Progressive Revival

Progressive Revival

Dear President Obama: Stop the War in Afghanistan

I am a loyal supporter of your presidency. I worked hard in the campaign and have never been as proud of my country as I was when we elected you.  I’m writing to ask you to find another way ahead in Afghanistan. I wrote a similar letter to President Bush when he was preparing for war in Iraq.

I believe now, as you and I both did then, that war is not the answer. Violence breeds violence, and as Dr. King said, you can murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. As the apostle Paul said, evil must be overcome with good, which means that violence and hate must be overcome with justice and love, not more of the same.

Obviously, you know things the rest of us don’t know. And you have pressures and responsibilities the rest of us don’t have. But we have based our lives on the moral principles that guided leaders like Dr. King, Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela. We share a profound faith in a loving, non-violent God. We share a commitment to live in the way of Jesus the peacemaker. That’s why escalation is not a change we can believe in.

I don’t argue for leaving Afghanistan high and dry as we’ve done too often in the past. Evil can’t be overcome by passivity or abdication, but only by positive good and creative action. In that spirit, I offer this humble proposal:

1. Take the 65 billion we would have spent there in the coming year and turn it into an aid and development fund. If you want to go farther, you could put a value on the cost of American lives that would be lost there (I have no idea how this inestimable cost could be calculated), and add that sum to the fund. 65 billion could build a lot of peace-oriented schools and hospitals in Afghanistan. It could serve as start-up capital for a lot of new businesses and it could pave a lot of roads. It could train a lot of police officers and it could enhance a lot of social infrastructure. It could give hope to a lot of women and girls who currently don’t have much hope, and it could provide a lot of constructive outlets for men and boys who right now don’t have many options besides picking up a machine gun and joining a warlord.

2. Other nations might contribute to this fund as well, and the fund could be extended into the future based on the number of years our military would have been engaged in Afghanistan. The fund could be administered by the US, or better (in the spirit of international cooperation), an IAEC-like agency could be created, subsidiary to the United Nations, to monitor progress in Afghanistan.

3. Then a set of benchmarks could be set, and the money could be released for development in Afghanistan as the nation reached appropriate benchmarks. This fund would be an enticement to mobilize public opinion in the direction of peace and justice, as people would know that their lives could be substantially improved if their factionalized leaders would start collaborating nonviolently for the common good.

4. With this kind of approach, the people of Afghanistan (and Pakistan) would have two clear choices. Al Queda and other extremists offer violence and unrest. But the international community would be offering support for order, rebuilding, collaboration, justice, and peace. This choice is a much clearer and better one than the choice between two groups of leaders who both depend on violence to achieve their aims.

5. Conservatives could support this kind of approach because it emphasizes personal choice and responsibility among the Afghan people. It would come alongside them in their own nation-building efforts at their own best pace, rather than trying to impose our own nation-building on them at a pace we determine. Progressives could support this approach because it changes the role of the US in the global neighborhood – from reactive bully or intentional dominator to responsible neighbor and partner for the common good.

Mr. President, you have my respect and my prayers at this important time. I believe you have the intelligence and insight to find a creative way to use a new kind of force in the world … something far more powerful than bombs, guns, and bullets: the generative force of creativity, of justice, of collaboration, and yes, of hope. Can we find a new and better way to help Afghanistan rise out of chaos and complicity with Al Queda? You know the answer many of us will shout and chant: yes, we can.

With respect and hope,
A citizen

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posted October 14, 2009 at 9:45 pm


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posted October 14, 2009 at 10:36 pm

No, the perpetrators of 9/11 must not be allowed to win.

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posted October 15, 2009 at 9:43 am

The British, the Soviets, and now the Amerians/Nato enter the darkness of Afganistan. It is hard for a government to admit a failed policy and the support of corrupt leaders of an Afgan government. What will the opposition say about being weak on terrorism? What will the American voters say in voting for Congressional seats next year? How do we justify billions of dollars spent without much success in defeating the Taliban or Al Quaeda? Does President Obama want to be a one term president because he was not “macho” enough in Afganistan? All the questions except how do we incarnate God’s justice in this situation?

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posted October 15, 2009 at 4:13 pm

And Iraq, Palestine and everywher else Muslims wage war on non Muslims.

