The secret of Obama's pact with Afghanistan

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President Obama greets troops in Afghanistan
In a trip designed for domestic political consumption, President Obama gives the impression that the U.S. war in Afghanistan is ending. It is not.
Photo: Reuters

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%.

Below please find the Call to Action for the May 20 March on the NATO Summit.

Sunday, May 20: March on the NATO Summit
U.S./NATO Out of Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa!
Money for Jobs and Education! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012
Assemble 12 noon: Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park
(Corner of Jackson and Columbus)

It's time to take to the streets. On May 20-21, the NATO powers are holding a pro-war summit in Chicago. Leaders from the world's most powerful imperialist governments will be descending on the city to promote an agenda of conquest, genocide and plunder.

The ANSWER Coalition is joining with hundreds of other organizations in mobilizing people from the Chicago area, the Midwest and the entire country to come to Chicago for a mass march and rally to resist the war makers on Sunday, May 20.

NATO and the Pentagon are nothing more than an enforcement arm of the 1%—using military force to carry out the interests of capitalism, overthrowing and destroying independent governments. For instance, NATO—under the pretext of defending civilians—carried out the merciless bombing of Libya until the government fell. Now, in their drive to reconquer the entire Middle East, U.S. and NATO are promoting civil war and foreign intervention to overthrow the government of Syria.

The protest against the NATO Summit is being organized by the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANG8). The ANSWER Coalition, Occupy Chicago, Jesse Jackson, Chicago Teachers Union, National Nurses United, SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, SEIU Local 1, United Electrical Workers Western Region and many others have endorsed this important protest.

Why We're Marching on the NATO Summit 

End the War on Afghanistan: Bring all the Troops Home Now!

The U.S./NATO war on Afghanistan is opposed by the people of the world. Tens of thousands of Afghans have been killed. Thousands of U.S. soldiers and marines have been killed or wounded. According to a New York Times poll, 69% of people in the United States think all U.S. troops should leave Afghanistan immediately. 

Jobs and Education, Not War and Occupation!

The Pentagon will spend $120 billion of taxpayer money this year to continue the war and occupation of Afghanistan. That is approximately $357 million each day to occupy Afghanistan. Meanwhile, 30 million people in the United States are unemployed or underemployed. Hundreds of thousands of teachers and public service workers are being laid off because the government says there is “no money.” College students are being forced out of school because of skyrocketing tuition. We are marching to demand money for jobs and education, not war and occupation. 

March on May 20 because change can only be made in the streets!

On May 20, march with veterans and GIs, students and youth from across the country, union members and community organizations to say no to the war machine!

Info: 773-463-0311

Please support the ongoing anti-war work of the ANSWER Coalition by making an urgently needed donation.


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