We broadcast from Chicago, site of the largest NATO summit in the organization’s six-decade history. On Sunday, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as members of Afghans for Peace, led a peace march of thousands of people. Iraq Veterans Against the War held a ceremony where nearly 50 veterans discarded their war medals by hurling them down the street in the direction of the NATO summit. We hear the soldiers’ voices as they return their medals one by one from the stage. “I’m here to return my Global War on Terror Service Medal in solidarity with the people of Iraq and the people of Afghanistan,” said Jason Hurd, a former combat medic who spent 10 years in the U.S. Army. “I am deeply sorry for the destruction that we have caused in those countries and around the globe.” [includes rush transcript]
Speech by Meredith Aby, Anti-War Committee member, at the NATO protest of over 15,000 people on May 20, 2012 in Chicago.
As the token Minnesotan speaking from the stage today I’d like to give a shout out to all the Minnesotans at the rally and all the out of staters!
The FBI came after many of us in the Minneapolis anti-war movement because we were the main organizers of the last big anti-war protest in this country – the RNC 2008. They raided my home and have tried to criminalize solidarity to Palestine and Colombia.
Well, they haven’t silenced us, or Carlos Montes, or any of you. Instead, they’ve made it all too clear how important our work is. And here we all are. We remain committed to opposing the wars of the US and NATO, and to supporting the struggles of oppressed people around the world.
We must be here so we can march to the NATO Summit. The people of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, and Iran should not be in the crosshairs of NATO. NATO should not get to decide whether the people of the world die or suffer under occupation.
We must be here. This is an undemocratic and secretive meeting and the only way we get a voice is in the streets. We have raise our voices at McCormick Place so they will hear our opposition to war and greed!
We must be here to stand with our sisters and brothers from across the US and the world to say we oppose NATO’s wars for the 1%.
From Afghanistan to the Middle East, we demand justice, we demand peace!
Posted on May 21, 2012 by FightBack! News
By Tom Burke
Chicago, IL – In the largest anti-war protest ever held in Chicago, 15,000 people took to the streets marching against the NATO military summit. Inside McCormick Convention Center, politicians, generals and bankers discussed the faltering U.S./NATO war and occupation in Afghanistan. They also forged agreements that set the stage for destabilizing and overthrowing independent governments in places like Syria and Iran.
Outside, in the streets of Chicago’s South Loop however, waves of protesters marched in contingents with a message against NATO and G8, opposing war and poverty. Protesters were chanting and singing, surrounded by police on all sides. They were in high spirits and feeling their power, knowing their message of opposing war and poverty was reaching across the world to people suffering from NATO wars and occupations.
The day began with music and poetry at Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park, a park famous for 1960s protests against the U.S. war in Vietnam. Rebel Diaz, Tom Morello, David Rovics and hip-hop poets performed, with an appearance by the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). As the crowd began to grow, many taking shelter in the shade of nearby trees, protesters listened to speakers from scores of groups and movements that built for the protest against NATO.
The audience listened closely when Chicano leader and anti-war activist Carlos Montes took the stage. Members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) held a big banner reading “Justice for Carlos Montes” behind him. Montes said, “I am here in solidarity with you today, despite being on trial in Los Angeles as part of an FBI frame up. I am being persecuted because of my anti-war, immigrant rights and labor activism. I organized protests against the U.S. War in Vietnam in the ‘60s and I organize against NATO and the U.S. war in Afghanistan today. We were in solidarity with and inspired by the people of Vietnam in their struggle against U.S. imperialism and we act in solidarity with the struggles of the people of Colombia, the Philippines and Mexico today. I call for the U.S. out of Afghanistan and to no U.S. or NATO intervention in Syria and Iran.”
Hatem Abudayyeh, a Palestinian-American, who is one of 23 Midwest anti-war activists subpoenaed to a grand jury investigation and had his home raided by the FBI because of his solidarity work, also spoke: “We are organizing toward the day when Palestine will be a free and sovereign nation, with the right to return for refugees. We call for an end to U.S. aid to Israel and for people here to join us in demanding Palestinian liberation!” A big roar went up from the entire crowd.
Meredith Aby from the Minneapolis Anti-War Committee spoke about the need to get NATO out of Afghanistan and prevent future U.S. wars for oil and Empire. Aby is also one of the 23 who the FBI raided and she asserted, “Being anti-war is not a crime!’
