Local activists encourage Senator Feinstein to support a bill authored by Barbara Boxer that calls for a specific timeline for the end of operations in Afghanistan and to bring U.S. troops home
Yesterday a group of activists in San Diego met with members of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s staff to encourage the Senator’s support for a bill introduced in the United States Senate by her California Senate colleague, Barbara Boxer.
The bill, S.186, titled the “Safe and Responsible Redeployment of United States Combat Forces from Afghanistan Act of 2011,” backs President Obama’s proposal for the beginning of a phased withdrawal of U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan, and calls for the President to issue a detailed plan for the redeployment of all troops in Afghanistan, including a completion date. The legislation was introduced in January, 2011.
The meeting was part of a renewed effort in the wake of the death of Osama bin Laden to push the President and Congress to more clearly define the mission of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and to issue a clear timetable for the end of operations. Estimates have the United States spending $6.7 billion per month on operations in Afghanistan, money that critics say could be better spent here at home.
Jack Hamlin, chosen by the organization CREDO to represent the group at the meeting, says that the people of Afghanistan have been unconquerable for thousands of years. Throughout history they have thwarted invasion after invasion, including the attempt in the1980’s by the Soviet Union. It is a culture of tribalism, he says, and it has been that way for centuries. “The culture of change must come from within,” he said. The Afghan government erected in the wake of the Taliban’s expulsion cannot be forced on the Afghan people, and they will never accept a leadership thrust upon them from outside sources.
“This war is wasting human lives and U.S. resources,” he said.
Activist Andrew Wilson pointed out that the continuous war is costing the United States its credibility throughout the world.
Senator Feinstein is up for reelection in 2012, and standing with Senator Boxer on this initiative “would be a great opportunity to take a stand and earn the support of Progressives in California,” said Amy Sies, who also participated in the meeting. “It’s an opportunity to use Senator Feinstein’s leadership position to affect the United States’ direction in Afghanistan,” she said. Senator Feinstein chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Feinstein staffer Katherine Field told the group that currently Senator Feinstein supports the President’s withdrawal plan and the timeline previously laid out by General David Petraeus, which calls for a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014.