Military Families Respond to Announcement of Increased Troop Deployments to Afghanistan

Military Families Speak Out, an organization of over 4,000 military families opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, issued the following statement in response to last night’s speech by President Obama regarding Afghanistan.

President Obama’s decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan by deploying another 30,000 troops has sent the message to military families across the United States that the President is willing to gamble in a no-win situation with the lives of our loved ones and the loved ones of others.  President Obama’s surge of U.S. troops will not make the U.S. safer, nor will it bring peace and stability to the Afghan people; it will add more fuel to the fires now raging there.  It will mean more deaths of military personnel and of civilians.  Sending more troops will not end this war; bringing them home now will.

In the 9th year of this conflict it should be clear that there is no military solution.  Military families do not need more of our loved ones coming home in flag-draped coffins.  New deaths will not honor those who have already died, or their families.  We know that the increase in deaths we will see from this war escalation will not just come from weapons like IED’s and RPG’s.  Record breaking rates of suicide, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are the result of seemingly endless and pointless war.

We take no comfort from the goals and objectives laid out in this war escalation strategy.  What President Obama failed to acknowledge are the ongoing impacts of this war on the Afghan people, on our troops, and their families.  We know the real outcomes of this strategy: the growing numbers of family members here and in Afghanistan mourning for lost loved ones, more families torn apart, and children crying for their parents’ return.

The only surge that we should be seeing now is an immediate surge of troops homeward — with U.S. troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq being brought home quickly and safely.  Once home, our troops must receive the care they need to begin healing from physical and psychological injuries of war which have been heightened by their multiple and extended deployments.

With the Commander in Chief now having embarked on a very wrong course of action in Afghanistan, it is incumbent upon Congress to support our troops by refusing to fund the continuation and escalation of this war, and the death and destruction it will bring.  It is past time for Congress to use their “power of the purse” to bring all of our troops home now.

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