Letter to Trump: End U.S. War in Afghanistan

Jan 30, 2017

  Commentary: Prominent Americans, peace activists, and organizations have created an open letter to President Donald Trump asking him to end U.S. war in Afghanistan. It reads:

The U.S. war in Afghanistan is well into its 16th year. In 2014 President Obama declared it over, but it will remain a political, financial, security, legal, and moral problem unless you actually end it.

The U.S. military now has approximately 8,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan , plus 6,000 other NATO troops, 1,000 mercenaries, and another 26,000 contractors (of whom about 8,000 are from the United States). That's 41,000 people engaged in a foreign occupation of a country 15 years after the accomplishment of their stated mission to overthrow the Taliban government.

During each of the past 15 years, our government in Washington has informed us that success was imminent. During each of the past 15 years, Afghanistan has continued its descent into poverty, violence, environmental degradation, and instability. The withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops would send a signal to the world, and to the people of Afghanistan, that the time has come to try a different approach, something other than more troops and weaponry.

The ambassador from the U.S.-brokered and funded Afghan Unity government has reportedly told you that maintaining U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is "as urgent as it was on Sept. 11, 2001." There's no reason to believe he won't tell you that for the next four years, even though John Kerry tells us “Afghanistan now has a well-trained armed force ...meeting the challenge posed by the Taliban and other terrorists groups.” But involvement need not take its current form.  

The United States is spending $4 million an hour on planes, drones, bombs, guns, and over-priced contractors in a country that needs food and agricultural equipment, much of which could be provided by U.S. businesses. Thus far, the United States has spent an outrageous $783 billion with virtually nothing to show for it except the death of thousands of U.S. soldiers , and the death, injury and displacement of millions of Afghans. The Afghanistan War has been and will continue to be, as long as it lasts, a steady source of scandalous stories offraud and waste. Even as an investment in the U.S. economy this war has been a bust.

But the war has had a substantial impact on our security: it has endangered us. Before Faisal Shahzad tried to blow up a car in Times Square, he had tried to join the war against the United States in Afghanistan. In numerous other incidents, terrorists targeting the United States have stated their motives as including revenge for the U.S. war in Afghanistan, along with other U.S. wars in the region. There is no reason to imagine this will change.

In addition, Afghanistan is the one nation where the United States is engaged in major warfare with a country that is a member of the International Criminal Court. That body has now announced that it isinvestigating possible prosecutions for U.S. crimes in Afghanistan. Over the past 15 years, we have been treated to an almost routine repetition of scandals: hunting children from helicopters, blowing up hospitals with drones, urinating on corpses -- all fueling anti-U.S. propaganda, all brutalizing and shaming the United States.

Ordering young American men and women into a kill-or-die mission that was accomplished 15 years ago is a lot to ask. Expecting them to believe in that mission is too much. That fact may help explain this one: the top killer of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is suicide. The second highest killer of American military is green on blue, or the Afghan youth who the U.S. is training are turning their weapons on their trainers! You yourself recognized this, saying: "Let's get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghans we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA."

The withdrawal of U.S. troops would also be good for the Afghan people, as the presence of foreign soldiers has been an obstacle to peace talks. The Afghans themselves have to determine their future, and will only be able to do so once there is an end to foreign intervention.

We urge you to turn the page on this catastrophic military intervention. Bring all U.S. troops home from Afghanistan. Cease U.S. airstrikes and instead, for a fraction of the cost, help the Afghans with food, shelter, and agricultural equipment.