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posted October 15, 2009 at 4:21 pm

“We share a profound faith in a loving, non-violent God. We share a commitment to live in the way of Jesus the peacemaker. That’s why escalation is not a change we can believe in.”
– Brian McLaren
No you don’t. Progressives desire to live in comfy city dwellings and write and talk about worldwide peace.
Now, the commitment shared by the Apostles OF Jesus, was to GO OUT into those violent places and preach and live out peace.
When can we expect you and your fellow Progressive Revivalists to arrive in Afghanistan to preach your faith of peace to the Taliban and Al Q boys?
I’d actually join you in that.
We’ll show the world what real martyrdom is all about. Not the blow up your neighbor and yourself kind.
When we leaving?

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Brian Griffith

posted October 15, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Canada also has troops in Afghanistan, and I’m increasingly worried by the whole notion of sending our young people as military guards in a foreign land, where they don’t even speak the language. What if the shoe was on the other foot? What if foreign military contractors from, say, the Ukraine, were hired to control criminal elements in Canada? What if we found young soldiers with machine guns, who spoke no English, patrolling our streets and watching for danger in a strange land? What if we had foreign helicopters overhead, looking out for criminal targets in the streets below?

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posted October 15, 2009 at 4:23 pm

My email is

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Brian Griffith

posted October 15, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Dear Mere_Christian,
I’m afraid that if you went to Afghanistan, the people there would experience your contempt for their culture and faith, along with your presumption of superiority.

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posted October 15, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Brian G.,
They would experience my tears and my guitar. And the Gospel the way the Apostles brought it to us all.
My “contempt” is for hypocrites and heretics on the Left of American socialism that try to claim they are Christians. But that for another time.

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Brian Griffith

posted October 15, 2009 at 9:23 pm

Dear Mere_Christian,
Your own statements about Muslims show utter contempt for them. I suspect you presume that you have nothing to learn from them, and they have everything to learn from you. Have you tried going to an American mosque to teach them proper religion?

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posted October 16, 2009 at 9:48 pm

I’d get a does of the Mid-east no doubt.
BTW, where am I wrong?

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Brian Griffith

posted October 17, 2009 at 11:32 am

Hi Mere_Christian,
If a missionary Muslim accosted you, presumed that you personally stand for all the wrongs ever done in Christian or American history, and urged you to repent from such sins by realizing the stupidity of your civilization, maybe you’d take him for an ignorant fool?
But concerning Afghanistan, why is it that in North America we deal with religious fanatics who want a theocratic state by debating with them, or calling the police and courts to deal with any who commit crimes? But in Afghanistan and other foreign countries, we send our army and air force to kill them?

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posted October 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Is killing murderers where they sleep a bad thing? Or killing them when they are awake with a gun in the hand and shooting it at unarmed people, a bad thing?

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Bria Griffith

posted October 18, 2009 at 10:57 am

Dear Mere-Christian,
Maybe you feel confident that the troops are shooting the right people in the head where they sleep. But in my country we require trials of criminal suspects rather than just killing them first.
The presumption of collective guilt on whole groups or nations amazes me. We invaded Afghanistan, bombed the country heavily, and overthrew the government, on an assumption of collective guilt. When asked about the suspect Osama bin Laden, the Afghan authorities said they didn’t know where he was. We were then informed that the Afghans “refused to hand over Osama bin Laden.” So we invaded their country, and sure enough Osama couldn’t be found. Does this sound almost exactly like what happened in the invasion of Iraq?
Basically, I’m opposed to fighting crime by calling in the air force. It’s too much like responding to Mafia crimes by bombing the Italian side of town. Also, in fighting the Mafia, do we need to invade countries where the Mafia seems to operate?