The Reverend Jesse Jackson, from Chicago’s Operation PUSH and a former presidential candidate, called for an end to spending billions on war. He demanded the money be used to fund social services and end poverty. Jackson educated the crowd about poverty in this country, often portrayed in the media as only affecting African-Americans and other oppressed peoples. Reverend Jackson said, “The largest single category of poor people is white women who are single parents with children.” Reverend Jackson used the African-American call and response tradition in his speech, much to the amazement of Occupy Wall Street activists who use a similar technique.
All in all there were more than 40 speakers from students, labor, immigrant rights, war veteran, environmental, housing and healthcare groups. Speakers included Leah Bolger, the President of Vets for Peace, Larry Holmes of the International Action Center and Lisa Grab with Students for a Democratic Society. Many were interested to hear from the Afghan women for peace, and the International League of People’s Struggle representing many international movements for freedom.
There were dozens of international guests who came to the protest, particularly anti-NATO organizations from European NATO countries. The importance of this is not to be underestimated, as NATO is fragile and some countries have already pulled troops out of Afghanistan.
The afternoon march began with a group of Afghan women for peace joined by a large contingent of Iraq and Afghan war veterans marching together. The Coalition Against NATO and G8 (CANG8), the organizers of the march, held the lead banner, with the United National Antiwar Coalition F(UNAC) as a part of that.
A river of protesters stretched across four lanes of traffic and for nearly a mile on Michigan Avenue. Onlookers and whole families came out on apartment balconies and onto sidewalks to film and take photos.
When the march came to within a few blocks of McCormick Place, it was time for the war veterans to take command. In one of the most moving moments of any anti-war protest in a generation, U.S. military veterans made declarations against U.S. and NATO wars and occupations, throwing their medals off the stage and into the street. One war veteran describing his combat experience began choking back tears and saying, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” to which thousands in the streets began chanting, “It’s not your fault! It’s not your fault!”
Other veterans gave impassioned speeches against wars for oil and U.S. imperialism, denouncing the 1% and the U.S. government, while throwing their combat service awards and other medals as far as possible down the street towards the NATO summit. Jacob Flom of IVAW dedicated his medals to Carlos Montes and the Anti-War 23.
The Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) ended the day with an announcement for people to exit to the west, taking note that there was a tremendous build-up of police in riot gear and military-type uniforms. The official show of force was intimidating to people and clearly planned and funded months ahead of time.
The crowds of protesters were so large, however, that it appeared impossible for everyone to exit in time for the end of the permitted Veterans rally. It soon became a scene of police encircling and pushing and shoving a much smaller crowd of people, some who responded in kind and were beaten and arrested. Others were simply singled out for arrest or beaten at random, including a few journalists. The big business media took up this story and these images to attempt to quickly bury the largest and most successful anti-war protest ever held in the city of Chicago.
While the greatest purveyors of violence in the world were meeting inside the NATO summit, the anti-war protesters outside sent a message heard round the world: “Say no to NATO! Troops out now!”
Posted on May 16, 2012 by The Star Tribune
About 100 antiwar protesters wiil be climbing on buses in Minneapolis on Saturday night and heading to Chicago to participate in a large march on Sunday to express opposition to NATO which is holding a summit meeting there next week. Chicago authorities say the demonstrations in the coming week could be massive and police are girding up for what they say could be major confrontations.
Local protesters say they plan to participate in a peaceful, legal march, for which parade permits have been obtained, Thousands of demonstratiors are expected to descend on Chicago from the midwest and the east coast. “Chicago police, who have a reputation for dealing toughly with protesters, will be prepared for the worst,” Reuters reports.
Representatives from 50 countries and many world leaders are expected to attend the NATO summit.
Sarah Martin, a member of the board of Women Against Military Madness in Minneapolis, said the local buses are sponsored by her group and the locally based Anti-War Committee. “Many other people are driving themselves,” said Coleen Rowley, the former FBI agent and whistleblower, who became active in the antiwar movement after her retirement. Rowley will be one of the speakers at a Friday news conference to talk about about the participation of Twin Cities activists in the Chicago protest.
There is some talk among law enforcement authorities that demonstrations in Chicago could become a repeat of the1999 protest in Seattle in which there were major confrontations during demonstrations over an international meeting of the World Trade Organization.
