Category Archives: Take Action

Afghanistan: The Forgotten War

By Mary Hladky, Military Families Speak Out

October 5, 2017 — Watching the PBS series on Vietnam is a graphic reminder of the horrors of war.  Unfortunately, one of the few things the U.S. government learned from Vietnam was how to hide the horrors of the Afghanistan war from public view as much as possible, to prevent the backlash experienced during the Vietnam war.  No body counts, no reporters roaming free, only embedded journalists, minimal media coverage with little footage of the actual war, and no pictures of coffins returning home.

The Trump Administration has decided to continue to support the war in Afghanistan, only with more troops and no stated end game.  As this war completes its 16th year, on October 7, more troops are on their way to Afghanistan.  The suffering of our troops, their families and the Afghan people will continue.

Afghanistan is the forgotten war, even though it is currently the United States’ largest military foreign engagement, with 16,000+ troops and tens of thousands of defense and agency contractors.
The only people who benefit from this war are the military contractors and the corrupt Afghan government, made up of many drug and war lords guilty of human rights abuses and war crimes.  The Afghan government and Taliban controls, protects, and benefits from the enormous poppy crop that supplies over 90% of the world’s heroin.  SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction) reports that reconstruction in Afghanistan is nearly nonexistent after spending $100 billion.

The Afghan government, which the U.S. has propped up with billions of dollars and thousands of American livesremains overwhelmingly corrupt, a government the Afghan people will never accept.
In the meantime, the Taliban has grown in numbers and holds more territory than ever before, 40-50% of the country.

The human costs of war for our troops, the Afghan forces and civilians has been enormous.  Death, injuries and nearly a trillion dollars have been wasted for no redeemable benefit.  Yet instead of pursuing peace, our government continues to opt for more war.
Americans need to take a stand against the Afghanistan war.  We need to reflect on what it is that we believe – ask yourself two basic questions:

How, as Americans, do we continually accept sending young men and women to risk their lives for a futile, never ending war?
What would you say to a mother who loses her son or daughter in Afghanistan?  Can you explain what her child actually died for?  What was the noble cause?

It’s up to everyone one of us who are uncomfortable with the answers to these questions, to demand an end to the Afghanistan War.      

Military Families & Veterans To Hold Demonstrations In Opposition To Afghanistan Troop Increase

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA – August 20, 2017 –  Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) members know the true costs of the war.  In response to President Trump’s upcoming Afghanistan policy announcement, we are prepared to hold demonstrations to protest any increase of “boots on the ground” in Afghanistan.  This will occur on the day following Trump’s official announcement in conjunction with simultaneous protests at Congressional offices by members of Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, and supporting organizations in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Long Beach, California.

Since the start of the war on Afghanistan, over 2400 American service members and many thousands of civilians have been killed according to icasualties.org. Countless others have been injured, lost to suicide, or suffer from invisible wounds such as Traumatic Brain Injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, along with drug and alcohol abuse. To many Americans these are just statistics, but these are our loved ones.

“The losses and injuries our families have already suffered from the ongoing wars in the Middle East have not been addressed and there is no end is in sight for them. We simply cannot ask our troops to make any more sacrifices than they already have,” says Military Families Speak Out National Coordinator, Pat Alviso, whose son was recently been deployed for the sixth time.

Our members know the long-term effects of military action as part of an unjust war.  We have members available for interviews nationwide to talk about how this will affect the lives of their loved ones and their families

When:  Tuesday, August 20th, at 4 PM

Address: Pacific Coast Highway and Main St. in Huntington Beach by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s office (101 Main Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92648)

Media Contacts:

Pat Alviso  562-833-8035

Tim Kahlor  951-216-9620

Military Families Speak Out continues our demand that the military cease involvement in Afghanistan and bring all our troops home now! We call for the use of diplomacy.

Take Out Your iPhone!

Take Out Your iPhone!

