AFT 2010 National Convention Resolution on the War in Afghanistan


Adopted by the AFT National Convention
July 11, 2010

Whereas, while the war in Afghanistan was begun in response to the murderous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it has been pursued for nine years with an unsuccessful military strategy of counterinsurgency that has failed to produce political stability, accomplished far too little for economic reconstruction of the country, and led to the revival of the Taliban, and

Whereas after nine years the threat from Al-Qaeda has not been eliminated, although it is diminished, as Al-Qaeda has almost completely left Afghanistan and yet continues to operate from Pakistan, the Arabian Peninsula, and elsewhere, and

Whereas the purely military pursuit of counterterrorism can create many more terrorists than it kills, and

Whereas the war in Afghanistan has drawn the U.S. into a long-term engagement with the corrupt government of Hamid Karzai, which – according to credible international observers – stole the last national election, and

Whereas the rights of women, of ethnic minorities, and of labor continue to be under assault in Afghanistan, from inside the Karzai government as well as from the Taliban, and

Whereas U.S. standing in the world will benefit from the exercise of more wisdom rather than more raw power, and

Whereas military spending creates many fewer jobs than the same amount spent on infrastructure and other domestic needs (Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier, “The Wages of Peace,” The Nation, March 31, 2008), and

Whereas the $100 billion to be spent in Afghanistan this year, and the hundreds of billions of dollars required in coming years for counterinsurgency there, are desperately needed for urgent domestic social purposes, not least education, health care for all, housing relief in the foreclosure crisis, full veterans benefits, and the creation of millions of jobs; therefore, be it

Resolved that the American Federation of Teachers opposes any further escalation of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, and calls 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 be it further

Resolved that the AFT calls for emphasis on diplomatic measures to enlist the broadest coalition of nations and organizations in the isolation, capture, and bringing to justice of those who engage in terrorist actions against the United States and other nations, and the defeat of terrorist conspiracies and networks through appropriate lawful police, intelligence, and financial means, with the limited, careful, and precise use of armed force, and be it further

Resolved that the AFT calls for the reallocation of the funds that would otherwise be directed to the war in Afghanistan for job creation, education, health care, and other urgently needed social programs for working people in this country, and to expenditures for infrastructure and social development for the Afghani people to facilitate not only peace but peace with justice, and be it further

Resolved that AFT continues to call for full support for returning troops, including but not limited to adequate health care (both mental and physical health), job training, placement in jobs paying a living wage, and access to education and student financial aid, and be in further

Resolved that the AFT undertake an educational campaign on these issues among its membership and seek to involve members in the political tasks necessary to implement this resolution in public policy, and be it further

Resolved that the AFT leadership communicate this resolution to members of Congress and the Obama Administration, and our affiliates, with a request that they act accordingly.