The Peace Center worked with a number of local groups to plan and coordinate events and actions to mark the 8th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan,  October 7, 2009.  Scroll down to learn more about facts on the ground in Afghanistan and possible solutions.

Click here to sign a movement-wide petition calling for an end to the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.  Join thousands of others and make your voice heard!

Report Back from Action Week:

We had a powerful week of actions to mark the 8th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.  Scroll down to see the calendar of events.  The Peace Center played an important role helping to coordinate all the events and actions and reaching out to media.  We hope you saw the Washington Post articles covering the week, including one that declared the anti-war movement to be back!  We know we've been working just as hard as ever, but it's nice for the media to take notice. 

The Peace Center hosted an educational forum: Not the "Good" War: Rethinking Afghanistan Eight Years Later.  It was a very successful event with almost 70 people attending and a great panel of speakers.  We raised over $200 to send to Afghan Women's Mission for direct aid to Afghans.  We learned more about the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, as well as possible solutions besides an increase in US troops. 

The whole week re-inspired us at the Peace Center to work even harder to stop the unending US occupation of Afghanistan and prevent more imperialistic moves by the US governement.  If you want to learn more about Afghanistan and what we can do, please sign up to get our newspaper, the Peace Letter.   The next issue will come out in December and will be focused on Afghanistan.

We also helped with the rally and actions at the White House on Monday, Oct 5, where 61 people got arrested protesting the occupation of Afghanistan as well as the US's torture policies.  On Tuesday, Oct 6, we helped with a powerful public dance performance of "Unsung" by CrossCurrents dance company, reflecting on the soldier's experience in Afghanistan and Iraq.  They performed in Dupont Circle and was very well received.  If you missed it, they will be performing again on Oct 24 and on Nov 15 for Veteran's Day.  Over the weekend there was a wonderful "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit of over 900 shoes and boots representing the US solidiers and Afghan civilians killed during the US occupation.  On Oct 7, there was also a spirited and militant student march through the streets of downtown DC to say "Funk the War".

October 7, 2009 marked eight years since the U.S. entered Afghanistan as part of the so-called "war on terror".  Since then, we have spent $222.8 billion dollars, killed tens of thousands of Afghan civilians and created a refugee crisis with no end.  The U.S. faces yet another unending occupation with no exit plan.  Right now is a crucial opportunity to say NO to more troop increases and pressure the government to provide humanitarian aid to rebuild Aghanistan intead of continuing to destroy their infrastructure.

Click here to sign up to receive our Afghanistan Special Issue of our newspaper, the Washington Peace Letter.  Due in your home in early December, 2009.

Learn More

Total U.S. money budgeted for war: $223.2 billion
Total budgeted to military: $208.6 billion
Total budgeted to aid/diplomacy: $13.9 billion (6% of total)
Percentage of Afghan pop. with clean drinking water: 23%
Percentage with safe sanitation: 12%
Where is the infrastructure promised by the U.S.?

US soldier deaths: 853
Afghan civilian deaths: at least 18,000 (est.)
2009 Afghan civilian deaths (first 8 months): 1,500
Percentage of civilian deaths directly caused by US: 35%
Where is the security promised by the U.S.?

Number of U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan: 38,000
Number of new troops Obama might send: 17,000
Pecentage of U.S. pop. opposing war in Afghanistan: 60%
Where's our exit plan?

There are alternatives!
Solutions:
1. De-escalate troop levels in Afghanistan and reject the idea that there is a military solution to the region's problems;
2. Immediately stop military activities that indiscriminately impact civilians such as air and drone strikes;
3. Withdraw all U.S. troops and foreign forces from Afghanistan as soon as possible;
4. Commit to negotiated diplomatic talks involving all major regional players, including major international peace-keeping bodies; and,
5. Redirect U.S. funds to address the real needs of Afghans, which include clean water, economic development, and education.

Call your Congressmember today to demand an end to the occupation of Afghanistan! Switchboard: 202-224-3121.

Click here to sign our petition to Obama and Congress with these demands.

 

Calendar of Week of Action on Afghanistan: Oct 3-7

Sat Oct 3-Sun Oct 4 - Eyes Wide Open exhibit at the Ellipse.
On the weekend of October 3rd and 4th, Military Families Speak Out and American Friends Service Committee will be undertaking the first Eyes Wide Open Exhibit showing the Cost of War in Afghanistan.  Over 830 pairs of combat boots representing the fallen troops in Afghanistan and 100 shoes, a fraction of those civilians killed during 8 years of war and occupation will be displayed.

The Exhibit will be located on the Ellipse, or “President’s Park”, as they refer to it in the National Parks Service, on the Southeast quadrant.
Click here for more info.