Martin, however, said local protesters going by bus are not intending to get arrested. They will climb aboard buses at 10 p.m. on Saturday at St. Joan of Arc Church in Minneapolis and then get back on the buses for their return trip at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, she said.
Martin said the purpose of the demonstration is “to voice our opposition to NATO, the war in Afghanistan, the bombing in Libya and talk of the missile shield” in Europe. Asked about President Obama’s announced plans to withdraw from Afghanistan, Martin said, “We want to make sure they get out sooner rather than later.” Rowley said NATO should been disbanded when the Cold War ended. She contends it went from “a defensive alliance to wars of aggression,” such as the NATO intervention in Libya.
Not everyone is pleased by the protesters’ plans. ”Protesters, anarchists, rogues, and dunces will descend on Chicago from all over the globe this week,” writes Peter Bella, a retired Chicago police officer, in the Washington Times. “They will create mayhem, consternation and enormous inconvenience in celebration of the NATO summit that will be held here this weekend.”
For release: Friday, May 18, 2012
Minnesotans going to protest at NATO summit in Chicago to hold news conference:
Friday, May 18 at 3:00 pm
Cultural performers at the protest will include Tom Morello and Rebel Diaz, as well as the Anti-Eviction Campaign and Southside Together Organized for Power performers Fearless Leading by the Youth; Frank Mu and Mic Terrist.
The speakers list includes;
Rev. Jesse Jackson – Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Ann Wright – retired colonel, US Army
Armando Robles – United Electrical workers
Carlos Montes – Committee to Stop FBI Repression
Chicago Teachers Union
Hatem Abudayyeh – U.S. Palestinian Community Network
Inge Höger – Member of European Parliament
Iraq Veterans Against the War
Jean Ross – National Nurses United
Kathy Kelly – Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Malik Mujahid – Muslim Peace Coalition
Medea Benjamin – Code Pink
Mumia Abu Jamal
Vijay Prashad – author
Abayomi Azikiwe – Pan African News Wire
Ahmed Shawki – Egypt Solidarity Campaign
Alison Bodine – Mobilization Against War and Occupation, Vancouver
Angela Walker – Amalgamated Transit Union
Bernadette Ellorin – BAYAN
Bruce Dixon – Black Agenda Report
Chris Gavreau – United National Antiwar Coalition
Coalition to March on the RNC
Crystal Vance Guerra – Occupy El Barrio
Dave Schneider – Students for a Democratic Society
Gay Liberation Network
Jes Cook – UIC Graduate Employees Organization
Kari Fulton – Environmental Justice Network
Kathleen Desautels – 8th Day Center for Justice
Larry Holmes – International Action Center, NYC
Leah Bolger – Vets for Peace
Luis Gutierrez-Esparza – No to War-No to NATO, Mexico
Malalai Joya – former member of Afghan parliament
Maria Pizarro – immigrant rights activist
Martin Unzueta – Chicago Community and Workers Rights
Meredith Aby – Twin Cities Anti-War Committee
Michelle Morales – National Boricua Human Rights Network
N’Dana Carter – Southside Together Organizing for Power
Newland Smith – Interfaith Committee CANG8
Reiner Braun – No to War-No to NATO, Germany
Rick Rozoff – Stop NATO
Said Umar Khan – Pakistan Federation of America
Sarah Finkl – Pilsen Environmental Rights & Reform Organization
Stan Willis- National Coalition of Black Lawyers
Tania Unzueta – Immigrant Youth Justice League
Zoe Sigman – Occupy Chicago
The emcees will include:
Andy Thayer – Chicago Coalition Against War & Racism
Gihad Ali – US Palestinian Community Network
Joe Iosbaker – United National Antiwar Coalition
Joe Lombardo – United National Antiwar Coalition
Keeanga Taylor – Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign
Pat Hunt – Chicago Area Code Pink
Posted on May 13, 2012 by FightBack! News
Minneapolis, MN – This coming weekend, Minnesotans will fill two buses headed for Chicago to participate in an anti-war march and rally outside the NATO summit meeting on Sunday, May 20.
The NATO summit is set for May 20-21 in Chicago.
The Chicago anti-war protest will greet the NATO summit meeting with a call to end the U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan and to call for funds for human needs, not war.
