The October 3 US military bombing of a Doctors Without Borders [MSF] hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan killed twelve humanitarians and ten patients, including three children.
The Pentagon claims the bombing was a mistake, but the Associated Press reported US special operations analysts had been investigating the hospital prior to the attack. If the gunship was aware of this or if commanding officers intentionally withheld the information from the gunship, the incident could qualify as a "war crime."
As MSF has said, "it is impossible to expect parties involved in the conflict to carry out independent and impartial investigations of military actions in which they are themselves implicated."
Reps. Ellison, McGovern, Barbara Lee, and Grijalva are circulating a letter to their colleagues backing calls for a civilian-led, independent investigation of this atrocity. Your Representative should join them in supporting an independent investigation.
Call your Representative NOW at (202) 224-3121 and say,
"I urge you to sign the Ellison-McGovern-Lee-Grijalva letter calling for an independent investigation of the Doctors Without Borders hospital bombing."
When you're done, please report your call below.
And if you haven't signed our petition asking members of Congress to sign the letter, you can do that here:
If you want to understand why it's the case that on the one hand the U.S. public and the majority of Congress turned against the war in Afghanistan a long time ago, and yet on the other hand, it's been so hard to end the war, this week's warmonger media storm against the diplomatic rescue of U.S. prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been very instructive.
Tell us how your call to your Senator went using the form below.
We have an opportunity this week to push for the repeal of the 2001 AUMF. The Schiff-Garamendi amendment (#21) to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would sunset the AUMF twelve months after the adoption of the bill.
Call your Representative TODAY at 1-855-686-6927 and say
I urge Rep. ____ to support the Schiff-Garamendi amendment #21 to the NDAA to repeal the 2001 authorization for the use of military force when the amendment comes to a vote on the House floor. The AUMF has been used as the legal justification for 13 years of war in Afghanistan, the prison at Guantanamo Bay, and an expanding drone war.
When you're done, report your call below.
[Note: the text of the amendment is here:
the amendment will be considered as "Amendment #21" on the House floor. It was listed as amendment #262 when it was considered by the Rules Committee. That list is here:
In mid-November, the Christian Science Monitor reports, a loya jirga in Afghanistan - a national meeting of tribal leaders and other notable Afghans - will vote on whether to meet the Obama administration's terms for keeping U.S. troops in the country beyond the end of 2014.
If you care about democracy in Afghanistan, you should be happy for the Afghans. Whether or not - and if so, under what conditions - they want to have thousands of U.S. troops in their country after 2014 is obviously a very big deal for them. Why shouldn't they have full deliberation and debate?
But if you also care about democracy in the United States, you should be a bit troubled. Because Congress has never approved keeping thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the end of 2014.
The closest Congress has come to considering this question is in language passed by the House in June, 2013. Offered by Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, this language - which passed the House 305-121, with a majority of both Democrats and Republicans voting yes- said [my emphasis]:
The Obama-hating Neocon Right is trying to "Swift Boat" the expected nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense by making up a fantasy scare story that Hagel—a former U.S. Senator from Nebraska, long-respected moderate and thoughtful voice on foreign policy, and decorated Vietnam combat veteran—is "anti-Israel."
The real reason the neocons hate Hagel is that he's a war-skeptic and a diplomacy advocate. As a Senator, he voted for the Iraq war. But then he became an early and harsh critic of the war and called for it to end. Hagel was an early advocate of diplomatic engagement with Iran, has criticized discussion of a military strike by either the U.S. or Israel against Iran, and has also backed efforts to bring Iran to the table for talks on future peace in Afghanistan. Hagel has described the Pentagon as "bloated" and has said "the Pentagon needs to be pared down."
We deserve a war-skeptic and diplomacy advocate as Defense Secretary. Americans voted against the foreign policy of the neocons in 2008 and 2012. But the neocons are still using their insider influence and slander tactics to try to dominate policy.
We cannot stand idly by as the neocons stage a coup of our foreign policy. All of us opposed to these tactics, including the President's support base of liberal Democrats, must make our voices heard. That's why we've set up a petition on MoveOn's community petition site, SignOn, against the Swift Boat campaign on Chuck Hagel. Will you help us move this petition forward, so more MoveOn members will see it? You can sign and share the petition here:
Just Foreign Policy's Policy Director Robert Naiman explained what's at stake in this fight in his blog on Huffington Post. You can read and share that here:
J Street Pushes Back on Neocon Bid to "Swift Boat" Chuck Hagel Nomination as Defense Secretary
Since President Obama took office, the war in Afghanistan has claimed the lives of over 1500 US troops, according to Just Foreign Policy's US Deaths in Afghanistan: Obama vs. Bush counter, which draws on data provided by iCasualties. By comparison, 575 US troops died during President Bush's two terms.
The rise in troop deaths during President Obama's presidency has not been altogether surprising given the administration's strategy in Afghanistan. In 2009, President Obama oversaw not one but two offensive surges, each of which added about 33,000 troops to the roughly 34,000 that were deployed in the country when he took office. By August 2010, more troops had died in Afghanistan under President Obama's command than during President Bush's seven years at the helm. By October 2011, that figure had doubled.