Mon, Oct 5 - National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance rally and actions.
10:30 - Speakers at McPherson Sq (15th and I St NW)
11:30 - March to White House - please wear black t-shirts or "we will not be silent" shirts.
12:00 - Organized nonviolent direct actions at White House

Gather at McPherson Square (15th and I Streets NW) at 10 a.m. on Monday, October 5th and then silently process (two and a half blocks) to the White House to deliver a letter to Obama and request a meeting. The gathering will feature Liz McAlister as a speaker.
In front of the White House various affinity groups will joing, such as the Atlantic Life Community, Witness Against Torture, Veterans for Peace, World Can't Wait, and Activist Response Team. Other groups fully endorsing the action and participating are Peace Action, Code Pink, the War Resisters' League, Voters for Peace, the Washington Peace Center, and Student Peace Action Network.
There is also an online petition.  Click here for info or to sign up.

Tues, Oct 6 - CrossCurrents Dance Company's performance: "Unsung"
 
 

CrossCurrents Dance Company,directed by Debra Kanter, presents "Unsung" by resident choreographer Tiffany Haughn. This provocative and gripping dance tells the story of war from the soldiers' perspective. Inspired from letters by and interviews with soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the work depicts the many different aspects of war from tragedy and loss, to self sacrifice and the triumph of the human spirit. "Unsung" honors the commitment and sacrifice of soldierswhile at the same time serving as a sermon on peace.

CCDC is a Resident Arts Partner at Joy of Motion Dance Center. CCDC is a 501C3 non-profit organization funded in part by the Maryland State Arts Council.

Where: Dupont Circle at 5:45 and 6:30 - 20 minute performances

Wednesday, Oct 7 - Anniversary of the US-led invasion 
3:30-6:00pm - Funk the War with the DC chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).   Meet at Thomas Circle at 14th and M St. NW and dance through the streets of downtown DC to raise a ruckus and make our voices heard.  Click here for more info.

Not the "Good" War: Rethinking Afghanistan Eight Years Later
An educational forum by the Washington Peace Center


After a week of actions commemorating the 8th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, come learn what it's like on the ground in Afghanistan now, understand the geopolitical background of the conflict and find out what we can do to change the course of the US occupation.

  • Report-back from Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK, just returned days earlier from a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan.  Be the first to hear her first-hand account of what's happening right now in Afghanistan.  
  • Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies, currently writing a book on Afghanistan, discusses the history of the conflict, what experts think will happen and what we can do to make the situation better.
  • Clip from the new film (just released!) by Robert Greenwald called "Rethink Afghanistan" on the impact of the US occupation on Afghan civilians and the situation of refugees.
  • Find out how to take action and get involved in the local movement against the occupation of Afghanistan.

Copies of the "Rethink Afghanistan" DVD will be available for a donation to be split between the Washington Peace Center and the Afghan Women's Mission, providing direct aid to the people of Afghanistan through RAWA.

When: 7-9 pm, October 7, 2009 - the 8th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan
Where: St Stephen's Church at 16th and Newton St NW.

Please click here to RSVP to reserve your space!

Save the dates..
Nov 1-3: Malalai Joya speaking tour.  Malalai is an Afghan woman parlimentarian who was punished/threatened for speaking out against war lords.  Hill visits and community events to be planned. 
Speaking at Busboys and Poets at 14th and V NW on Nov 1, National Press Club on Nov 3.  Click here for more info and calendar details. 
 
Early Dec - Washington Peace Center publishes the Afghanistan issue of the Peace Letter, our progressive newspaper.  Contact allisonb@washingtonpeacecenter.org for copies or to contribute content.

Learn More

Total U.S. money budgeted for war: $223.2 billion
Total budgeted to military: $208.6 billion
Total budgeted to aid/diplomacy: $13.9 billion (6% of total)
Percentage of Afghan pop. with clean drinking water: 23%
Percentage with safe sanitation: 12%
Where is the infrastructure promised by the U.S.?

US soldier deaths: 853
Afghan civilian deaths: at least 18,000 (est.)
2009 Afghan civilian deaths (first 8 months): 1,500
Percentage of civilian deaths directly caused by US: 35%
Where is the security promised by the U.S.?

Number of U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan: 38,000
Number of new troops Obama might send: 17,000
Pecentage of U.S. pop. opposing war in Afghanistan: 60%
Where's our exit plan?

There are alternatives!
Solutions:
1. De-escalate troop levels in Afghanistan and reject the idea that there is a military solution to the region's problems;
2. Immediately stop military activities that indiscriminately impact civilians such as air and drone strikes;
3. Withdraw all U.S. troops and foreign forces from Afghanistan as soon as possible;
4. Commit to negotiated diplomatic talks involving all major regional players, including major international peace-keeping bodies; and,
5. Redirect U.S. funds to address the real needs of Afghans, which include clean water, economic development, and education.

Call your Congressmember today to demand an end to the occupation of Afghanistan! Switchboard: 202-224-3121.

Click here to sign our petition to Obama and Congress with these demands.