy:
Please donate what you can to support our work.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Be the Media: Raise the Profile of the Afghanistan Withdrawal Bill
Write a letter to your local newspaper, urging support for the McGovern bill and a timeline for U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/mcgovern-lte

Urge Congress to End the War in Afghanistan
Urge your representatives to support the Feingold-McGovern-Jones bill for a timetable for military withdrawal. (H.R.5015/ S.3197)
If we can get 100 co-sponsors in the House in the next few weeks, we may able to get on a vote on a withdrawal timetable when the House considers the supplemental.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern

New House co-sponsors: Baldwin, Tammy [WI-2]; Olver, John [MA-1], Napolitano, Grace [CA-38]. Current House co-sponsors, according to Thomas: 38.

Amnesty International USA Urgent Action: Journalists at Risk in Honduras
Six journalists have been shot dead in the last eight weeks, and numerous others have received death threats. No one has been held to account and no action taken to support and protect journalists.
http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/uaa09410.pdf

Summary:
U.S./Top News

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JFP 4/27: Schakowsky Backs McGovern; Obama Faces Decision on Taliban Talks

Just Foreign Policy News
April 27, 2010

Support the work of Just Foreign Policy:
Please donate what you can to support our work.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/donate.html

Urge Congress to End the War in Afghanistan
Urge your representatives to support the Feingold-McGovern-Jones bill for a timetable for military withdrawal. (H.R.5015/ S.3197)
If we can get 100 co-sponsors in the House in the next few weeks, we may able to get on a vote on a withdrawal timetable when the House considers the supplemental.
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/feingold-mcgovern

New House co-sponsors: Ed Pastor [AZ-4]; Steve Rothman [NJ-9]; Jan Schakowsky [IL-9]. Current House co-sponsors, according to Thomas: 35.

A Year of War Would Pay for Local Jobs Bill
If McGovern's bill shortens the war in Afghanistan by a year, that would pay the two-year cost of the Local Jobs for America Act.
http://www.truthout.org/robert-naiman-a-year-war-would-pay-local-jobs-bill58848

Mondoweiss: UC divestment spreads - UC San Diego to vote on bill tomorrow
The resolution calls for the UC system to stop investing in companies such as General Electric and United Technologies, which supporters of the resolution claim promote violence by providing technology - such as helicopters and aircraft engines - to warring countries around the world. Senior Leena Barakat - who helped draft the resolution - said the UCSD version was altered to ensure that it condemned human-rights violations as a whole, and not specifically actions taken by the state of Israel.

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