AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

EDUCATION AND ACTION IN SUPPORT OF THE AFT'S POSITION ON WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers, at its 2010 convention, passed a resolution calling for "an end to our current open-ended military involvement in Afghanistan with a specific timetable for the rapid, orderly withdrawal of all armed forces and military contractors from Afghanistan, to begin immediately"; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. war in Afghanistan is now in its 11th year and is the longest war in U.S. history, and there are still 91,000 U.S. troops present, as well as tens of thousands of U.S. military contractors (Jim Michaels, "U.S. Deaths in Afghanistan Down," USA Today, Jan. 3, 2012); and

WHEREAS, at its 2011 Representative Assembly, the New York State United Teachers passed a resolution calling "on the U.S. government immediately to begin the withdrawal of all armed forces and military contractors from Afghanistan, a withdrawal to be completed by Jan. 1, 2012"; and

WHEREAS, the current plan of the U.S. administration is to keep 65,000 troops in Afghanistan past the end of 2012, and maintain tens of thousands of U.S. combat forces in Afghanistan until Dec. 31, 2014; and

WHEREAS, the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John R. Allen, suggested in December that tens of thousands of U.S. troops might stay in that country beyond 2014 (Alissa J. Rubin, "U.S. General in Afghanistan Says Troops May Stay Past 2014," New York Times, Dec. 20, 2011); and

WHEREAS, the price paid by U.S. soldiers continues to rise (more than 1,875 dead, more than 15,000 wounded, and rising levels of post-traumatic stress disorder), while tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have perished or been crippled in the fighting; and

WHEREAS, according to U.S. intelligence reports, al-Qaeda no longer has a significant presence in Afghanistan (the Merkley-Lee-Udall letter to the president to bring troops home, signed by 27 senators); and

WHEREAS, the continued occupation of Afghanistan has increased recruits to the Taliban, has spread the war to Pakistan, and has not succeeded in eliminating acts of terrorism; and

WHEREAS, the quagmire in Afghanistan has already cost taxpayers more than $370 billion since 2000, and the annual cost is now in excess of $100 billion (Afghanistan Study Group, "A New Way Forward: Rethinking U.S. Strategy in Afghanistan," Aug. 16, 2010), while a study by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes estimates that the total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will reach between $4 trillion and $6 trillion (Linda Bilmes, "How the Wars Are Sinking the Economy," Daily Beast, Oct. 26, 2010); and

WHEREAS, these trillions in federal dollars would be better spent on improving education and healthcare—especially for the thousands of young people who enlist primarily to gain access to healthcare and a college education—and on creating more jobs, shoring up our infrastructure, and funding other vital domestic programs:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will call on the U.S. government immediately to begin the withdrawal of all armed forces and military contractors from Afghanistan, a withdrawal to be completed by Jan. 1, 2013; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will call for the funds that would be spent on the war in Afghanistan to be spent on jobs, with preference given to the two to three million recent veterans, who have particular problems finding employment, as well as urgently needed social programs and infrastructure both in this country and in Afghanistan.


(2012)