Conservative group wants public to demand withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan

Lisa McLean
January 17, 2020 - 8:58 am
Troops arriving at Camp Boost in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images


The conservative group, Concerned Veterans for America (CVA), is launching a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign in an effort to garner public support for withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan.

The ads are targeting voters in both parties in hopes they will support the CVA’s efforts to get the government to withdraw the 12,000 troops that CVA claims are still stationed in Afghanistan.

“The public opinion on this issue shows very clearly that the majority of American people, including veterans, would be supportive of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan,” said Nate Anderson, executive director of Concerned Veterans for America.

Anderson, an Army veteran, was one of those thousands of troops who served in Afghanistan and the Middle East. As a Green Beret he saw firsthand the sacrifices Americans made. “I believed we were justified going into Afghanistan,” he said. “But after the mission, we doubled and tripled down, and it didn’t create the results we wanted—It was clear to me as a soldier on the ground that the long-term impacts we wanted to make weren’t happening.”

The ads are set to air in swing states, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The 1.5 million ad campaign will also air in Washington D.C., and online. Stand Together, a network of nonprofits funded by the Charles Koch family, is bankrolling the campaign.

“CVA is a non-partisan organization,” Anderson said. “We firmly believe that if policymakers will listen to anyone, it’ll be the people who fight these wars—we have skin in the game.”

The ad features five veterans urging voters to demand an end to what one calls a “mismanaged war in Afghanistan that our leaders haven’t told the truth about.” CVA also states that the Afghanistan war has cost taxpayers an estimated $1 trillion dollars.

Anderson said that over 970,000 veterans have some sort of disability because of the war in the Middle East.  “We want to give a voice to the people that have been affected by these wars.”

The group and supporters of the campaign are advocating for a full withdrawal whether or not the Trump administration has a peace agreement with the Taliban.

“The truth is that America does not need permission from Afghanistan to withdraw,” he said. “And it’s a myth that if we get out then all hell will break loose. The reality is that Afghanistan has often dealt with a state of civil war—we cannot control the entire country of Afghanistan.”

According to a recent Pew Research Center survey of veterans, 64% say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting considering the costs versus the benefits to the United States, while 33% say it was. Among civilians, views are nearly identical: 62% of Americans overall say the Iraq War wasn’t worth it and 32% say it was.

“If anything is worth coming together, it’s this issue,” Anderson said. “It’s worth setting aside differences to save the lives of the men and women in uniform.”



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