A main topic of the meetings of the NATO summit will be the war in Afghanistan.
A statement issued by organizers of the Minnesotan delegation to the Chicago protest says in part, “While the NATO leaders look for ways to continue the war and occupation of Afghanistan, thousands of people will be in the streets of Chicago to say ‘get out of Afghanistan now.’”
The buses from Minneapolis will leave at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 19 from the parking lot of Saint Joan of Arc Church, 4537 3rd Avenue S in Minneapolis. The buses will drive through the night to arrive in Chicago in time for the protest.
Meredith Aby of the Anti-War Committee said, “Going on the buses from Minneapolis will be a cross section of Minnesotans, students, working people, low-income families, long time activists and people attending their first major anti-war protest.”
In addition to the people riding the buses, organizers understand that many Minnesotans are planning their own transportation to the Chicago event. “The people on the bus are only a portion of the people from Minnesota who intend on bringing an anti-war message to the door of the NATO summit. People need jobs, education, housing and health care, not billions for war and occupation,” said Steph Taylor of Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Minnesota.
The recent agreement signed by President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, “Is not about ending the war, the agreement actually lays the basis for thousands of U.S. and other foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan until 2024. Despite what the politicians are telling us, U.S. troops are not leaving Afghanistan any time soon unless people demand an end to the war,” said Sarah Martin of Women Against Military Madness.
Martin continued, “Many of the people going to Chicago have been part of the Occupy movement. We understand that NATO is really the armed force of the 1%. NATO conducts wars and interventions, not in the interests of the 99%, but in support of corporate economic and political interests.”
In order to have the march and rally at the NATO summit, anti-war organizers in Chicago and around the country carried out an ongoing campaign of letters, statements and other public pressure to defend the right to protest, including a months-long effort to secure a permit for the May 20 march and rally.
“The Sunday protest is an opportunity for all people to come together and exercise our civil liberties and call for an end to the war and occupation,” said Aby.
In addition to opposing the war in Afghanistan, the protest will speak out against the threat of a new war against Iran.
A wide range of organizations from across the U.S. have endorsed the May 20 anti-war event in Chicago, including peace, anti-war, student, labor as well as many groups started as part of the Occupy movement.
Posted on April 8, 2012 by Fight Back! News
Minneapolis, MN – Speaking to a standing room only crowd at May Day Book Store, April 7, leaders of the Twin Cities anti-war movement denounced NATO as an aggressive alliance of western imperialism and urged listeners to join them at the massive protest planned for the NATO Summit. The protest will coincide the Summit’s opening, May 20.
Presenters included April Knutson of Woman Against Military Madness (WAMM), who spoke on the history of NATO, including its imperialist beginnings; Sarah Martin, also of WAMM, who spoke on the role of NATO in the war on Yugoslavia; Jess Sundin, Anti-War Committee, who talked about NATO’s role in the war on Afghanistan; and Mary Beaudoin of WAMM, who spoke on the new stage of NATO in its war on Libya and its potential new targets, such as Syria.
Beaudoin said, “The two most powerful organizations in the world – one that divides up the wealth and the other the enforcer – roam the world stealing and killing with impunity. Growing ever larger, blazing new trails of death and destruction, they decide who eats and who doesn’t, who lives and who dies. The G8 holds the economic strings. NATO provides the military might to ensure the decisions of the G8 are enforced. Both are spearheaded by the U.S. The two sociopathic entities hide behind lies about humanitarian intervention and the ‘right to protect’ and are sustained by complicit institutional systems worldwide. Profit and power are their gods and anyone and anything, no matter how old or young, ancient or new, sacred or profane can be mowed down in their path.”
Sarah Martin analyzed NATO’s war on Yugoslavia stating, “This brutal bombing campaign aimed to destroy the economy of Yugoslavia by targeting its infrastructure – bridges, factories, power plants, the state TV station and the Chinese embassy. The bombing of Kosovo drove thousands from the country, making them refugees, and was strangely accepted by U.S. and European citizens as a humanitarian intervention. A precedent was set and we – or rather the people of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya – have been living and dying with the consequences ever since.”
