Well, Obama made it clear on Wednesday. His war in Afghanistan will go on through 2014 and probably far beyond. While some may have hoped for a shift in his approach, many of us didn’t expect much, and we certainly didn’t get much. The change in Afghanistan that he spoke about, meant to be heard as a drawdown, is hardly dramatic, and amounts only to a reduction to pre-surge troop levels. At the end of 2012 there will still be 67,000 US troops, 100,000 contractors (and, likely, still a fair number of NATO troops.)
Obama also talks about an expansion and escalation of covert operations and “nonconventional” warfare that allows for extra-judicial assassinations and US military intervention in other countries through drone strikes or special-forces operations without the permission of their governments or people. Much of this happens under the radar of many people living in the U.S. and the media because of the increased prominence of secret security clearances, intelligence operations, and private contractors in current-day US militarism.
This is why the anti-war movement, increasingly expanding into a move-the-war-dollars-home movement, must continue to be organizing, connecting our struggles, and bringing it to the streets. For more analysis of Obama’s plans, please check out the latest article by Phyllis Bennis. It’s insightful and has some important numbers, though she departs from WRL in her belief in ‘just war’.
Bennis writes that “ending the wars is the most important single thing we can do to rebuild our economy and provide jobs for people across this country”. We would add that this will only happen if those that are experiencing the neglect and militarization of their communities here at home – youth of color in urban schools, targets of immigration enforcement raids and the poor who are increasingly brushed aside by quality of life laws – are at the forefront of the struggle to redirect funds towards everyday needs. Please join us as allies in this work.