It is important for people to understand the actual significance of President Obama's highly publicized, surprise visit to Afghanistan. This trip had nothing to do with the outcome of the war itself and everything to do with domestic political consumption. It was designed to win votes from a war-weary public.
President Obama arrived at 4 o'clock in the morning for a photo-op with the president of Afghanistan and U.S. military personnel, and to give a carefully designed message that a page was being turned in the Afghanistan war. The implication is that the war in Afghanistan is finally coming to an end under President Obama's leadership. The reality is far different.
The fine print of the so-called agreement between President Obama and President Hamid Karzai allows for troops and de-facto military bases to remain in Afghanistan well beyond 2014—in fact, for decades to come. This agreement was signed just weeks before the NATO summit to make it clear that the United States intends to remain the master of Afghanistan under the banner of a "NATO force."
In a sleight of hand, the bases will be called Afghan military bases. This is a facade. The bases will keep U.S. troops and equipment in the country. The bases will be paid for by U.S. dollars. This is nothing other than a rebranding of the occupation of this geostrategically located country in South Central Asia.
Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are committed to the long-term occupation of Afghanistan. President Obama's visit was nothing more than a political ploy designed to win support during the 2012 presidential electoral cycle. 69 percent of the people of the United States want the war in Afghanistan to be ended immediately. By giving the false impression that the United States is actually ending the war in Afghanistan, President Obama and the Democrats are playing to this majority sentiment.
The people of Afghanistan do not want to function as pawns in the U.S. political chessboard any more than they want to function as pawns in a U.S. geostrategic chessboard. They want to regain sovereignty over their country. They want to live free from endless war and occupation.
This is a critical juncture to mobilize to demand “U.S./NATO Out of Afghanistan.” There will be a major mobilization in Chicago on Sunday, May 20 during the NATO Summit.
Excitement for the May 20 March on the NATO Summit in Chicago is building. Thousands of leaflets for the march have been passed out on the streets during a number of coordinated days of mass outreach. Outreach at many Chicago area campuses has been well received, especially at Harold Washington College, Truman College and Wright College and the University of Illinois - Chicago. Phone calls have come into the ANSWER Chicago office from all over the Midwest and as far away as Vermont.
Cities throughout the Midwest and beyond are mobilizing to bring people to Chicago. Milwaukee will be organizing a series of teach-ins about NATO to build up to the May 20 protest involving several community organizations. On May 20, there will be at least two buses full of Milwaukee activists headed to Chicago to protest against the NATO war makers and the 1%.