The California Democratic Party Adopts
Progressive Caucus Resolution
“End the U.S. Occupation
& Air War in Afghanistan”
Dear California Democratic Congressional Delegation:
On behalf of one of the largest and most active caucuses in the California State Democratic Party, we are writing to thank those of you who have worked to end the war in Afghanistan and urge you all to take advantage of every opportunity to push for a significant military withdrawal in July and a clear end date for the war.
There is no justification for keeping 100,000 US troops and thousands of contractors in Afghanistan. By the administration’s own estimates, there are fewer than 100 Al Qaeda fighters currently in Afghanistan. We can avoid wasting even more lives and tax dollars by quickly transitioning to a strategy focused on diplomacy, development, humanitarian aid and intelligence.
This is a critical time for you to express strong support for ending the war, as the administration debates the size and speed of the July withdrawal. While President Obama recently stated that the withdrawal would not be a “token gesture,” there are reports that the Pentagon will be pushing for as small a withdrawal as possible. One Pentagon official told the Washington Post, “Our hope is that we’ll be able to get away with no combat troops getting pulled out this summer.” The President can only push back successfully against this pressure if he has strong public backing from congressional leaders and the public.
The cost to our soldiers is also far too high. More than 1,000 California veterans died between 2005 and 2008, three times as many as died in Iraq and Afghanistan in the same period. The soldiers who are lucky enough to return from Afghanistan struggle with physical injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is unconscionable to ask these men and women to continue to suffer when it is not even in the security interest of the United States. The war has also been devastating for the people of Afghanistan, with thousands of civilian casualties, the tearing apart of families, poverty, and increased instability. The best way to improve conditions is to withdraw the military force and partner with Afghans on local development and humanitarian aid.
California taxpayers have already spent more than $50 billion on the war in Afghanistan, and we can’t afford to bear this burden for a war that is not making Californians safer. At the cost of approximately $1 million per soldier per year, withdrawing 25,000 soldiers from Afghanistan (fewer than were sent in the surge) could make up California’s budget deficit.
We strongly urge you to take advantage of every opportunity to work to end the war in Afghanistan, including cosponsoring and voting for legislation to end the war and speaking out forcefully for a new approach. Please write to let us know what action you plan to take. Your responses will be shared with the membership of our caucus.
Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
Vice Chair, Northern California
Vice Chair, Central California
Vice Chair, Southern California
Communications and Media Officer
Co-Chair, Foreign Policy Committee