Elliott Adams, Veterans For Peace 
Deborah K. Andresen, Tackling Torture at the Top 
Rita Archibald, Nonviolence Trainer 
Judy Bello, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink 
Fred Bially 
Barry Binks, Veterans for Peace Ch. 87, Occupy Beale 
Toby Blome', Code Pink 
Alison Bodine, Mobilization Against War and Occupation 
Leah Bolger, World Beyond War 
John Calder, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69 
Kathleen Christison, Author, Veterans for Peace 
Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General 
Helena Cobban, Just World Books 
David Cobb, 2004 Green Party Presidential Nominee 
Jeff Cohen, 
Gerry Condon,Veterans for Peace National Board of Directors 
Mary Crosby, Roman Catholic Women Priests 
James Eilers, Code Pink Auxiliary 
Michael Eisenscher, U.S. Labor Against the War 
Melissa Crosby, Black Lives Matter 
Nicolas J S Davies, author 
Mary Dean, World Beyond War 
Thomas Dickinson, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military Madness 
Jennifer DiZio, UC Berkeley 
Maria Eitz, Roman Catholic Women Priests 
Daniel Ellsberg, whistleblower 
Jodie Evans, Code Pink 
Joseph J. Fahey, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace 
Robert Fantina, World Beyond War 
Bill Fletcher Jr., 
Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance 
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report 
Bruce K. Gagnon, Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space 
Johan Galtung, Founder Trancend Interntional 
Lindsey German, Stop the War Coalition UK 
The Rev. Dr. Diana C. Gibson, Multifaith Voices for Peace & Justice 
Michael Goldstein, The 99 Percent 
Kevin Gosztola, 
Will Griffin, The Peace Report 
Patty Guerrero, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against  Military Madness, Pax-Salon 
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit 
Amith Gupta, student, NYU School of Law 
Bill Habedank, Veterans For Peace Ch. 115 
Steve Harms, Peace Lutheran Church, Past-President Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County
David Hartsough, Peaceworkers 
Jan Hartsough, San Francisco Friends Meeting 
Hayley Hathaway, Quaker Earthcare Witness 
Dud Hendrick, Veterans for Peace 
Adam Hochschild, author 
Matthew Hoh, former director of Afghanistan Study Group
Martha Hubert, Code Pink San Francisco 
Aaron Hughes, Iraq Veterans Against the War 
Tony Jenkins, World Beyond War 
Sonja Johnson, Women Against Military Madness 
Kathy Kelly, Voices For Creative Nonviolence 
Gary W. King, Tackling Torture at the Top, Women Against Military Madness 
John Kiriakou, former Central Intelligence agency officer 
Dennis Kucinich, former Member of United States Congress 
Peter Kuznick, Professor of History, American University 
Barry Ladendorf, Veterans For Peace President Board of Directors 
Paul Leuenberger, Veterans for Peace 
Dave Lindorff, This Can't Be Happening 
Dave Logsdon, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27 
Richard Lord, Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice 
Douglas Mackey, Global Days of Listening 
Jody Mackey, New Traditions Fair Trade 
Mike Madden, Veterans For Peace Ch. 27 
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate 
Ben Manski, Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution 
Stephen Matchett, AVP Trainer, San Francisco Friends Meeting 
Sherri Maurin, Campaign Nonviolence, Associate Veterans for Peace Ch. 69 
Ken Mayers, Veterans for Peace 
Ray McGovern, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity 
Cynthia McKinney, former member of United States Congress 
Stephen McNeil, American Friends Service Committee 
Michael T. McPhearson, Veterans For Peace Executive Director 
Tom Morman, Nonviolence Coalition San Jose 
Nick Mottern, 
Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, NIC 
Michael Nagler, Metta Center for Nonviolence Founder and President 
Carroll Nast, Veterans for Peace Ch. 122 
Agneta Norberg, Swedish Peace Council 
Cathe Norman, Veterans for Peace Associate 
Tom Norman, Veterans for Peace Ch. 60 
Todd E. Pierce, JA, MAJ, USA (Ret.) 
Gareth Porter, journalist, author 
Pancho Francisco Ramos-Stierle, Casa de Paz, Canticle Farm 
John C. Reiger, Veterans For Peace 
Denny Riley, Veterans For Peace Chapter 69 
Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent and legal counsel 
Mike Rufo, Musician 
Judith Sandoval, Veterans for Peace Ch. 69 
Bill Schwab, Americans for Justice 
Julie Searle, Educator 
Michael Shaughnessy, educator 
Cindy Sheehan, peace activist 
Eva Sivill, Casa de Paz, Canticle Farm 
Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation 
Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War 
David Solnit, Global Organizer, Writer, Puppeteer 
Norman Solomon, 
Melvin Starks, Unitarian Universalist Church 
Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party presidential candidate 
David Swanson, World Beyond War 
Shelley Tannenbaum, Quaker Earthcare Witness 
Brian Terrell, Voices for Creative Nonviolence 
Tiffany Tool, Nonviolent Peaceforce 
Chip Tucker, Charlottesville Friends Meeting 
Louie J. Vitale, OFM, Pace e Bene, Nevada Desert Experience 
Zohreh Whitaker, Veterans for Peace, Peace Action 
Phil Wilayto, the Virginia Defender 
Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army colonel 
Kevin Zeese, Popular Resistance

(organizations above for identification)


Creating a Culture of Peace 
Mobilization Against War and Occupation, Vancouver Canada
Popular Resistance 
Veterans For Peace 
Voices for Creative Nonviolence 
World Beyond War

Individuals and organizations can sign by clicking here.