By World BEYOND War, November 19, 2020
The U.S. war on Afghanistan is in its 19th year. Enough is enough!
Ann Wright is the moderator. Panelists are Kathy Kelly, Matthew Hoh, Rory Fanning, Danny Sjursen, and Arash Azizzada.
Ann Wright is a retired Army Colonel who became a US diplomat for 16 years in US Embassies in Grenada, Nicaragua, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. She was on the team that reopened the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in December 2001 and remained five months. On March 13, 2003, Wright sent a letter of resignation to then Secretary of State Colin Powell. Since that day, she has worked for peace, writing and speaking all over the world and has returned three times to Afghanistan. Wright is co-author of Dissent: Voices of Conscience.
Kathy Kelly has been a founder of Voices in the Wilderness, coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and member of World BEYOND War’s Advisory Board. During each of 20 trips to Afghanistan, Kathy, as an invited guest, has lived alongside ordinary Afghan people in a working class neighborhood in Kabul.
Matthew Hoh has nearly 12 years’ experience with the United States’ wars overseas with the Marine Corps, Department of Defense, and State Department. He has been a Senior Fellow with the Center For International Policy since 2010. In 2009, Hoh resigned in protest from his post in Afghanistan with the State Department over the U.S. escalation of the war. When not deployed, he worked on Afghanistan and Iraq war policy and operations issues at the Pentagon and State Department from 2002-8. Hoh is a member of the Board of Directors for the Institute for Public Accuracy, an Advisory Board Member for Expose Facts, North Carolina Committee to Investigate Torture, Veterans For Peace, and World BEYOND War.
Rory Fanning went through two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion, and became one of the first U.S. Army Rangers to resist the Iraq war and the Global War on Terror. In 2008–2009 he walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman foundation. Rory is the author of Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America. In 2015 he was awarded a grant from the Chicago Teachers Union to speak to CPS students about the United States’ endless wars and to fill in some of the blanks military recruiters often ignore.
Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer, contributing editor at Antiwar.com, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, and director of the Eisenhower Media Network. He did combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge and Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War. Along with fellow vet Chris “Henri” Henriksen, he cohosts the podcast Fortress on a Hill.
Arash Azizzada is a filmmaker, journalist, and community organizer currently living in Washington, D.C. The son of Afghan refugees who fled Afghanistan in the wake of the Soviet invasion, Azizzada is deeply involved in organizing and mobilizing the Afghan-American community, co-founding the Afghan Diaspora for Equity and Progress (ADEP) in 2016. ADEP, the first organization of its kind to emerge in the Afghan American community, aims to raise awareness of social injustice and train and empower change-makers to tackle issues ranging from environmental racism to access to voting. Since last year, Arash has focused on promoting ending the war in Afghanistan and uplifting the voices of women and others marginalized in Afghanistan as peace talks and reconciliation efforts continue to take shape.
This event is supported by World BEYOND War, RootsAction.org, NYC Veterans For Peace, and Middle East Crisis Response.
One of your best efforts ever. Brilliant program. All speakers were wonderful. Have been, believe it or not, “undecided” re what to do re Afghanistan. Have read a dozen books and gone to several conferences (remember questioning Admr. James Stavridis at Perry World House, Phila.). And one of most impactful books was The Mirror Test, by Matthew Hoh. Hoh excellent re congressional hearings. Danny Sjursen several times laugh-out-loud-clap-your-hands funny. Stupendous program. Finally changed my mind. Will (somehow) follow up.
Terrific to hear!
I could not get in on the night of the webinar, but I watched it today. All of you were very informative and the only major concern that I have is what will happen to the women if any gains they have made are taken from them? I think that non combatant groups with skills of every kind ought be brought into the country to help Afghanistan move forward without any form of cohesion. I think that Kathy’s ideas are the path forward. Thank you for putting this together Tarak.