By Tom Hayden
May 16, 2012
As a candidate opposing the Iraq War, Barack Obama improved his hawkish credentials by promising to track down Osama bin Laden, expand drone attacks, and escalate the American troop numbers in Afghanistan. Three years later, bin Laden is dead, the drones inflame Pakistan opinion and complicate a peace settlement, and 33,000 American troops are scheduled to pull out by the end of 2012 with “steady withdrawals” to continue after. Sixty-eight thousand U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan by this year’s end, with the deadline for withdrawing most of them by December 2014.
But if Obama campaigns on ending the Iraq War and “winding down” Afghanistan, it will only accelerate the march to the exits. No one wants to be the last American soldier to die, or the last Western country to suffer casualties, in an unwinnable, unaffordable war that Americans do not much care about.
Tom Hayden has a 50 year career as a peace and justice activist, politician, and author. He has been a leading voice for ending the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. He will be speaking on the Friday May 18 evening plenary at the Counter-Summit for Peace & Economic Justice in Chicago.