Last night, President Obama announced that he will send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan—on top of the 68,000 who are already there.
MoveOn is its members, so after the speech, we asked thousands of members what they think of the president's plan. While some support his decision to send more troops, a significant majority think escalating the war is wrong. Where all of us agree is that we need to begin bringing our troops home as quickly and safely as possible. (You can see more detailed results below.)
As Sandy M. in Oregon put it, "Millions of lives will be tragically altered. Innocent people, by the thousands, will lose their lives. We have plenty of nation building to do, and it's in our country, not others."
While the president acknowledged that our commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended, we have to act now to make sure our representatives and senators hold him to that. President Obama said he'll begin withdrawing troops in July, 2011, but news reports are already suggesting that withdrawal could be very limited, so pressure from Congress will be key.1
Congress could take up legislation related to the war this month, so we need to get the message to them quickly. Can you sign our emergency petition calling on Congress to end the war as quickly as possible? Clicking below will add your name:
The petition says, "Congress must push the Obama administration to outline firm benchmarks and a binding timeline to bring all of our troops home from Afghanistan as soon as possible."
When we asked MoveOn members what they think about the situation in Afghanistan, they acknowledged the mess that George W. Bush left for President Obama. Still, nearly all MoveOn members agree that we must have a clear military exit strategy with a firm timeline so we can end the war quickly.
The costs of this war are enormous—for the men and women of our armed forces who face injury or death, for Afghans who will suffer increased violence and civilian casualties, and for American citizens who are spending billions of dollars without being any safer. The administration and Congress have to hear from those of us who want to see the war come to an end.
Can you sign our emergency petition now telling Congress to work to bring our troops home? Clicking below will add your name:
Thanks for all you do.
–Daniel, Peter, Lenore, Kat, and the rest of the team
P.S. We've been hearing from MoveOn members about Afghanistan for months now, so we wanted to get a sense of what people were thinking in the wake of President Obama's speech. So, since last night's speech, we've asked more than 50,000 randomly selected MoveOn members to let us know what they think about the President's plan.
There's no question the situation in Afghanistan is difficult, and MoveOn members, like all Americans, are wrestling with the lack of good options. But right now, a significant majority of us oppose escalating the war. We've posted the results of the surveys we ran at:
And here's what some MoveOn members had to say:
"War is not the answer. We don't have the money. We need to get our own house in order."—Theresa T., Fort Bragg, CA
"A terrible waste of American and Afghan lives with slim chance of positive outcomes. If Americans are asked to fund anything with a new tax it should be universal healthcare not warfare."—Carol B., Port Hadlock, WA
"I respect President Obama. I respect his opinions and the information he has, that I don't. At the same time, I want us out of the war zone. I am very concerned."—Patricia D., Reno, NV
"I don't feel that it's possible to accomplish whatever it is we're trying to accomplish there, and I want the waste of lives and money to stop immediately."—Barbara E., Rock Stream, NY
"We need to keep our kids here, not send them to fight battles elsewhere."—Beth W., Gold Beach, OR
"We have too many problems here at home. Our national debt is huge. We do not need to be adding more to it."—Marietta H., Carson, CA
"I think this a very tough thing. We cannot run out on the Afghan people, but if they cannot rise to the occasion by 2011, then we should come home and be done!"—Peter M., Newbury Park, CA
1. "Officials Press Obama's Afghan Strategy," The New York Times, December 2, 2009
2. "McCain Opposes Exit Deadline for Troops," The New York Times, December 1, 2009
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