The war in Afghanistan is "going to be much tougher than Iraq," according to Richard Holbrooke, the State Department's special envoy. Tougher than Iraq? Does that mean the Afghanistan war will last another six years or more? Will the death toll be worse than 4,200 soldiers and over 100,000 civilians killed? And will Afghanistan cost more than the $3 trillion our country will have spent on Iraq when all is said and done?
The time has come to Rethink Afghanistan, and one of the best ways we can is through Congressional oversight hearings. These deliberative hearings are fundamental to raising critical questions, examining the Pentagon's plans, and investigating military spending before this war spirals out of control. Historically, oversight hearings have played a major role in our system of checks and balances in wartime, except during the Bush administration.
In the past, you helped Uncovered: The War on Iraq penetrate the national consciousness, compelling people to examine the reasons for war. Thousands of you screened and distributed Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers, which caused war profiteering to become a national concern. Now we need your help demanding Congressional oversight hearings to Rethink Afghanistan. Sign the petition and urge Senator John Kerry and Representative Howard Berman to hold oversight hearings immediately. Then, watch the introductory video and send it around, alerting people to the urgency of this situation and the need for hearings.
Congressional hearings, coupled with vigorous public debate, would allow experts in the field to raise key questions that must be answered. To that end, we are launching a series of online debates featuring prominent thinkers and progressives.
Watch political activist Tom Hayden debate whether we need more troops with Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution. See bloggers David Atkins of Daily Kos and The Seminal's Jason Rosenbaum debate whether escalation would hurt President Obama's domestic agenda. And don't miss Jon Rainwater from Peace Action West and Brookings' Jeremy Shapiro as they weigh in on whether military action will reduce the risk of terrorism in the United States.
The issues raised in these debates could serve as topics for Congressional oversight hearings that re-examine our country's approach toward Afghanistan. We look forward to more debates; to producing several videos that look at troops, costs, and military objectives; and to collaborating with the bloggers who have been writing about these issues at Get Afghanistan Right. Let's work together to inform the public and ask the pressing questions our elected leaders must answer. Let's do everything possible to rethink Afghanistan while there's still time.