Lawmakers Join Anti-War Groups’ Opposition to Obama’s Afghanistan Plan

Posted March 9, 2009 at 2:28pm

Anti-war groups are circulating a letter on Capitol Hill calling on President Barack Obama to reconsider sending more troops to Afghanistan — a request that is already gaining bipartisan traction in the House.Paul Kawika Martin, political director for Peace Action, one of 16 national organizations behind the effort, said the letter, sent last week, was delivered to all 435 House Members. He said Members have until Wednesday to add their signatures before it heads to Obama.The letter “echoes Congressional grumblings that Afghanistan may be becoming another Iraq,— Martin said. The group, with more than 100,00 members, bills itself as the nation’s largest peace and disarmament organization.As of Friday, eight House Members had signed on. The Democrats on board were Reps. Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii), Steve Kagen (Wis.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio) and Progressive Caucus Co-Chairwoman Lynn Woolsey (Calif.). Republicans included Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (Md.), Walter Jones Jr. (N.C.), Ron Paul (Texas) and Ed Whitfield (Ky.).In the letter, the lawmakers warn Obama that a military escalation could actually destabilize Afghanistan by driving a resurgence of the Taliban and pressuring Pakistan to increase its military activity.“Mr. President, in reviewing the past history of Afghanistan and the nations that have failed to conquer it … we urge you to reconsider the decision to send an additional 17,000 troops and to resist pressure to escalate even further,— the letter says.The letter comes in response to Obama’s recent announcement that he plans to send 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has endorsed Obama’s plan, a stance that has drawn fire from anti-war Members in her Caucus.Among the organizations backing the letter are Women’s Action for New Directions, Pax Christi USA, the American Conservative Defense Alliance and Win Without War, a coalition of 40 groups that is headed by former Rep. Tom Andrews (D-Maine).