Martin continued, “And so on its 50th birthday in 1999 NATO had successfully morphed from an anti-Soviet alliance to the hired guns of the 1% with the U.S. firmly in control. It had grown enormously and there were now bases in Croatia, Bosnia, Hungary and the enormous camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. And Yugoslavia is the gift that keeps on giving and is held up as the shining example of humanitarian intervention. In reality a country was torn apart, people that live in the areas where there was bombing, live with the effects of DU [depleted uranium]. In Kosovo, ethnic cleansing really happened and only a handful of Serbians who live with the threat of harassment from the majority.”
Jess Sundin, of the Anti-War Committee stated, “Afghanistan is a test for the NATO, and especially for the US. If they become the first successful foreign occupiers in the history of Afghanistan, it would be a huge blow not only to the people of Afghanistan, but to all the peace-loving peoples of the world.
“There are some barriers to that success. First and foremost, the people of Afghanistan, who have refused to accept the twin evils of a brutal military occupation and the corrupt puppet government of Hamid Karzai. The Afghan people, like any occupied people, have a right to resist. And resist they have. The incidents I described earlier – the killing of civilians, the dishonoring of the bodies of the dead, the desecration of the Koran – these were each answered with acts of resistance. Afghan people have protested and they have fought back. Their resistance is why U.S. troops are dying in greater numbers every year,” said Sundin.
Sundin also talked about FBI repression that is being directed at anti-war activists and urged support for Carlos Montes, who will soon go on trial in Los Angeles.
The event was organized by the Anti-War Committee, the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition and Women Against Military Madness. For more info on the protest in Chicago go to cang8.org. For more info on the buses from Minneapolis visit antiwarcommittee.org.
Jess Sundin, a member of the Anti-War Committee, gave this speech on NATO’s war and occupation of Afghanistan on Saturday, April 7th at the forum “NATO and the wars and interventions of the 1%”. The forum was organized by the Anti-War Committee, May Day Books, the MN Peace Action Coalition and Women Against Military Madness to educate and motivate Minnesotans to go to Chicago to protest the NATO Summit on May 20th.
NATO Forum: Speech on Afghanistan 4/7/12
The day after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 (known as Operation Enduring Freedom), the Secretary General of NATO publicly stated the Alliance’s support. Two and a half months later, a UN Security Council resolution established the International Security Assistance Force as the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. Initially, NATO was only deployed to the Kabul and surrounding areas; but in October 2003, the Security Council expanded the ISAF mission throughout Afghanistan. At the outset, the NATO and US missions in Afghanistan were separate. However, the operations merged in 2010 (under Gen. David Patraeus), and now under the joint command of US Gen. John Allen.
Today, there are about 130,000 NATO troops stationed in Afghanistan from 50 contributing nations. Of these, about 99,000 are US troops. Britain – the second largest contributor to the operation – has about 9,500 troops in Afghanistan. Although there is talk of withdrawing some US troops before the November elections, 68,000 US troops are set to remain in Afghanistan after the end of 2012.
These troops are engaged in the deadly acts of war.
According to a BBC on March 11, 2012: “British PM David Cameron said that the reason his troops were based in Afghanistan was ‘to prevent the country from being a safe haven to al-Qaeda, from where they might plan attacks on the UK or our allies.’ Most analysts agree that by that yardstick, the NATO operation has been successful. But if improving security for the average Afghan is the criterion by which success is measured, the answer is very different. Civilian deaths in the conflict have risen steadily in recent years.”
Among these deaths are some shocking cases, like the recent report of US Army Sergeant Robert Bales, who broke into the homes of sleeping civilians in Panjwai, slaughtering 17 people, nine of them children, 4 of those girls younger than my own daughter. [US paid $50,000 dollars for each person killed, and &11,000 for everyone injured.]
Before that, there were the 6 children killed by an airstrike in November in Zhare, Afghanistan. And the death squad within the 5th Stryker brigade, where US soldiers killed unarmed civilians for sport, staging fake combat scenes, and taking photos, or even body parts from the dead, as trophies. The ringleader of those premeditated murders, and will be eligible for parole in 10 years. The other guys got off with less.
On top of these murders, we have videos of US marines urinating on dead Afghans, and the burning of the Korans at Baghram Airbase.