By Paula Rogovin, MFSO, Bergen County NJ

When I spoke at the Cranford, NJ Peace Fair on August 6, I started by telling about my distress during my son’s two deployments to Iraq, my friend, John Fenton’s, distress when he watched his son’s head shrink before he died in the hospital after being struck by an IED in Iraq, my friends, Kevin and Joyce Lucey’ distress when their son, Jeffrey, hung himself after he was told to return to the VA for help after he dealt with his alcohol abuse, and my friend, Marcia Westbrook’s distress, when she received the call that her son in the Special Forces, Tyler, had died by suicide.

I asked people in the crowd, “Why did the U.S. intervene in Iraq?” People shouted, “Oil!” Then I asked people to take out their iphones and hold them up high. So, why is the U.S. involved in Afghanistan and why is President Trump considering sending 3,000-5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan? Several people shouted, “Minerals!” This was a Peace Fair and many of the people read recent articles in the news. Yup, President Trump is concerned that we hadn’t really secured the oil contracts in Iraq and the mineral rights in Afghanistan during the time of Cheney/Bush. Now, he’s talking about securing the mineral contracts in Afghanistan.

If you read excerpts from the articles below, you will see that there is lots of lithium – which used in iPhones and other devices. We know that it’s not OUR oil or OUR minerals. To sacrifice the lives and well-being of U.S. service members and their families for profit, for greed, is totally unacceptable!

I told the crowd at the Cranford Peace Fair that Military Families Speak Out says: NO military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan! Bring the troops home NOW!

The crowd agreed and shouted: Bring the troops home NOW!

Trump Finds Reason for the U.S. to Remain in Afghanistan: Minerals (New York Times). (By MARK LANDLER and JAMES RISENJULY 25, 2017
“The lure of Afghanistan as a war-torn Klondike is well established: In 2006, the George W. Bush administration conducted aerial surveys of the country to map its mineral resources. Under President Barack Obama, the Pentagon set up a task force to try to build a mining industry in Afghanistan — a challenge that was stymied by rampant corruption, as well as security problems and the lack of roads, bridges or railroads.

None of these hurdles has been removed in the last eight years, according to former officials, and some have worsened. They warn that the Trump administration is fooling itself if it believes that extracting minerals is a panacea for Afghanistan’s myriad ills…..

But for Mr. Trump, as a businessman, it is arguably the only appealing thing about Afghanistan. Officials said he viewed mining as a “win-win” that could boost that country’s economy, generate jobs for Americans and give the United States a valuable new beachhead in the market for rare-earth minerals, which has been all but monopolized by China….. Mr. Silver, the chemical executive, may head an effort to maximize the rights for American companies to extract these minerals, according to a senior official.”

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, March 25, 2017
“Here is part of the list: “gold, copper, lithium,uranium, iron ore, cobalt, natural gas and oil. Afghanistan’s resources could make it one of the richest mining regions in the world.

According to a joint report by the Pentagon, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and USAID, Afghanistan is now said to possess “previously unknown” and untapped mineral reserves, estimated authoritatively to be of the order of one trillion dollars (New York Times, U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan – NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010, See also BBC, 14 June 2010).
“The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys…..

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said… “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines. (New York Times, op. cit.)
Afghanistan could become, according to The New York Times “the Saudi Arabia of lithium”. “Lithium is an increasingly vital resource, used in batteries for everything from mobile phones to laptops and key to the future of the electric car.” At present Chile, Australia, China and Argentina are the main suppliers of lithium to the world market. Bolivia and Chile are the countries with the largest known reserves of lithium. “The Pentagon has been conducting ground surveys in western Afghanistan. “Pentagon officials said that their initial analysis at one location in Ghazni province showed the potential for lithium deposits as large as those of Bolivia” (U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan – NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010, see also Lithium – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Demonstration against projected troop level increase in Afghanistan

JOIN VETERANS FOR PEACE & MILITARY FAMILIES SPEAK OUT  (Chapter 110/ OC)

In a demonstration against another troop level  increase in Afghanistan

4:00 p.m. the day after the Trump Administration makes the announcement

PCH and Main St. in Huntington Beach by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s office

Please join veterans, military families and other peace groups that are opposed to the increase of troop levels in Afghanistan. Each new sitting president has increased troop levels and it’s time to “END THESE ESCALATIONS”