North American ecumenical and interfaith leaders have today sent a letter to President Obama urging him to affect his planned withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan beginning in July.
The letter, "Aid, Not War in Afghanistan," acknowledges the communions held various views on the start of the war, but says they are now "united in the belief that it is time to bring the U.S. war in Afghanistan to an end."
Saying they are "compelled by the prophetic vision of just peace," the leaders, including the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, UCC general minister and president, also called for an end to the military's delivery of relief and development aid. Calling such aid "subservient to military operations," the communions offered their support – and that of their partners – in delivering humanitarian aid and development services.
"We recognize that legitimate ethical and moral issues are at stake in Afghanistan — U.S. national security, protecting the lives of Coalition servicemen and women, protecting Afghan civilians, defending the rights of Afghan women, supporting democracy and, of course, saving innocent lives from the inevitable death and destruction that accompany war," the letter admitted, while calling for an end to the conflict. "We humbly believe there is a better way than war to address these important issues."
The letter, including the complete list of signatories, is available for download at this link.