A statement from March Forward!
As the hundreds of thousands of pages of documents released by WikiLeaks are still being mulled over, one thing is immediately clear: The war in Afghanistan is lost.
The politicians know this. The generals know this. But they’ve kept it hidden; they do not want us, our families and our friends to know that our deaths and our suffering are not only for a cause that is unjust but for a cause that is lost.
The timing of the release casts a spotlight on the true scope of the catastrophe in Afghanistan. It comes just a day after yet another grisly report of a U.S. air strike that killed over 50 civilians. Women and children from eight families were packed in a house to escape a U.S. incursion into the village when the residence was demolished from the sky.
“They have ruined us, and they have killed small children and innocent women,” said a 57-year old resident, after he dragged the bodies of his relatives and neighbors from the carnage.
The WikiLeaks documents chronicle countless more of these incidents, covered up by the U.S. government to hide the reality of the occupation. General Petraeus announced in his first days of command in Afghanistan that he would review the current use of air strikes, which he believes show too much restraint. The Wikileaks documents come just days after a report that shows six Afghan civilians on average are killed daily.
Popular resistance growing
The documents come as the popular resistance is growing larger and stronger. Attacks on U.S./NATO forces are becoming more frequent, more sophisticated and more successful. The Wikileaks documents show that the U.S. defeat is much worse than we already knew.
This truth comes after the deadliest month of the entire war for both U.S. and NATO troops. In June, 60 U.S. troops perished. The U.S. death count in July of at least 66 surpassed that record. It comes after reports that show U.S. soldiers are being maimed at four times the rate of 2009; and the number of those wounded in 2009 was almost three times that of 2008.
And the June-July period was not just a milestone for U.S. deaths in the nine-year war. June brought the highest number of suicides in the entire history of the U.S. military. The cause is repeated, horrific deployments to colonial-type occupations, and then criminally inadequate treatment when we get home.
It comes as the people of the United States are enduring staggering job losses, foreclosures and cuts to health care, education and social services.
Government and media have been hiding the truth
The Wikileaks documents reveal that the U.S. government and corporate media have been hiding the truth about the war. They want to hide the truth, because they know that the people of the United States, if fully exposed to the facts of the war, will not accept hundreds of billions of dollars of their tax money to pay for the slaughter of Afghan civilians, and to pay to send wave after wave of young soldiers to be blown up, to come home dead or in pieces.
They will not accept this, because the truth is there is no reason for us to fight in Afghanistan. This war from the very beginning has been for the oil giants, the military-industrial complex and the banks—for the U.S. Empire, steered by the richest people on the planet.
The big-business representatives in the White House and Pentagon thought that Afghanistan could be conquered easily in 2001. They saw an easy way to access a wealth of resources and plant military bases in a strategic location to further dominate the region. But their calculations were wrong. The Afghan people have refused to live under foreign occupation. The malicious plans to conquer Afghanistan have failed, with no chance of turning the tide.
Now those generals and politicians know that their plans have failed, and that the war is lost. They have two choices: The first is to be loyal to their corporate masters, to protect the image of the “invincible” Empire, and continue to send us to kill and die for years on end while they fall over themselves trying to avoid taking responsibility for a hopeless disaster, and while they test out new hopeless strategies to dominate the region with our blood. Or, they can admit defeat, immediately withdraw all U.S./NATO forces from Afghanistan and give the Afghan people their right to self-determination.
That second choice is the only one that is just, the only one that makes sense for GIs, their families, and the people of both the United States and Afghanistan. But the first choice, which means a flood of tears from U.S. and Afghan families for an indefinite number of years, is what the millionaires in Washington are compelled to follow. Only a mass movement of soldiers, Marines, veterans, military families, students, and workers can compel the second choice—the only just solution.
For active-duty GIs, the Wikileaks documents have made it more evident than ever that we have the absolute right to refuse to take part in this war. It is a right that more and more GIs are exercising every day, and it’s a right that we all should exercise.
This is not our war!