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How to Help Afghans When Congress Approves $100 Billion More in War

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$100 billion more in wartime spending. That's what Congress is hellbent on approving despite valiant efforts from a growing number of Progressives led by FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher to derail this legislation's passage in the House. $100 billion, and for what? To bring more troops to Afghanistan without an exit strategy? To further US foreign policy that fails to address the humanitarian needs of the world's third poorest country? To escalate military operations that directly result in Afghan civilian casualties?

Recently, Anand Gopal, who has been covering the war in Afghanistan for The Christian Science Monitor, dispelled the myths about troop escalation at the America's Future Now Conference in Washington, DC. The reality, Gopal grimly assessed, is that more troops will mean more incidents of violence. More troops will also mean the need for more airstikes, which, as you can see in the sobering trailer for part four of Rethink Afghanistan, will mean more civilian casualties.

Gopal's logic follows that of the Carnegie Endowment's Gilles Dorronsoro, who has said for months that the increased presence of US forces in Afghanistan is the single greatest reason for the Taliban insurgency. And the more they surge, the more Congress will fund more war. To see exactly how US foreign policy is perpetuating this cycle of violence, read Ralph Lopez's recent blog post and watch the accompanying al Jazeera video. Taliban extremists are using US airstrikes as a recruiting tool, preying upon the survivors, particularly children, who have lost everything in these bombings and suddenly have a chance to act upon their hatred toward the United States.

Fortunately, there are ways to take immediate action and address Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis. Please provide aid through Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). On their website, you can decide whether you want your contribution to go toward health care, education, emergency relief, or raising awareness for Afghan women and children in need. Here's how Gopal explained to me the amazing work RAWA has been doing, often in secret due to the ever-present threat of violence:

RAWA has been one of the strongest independent voices in Afghanistan for decades. They have fought for women's rights in the face of tremendous obstacles--widespread misogyny, warlordism, and war. In particular, they have been calling attention to the devastating effects of war, such as civilian casualties, ever since the current war began in 2001.
They run a series of secret orphanages and schools--secret because RAWA cannot operate openly in Afghanistan's current political climate--where they teach children human rights and about women's equality. Some of the children in these schools are orphaned because of US airstrikes, others because of the various wars of the past.
There's no question that this week's fight over the supplemental has revealed the emergence of a powerful Progressive block, one that could spark a new kind of antiwar movement fought by bloggers inciting the masses to protest online rather than in person. While that block battles members of Congress and the White House who continue to support this war, let's make sure we're also taking action on the ground in Afghanistan. Please contribute to RAWA today.