'Do you remember why the US started this war?' Mel Lehman from the Common Humanity organization replied when I asked him why he was attending a demonstration held on the east side of Union Square on Friday afternoon to mark the 15th anniversary of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
Many memories came to mind: The fall of the Taliban. George W. Bush’s swaggering bravado. Barack Obama’s empty promises to withdraw the troops and wind down the war. The flood of refugees that have poured out of that country in search of a better life. Before all that, the invasion of Afghanistan was sold to the American people as a fight for freedom.
Though the war’s 15th anniversary was largely ignored by the media on Friday, about a dozen members of Brooklyn for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, NY Raging Grannies, North Manhattan Neighbors for Peace and Justice and Common Humanity were prepared to mark the occasion. Singing and holding aloft their banners, members of the group handed out copies of a flyer to passers-by. It read:
The United States invested over $751 billion in Afghanistan, the longest war in US history.
2,384 soldiers died, tens of thousands wounded. Is it a never ending war?
I spoke with the activists, the majority of them women, asking about their reasons for protesting as well as their thoughts on why they the anti-war movement has dwindled to its present state.
The War on Terror Turns 15 by Rebecca Barrigos