President Obama needs to be convinced to “shift his political calculus” and campaign in 2012 “on a platform of ending the war in Afghanistan,” Rep. Barbara Lee told representatives of several peace organizations in a conference call on Dec. 10.
Lee vowed to re-introduce legislation to end military funding for Afghanistan, except to pay for a “responsible withdrawal”, in the current Congressional session. President Obama has previously said he expects calls for an exit strategy to come from the Hill. But with Republicans in control of the House, prospects have dimmed for anti-war floor debate and amendments to curb the wars, though Lee speculated that some Tea Party Republicans might oppose the war on deficit-reduction grounds, and that the new Republican leadership might allow Democratic differences with the president to be aired.
Where legislation is smothered by Republicans, she supports releasing Congressional letters signed by 50-100 representatives as policy issues arise concerning Afghanistan. Obama has promised to “begin” withdrawals this July, but has offered no specifics as to the numbers thus far. He is committed to withdrawing all remaining troops from Iraq in December, but faces pressure to maintain a force of 30-50,000 there.
Lee committed herself to joining others in campaigning against the war in congressional districts around the country.
Tom Hayden is the author of 17 books, a former California state senator and a longtime peace activist.
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