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Ayad Gharbawi

posted October 18, 2009 at 12:38 pm

America should understand that Taliban are NOT the enemy! They are an organization that, along with other warlords, are each seeking power to control Afghanistan. Taliban’s only mistake was that they did harbour bin Laden & they paid the price for that. Taliban do not seek to invade other countries or to export their revolution. Obama must talk to them; tell them, the US leaves if you make sure you kick out Al Qaeda. Taliban do not need Al Qaeda; they will agree to such demands and that in turn will allow the US to leave Afghanistan and let the winner win in that game’s power-struggle. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda can and will flit off to some other failed state. Remember: Afghanistan is NOT a nation & therefore there can be no peace or reconstruction there. They simply do not have any infrastructure for any modern nation. Afghans will for our near future live within a tribal based government. Ayad Gharbawi

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posted October 19, 2009 at 2:03 am

I hate to tell you, but we will be involved in some type of war, until you know who comes back. Jesus said in the last days there will be wars and rumors of wars. There is fighting all over the world and the truth is most of the wars have something to do with people claiming to be Islamic. Think about it…take America out of world conflict and imagine what kind of world we would have. I hate war, but throughout world history man’s fallen nature usually wins out when it comes to conflict. I believe that we are getting closer and closer to Armedgedon. Look at the world picture and connect the dots. President Obama or nobody else will be able to keep America from wars.

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Brian Griffith

posted October 19, 2009 at 7:00 am

Thanks Kingskid,
I was aware there’s violence in the world. We’ve had criminal organizations fighting for radical political agendas in Ireland, Spain, Colombia, India, etc. And criminal organizations are better dealt with by police and courts than by unleashing the army and air force. We would not fight crime that way in our own country, because we generally believe that law enforcement should not endanger the surrounding community, and a rule of law means that criminal suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty. I think we should stick to our principles in tracking down the gang members of al Qaeda, the Mafia, etc. It sure beats trying to catch criminals by invading the countries we think they’re hiding in.

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posted October 21, 2009 at 4:35 pm

I don’t really understand why people are killing each other???! Why when someone, who obviously has mental problems, start killing people, we are not trying to find him, to put him on trial and actually do something about it; but rather than that we start a war, we start killing other people, innocent people, people with families, with their own life, their own worries, people like us. What if an American guy go somewhere in a foreign country and start exterminating people, without any reason and after that just disappear. What if that country do the same thing that USA did, start a war, what if they start a war against the country that this guy came from; and they are killing millions of innocent people, what is that going to be – a revenge?! To whom? That’s not the way, it never has been! I know that the war as a whole is a really profitable business, but is this more important than human life? Is it more important than your life, or mine, or that of a stray dog if you want?! I would say NO, because no one has the right to decide who diserves to live and who does not. There many different ways to protect your country and war is not one of them. As stated in the article “evil must be overcome with good”, and we can do something about it even if you start from one little thing it will grow into something bigger. Stop the war. Save lives.

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David King

posted October 22, 2009 at 9:46 am

There is no reason that the war in Afghanistan should go on! the money that we are spending on this war would help this economic crisis we are now in. and with the money we could start to rebuild the economy.

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posted September 6, 2011 at 4:34 am

The Saddest Country in the world is the United States Of America changing the laws of its forefathers and constitution This in its self is a crime Creating a cause such as 9/11 and Effect going to war when there is no need as the world has plainly been lied to without Treason being carried out they are un-touchable.
USA Politicians Make money from War and there have been very time gone by that The USA is not at war with someone. They are in deep Debt and still continue to lie to the public about their underhanded motives that are Money oriented like the famous names that keep popping up Like Cheney and Rumsfeld and all their cronies they have got into a position of power. I am baffled as to the WMD’s they said they had but did not have and all the innocent people killed and the Horrid Murder of their own people on US Soil such as the attack on its own people openly 9/11 So Called Attack which footage etc has still not been released the only reason for this is they are hiding what they did cause if was true they would throw it at the people to make them angry and want to go to war But its all Lies and Wikileaks is proving this beyond doubt So Americans should chuck out the Government with clearly its own agenda should be sentenced to Treason No Person in the Pentagon has Ever been charged with Treason and they should be held accountable for their worse than Nazi actions So Sad and a feeling of great disappointment of THE CORRUPT USA in the eyes of the world they can do anything and Not Be Stopped as they always have a false excuse or a no comment as in National Security Many Doco’s are uncovering what crimes have been committed against humanity and NOTHING is done to the main Perpetrators who are Untouchable, I dont know how they can sleep at night or why they are not assassinated. Time for a New Level Headed Government and throw out the Corrupt and place them in Jail or Guantanimo which in itself illegal Jail not in America. My heart goes out to the poor soldiers that are used as pawns in this huge game of American Power and financial cost to which all Americans are paying for via taxes etc: Heads should Roll when they are proved to be lying to the people for Money and ego trips they undertake.

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