On March 14, 2012, the UK Guardian reported: “Last year was a record for civilian deaths in the Afghan war: 3,021 were reported killed by the UN, which blamed NATO and its Afghan allies for 410 of them – though Afghan human rights organizations insist that such tallies heavily understate the numbers killed by foreign troops, whose casualties are said routinely to be blamed on the Taliban or not reported at all. Many civilians are killed in night raids or air attacks, such as the one that incinerated eight shepherd boys aged 6 to 18 in northern Afghanistan last month. Across the border in Pakistan, … drone attacks have killed 2,300, including hundreds of civilians and 175 children – a massacre of another kind …”
Among the dead, we must also count the troop casualties. The vast majority have been from the US: 1929. 407 from the UK, and 158 from Canada, and so on, relative to how many troops various countries have contributed to the NATO operation. Two-thirds of these deaths have been since Obama’s troop surge in 2009.
This deadly reality is not popular.
Several recent polls reveal that most people agree with those of us planning to protest against NATO at the summit in Chicago: A CNN/ORC International survey released last Friday (3/30/12) said that only 25% of Americans support the war in Afghanistan, a new all time low. Even most Republicans voiced opposition, which had not previously happened at any point in this war. A New York Times/CBS News poll confirms the same thing: 69 percent oppose the war in Afghanistan, up from 53 percent just four months ago. Opposition in the other NATO countries was always higher than in the US, and has grown steadily. Similar poll results around the globe show most Canadians want to end the occupation, just like most Brits, most Germans, most French, and so on…
But as you might imagine, NATO is not a democratic institution, responsive or accountable to the people in the countries its troops are deployed from. And while the mission is carried out under NATO’s banner, it is clearly commanded, armed and funded, principally by the United States. However, support from NATO allies impacts what the US can and cannot do.
As we learned from April, NATO was established in 1949 supposedly as a “defensive” military alliance (against the Soviet Union). However, according to the Congressional Research Service in December 2009, “…the allies have sought to create a ‘new’ NATO, capable of operating beyond the European theater to combat emerging threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Afghanistan is NATO’s first ‘out-of-area’ mission beyond Europe.” And importantly, it continues, “The ultimate outcome of NATO’s effort to stabilize Afghanistan and U.S. leadership of that effort may well affect the cohesiveness of the alliance and Washington’s ability to shape NATO’s future.”
To put it another way, Afghanistan is a test for the NATO, and especially for the US. If they become the first successful foreign occupiers in the history of Afghanistan, it would be a huge blow not only to the people of Afghanistan, but to all the peace-loving peoples of the world.
There are some barriers to that success. First and foremost, the people of Afghanistan, who have refused to accept the twin evils of a brutal military occupation and the corrupt puppet government of Hamid Karzai. The Afghan people, like any occupied people, have a right to resist. And resist they have. The incidents I described earlier – the killing of civilians, the dishonoring of the bodies of the dead, the desecration of the Koran – these were each answered with acts of resistance. Afghan people have protested, and they have fought back. Their resistance is why US troops are dying in greater numbers every year.
And so, the coalition of the willing gets less and less willing every year.
Following Obama’s December 2009 speech at West Point, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed his support for the troop surge plan and his willingness to commit a significant number of U.S. troops to the effort. Rasmussen said that NATO “would provide at least 5,000 more soldiers and probably more.”
However, he had a hard time convincing member states to contribute forces. Of those who did commit forces, many imposed restrictions on tasks those forces could undertake. Almost half the forces in ISAF have some form of restrictions, for example prohibiting their troops from participating in combat except in self-defense, or disallowing their deployment to certain conflicted areas within Afghanistan.
I was not previously aware of this, but when a member state agrees to deploy troops to a NATO operation, that nation must pay the costs associated with that deployment. There is a built-in disincentive for nations to agree to commit any troops to a mission or to increase the number of troops deployed. In these times of massive economic collapse, it’s no doubt that many NATO member nations won’t contribute more to this losing proposition.
Which brings us to the NATO summit in Chicago this May. What will NATO leaders do there?
Afghanistan is at the top of their agenda. On Monday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: “In Chicago we will map out how we are going to complete the transition and how we will continue to support Afghanistan beyond 2014. We will agree what kind of mission NATO will have after 2014…”
At this meeting, they will no doubt speak in very concrete terms about the troop commitments of every member state. Which is to say, they will be talking about the size and scope of the continued war and occupation in Afghanistan, for the next two years, and beyond.
We absolutely need to be there, to be part of a global protest movement to say no to NATO, and demand the troops get out of Afghanistan now!