Statement by the Socialist Party USA, National Action Committee March 13, 2012
The bloody US occupation of Afghanistan reached a new low as a 38 year old US Army Staff Sergeant embarked on a killing spree that resulted in 16 civilian deaths. Most of the victims were children, all were unarmed and many were not only shot and stabbed, but burned alive. The solider had already done three tours in Iraq and had suffered a traumatic brain injury. Despite this, the US military certified him as a sniper and shipped him out to join the occupying forces in Afghanistan – another tool in their killing machine. So while Pentagon spinsters play off the attack as the action of one “troubled individual” with “family problems,” Afghan civilians see it for what it is – another illustration of the violence of an occupying army.
The killings come on the heels of mass protests in the capital of Kabul and other cities over the burning of the Koran by the US military. This, along with the videos of American soldiers urinating on dead Afghans has fueled the mass anger that was released in street protests and increased insurgent activity. Afghan civilians have now spent more than a decade living under the military occupation of NATO forces led by the US government. This means restrictions on civil rights, death by drone bombing and a seemingly endless series of military offensives by NATO forces.
American elections have provided no relief to them as Barack Obama has proved to be every bit the war President that George W. Bush was. Scandals about private mercenaries have done little to relieve the oppression. And even the massive financial crisis that has gripped the Western world has done nothing to weaken the will of the global militarists to rule over Afghanistan. Deeply politically entrenched military weapons makers and military service company lobbyists have made common cause with war hawks in the Pentagon to ensure that the military occupations continue despite budget cutbacks elsewhere.
Only a globally coordinated anti-war movement that connects people in NATO countries with Afghan civilian groups can drive out the occupiers. This movement will not be made by governments or NGOs or by social media outlets. It can only come to life as a result of the determined resistance of everyday people who are willing to put their bodies on the line in the name of peace.
Instead of such a movement, Afghans have faced a series of betrayals by the West. Under the guise of supporting democracy in Afghanistan, the US installed Hamid Karzai as the puppet President of the country. Not surprisingly, the Karzai government has proven to be a deeply corrupt and oppressive regime that aims at securing privileges for a close circle of friends while obeying the orders of the occupiers. This has resulted in mass discontent in the population and the resurgence of support for Taliban resistance forces. It is a cruel twist for Afghan civilians that Western Occupation has provided a new future for Taliban fundamentalism.
The recent acts of the Occupiers, especially the Koran burnings and the massacre of innocent civilians, demonstrate that this bloody occupation must end immediately. Americans have a global responsibility to participate in a movement to remove US troops immediately. This is a desperate short-term goal for the global anti-war movement that has resonated throughout the various Occupy Wall Street movements. In the longer term though, we need more than this. Our movement needs a sustained push to put an end to the Military Industrial Complex.
Many people ask Socialist Party USA members why we are running a candidate for President this year. The killings in Afghanistan provided a clear answer to this question. Stewart Alexander and Alex Mendoza carry a clear message of anti-militarism with them on the campaign trail. The peace initiative they propose is one that can resonate throughout the globe. An immediate 50% cut to the military budget, the removal of US occupying troops, the elimination of all foreign military bases and the responsible elimination of weapons of mass destruction set the Socialist Party USA apart from the Democrat and Republican parties of war.
This is not about a “disturbed” 38 year staff sergeant or about building democracy in Afghanistan or about weakening the grip of the Taliban. Democratic Socialism is about building a peaceful world that puts an end to one of the greatest threats to human security in the 21st century – the US military. Our democratic revolution is built upon the hopes and aspirations of millions of people throughout the world to live a life based on peace, solidarity and freedom. The immediate removal of US troops from Afghanistan and a moratorium on drone bombings are small steps in that direction. Only democratic pressure from below can make this happen.