broken walls and narratives

A not so revolutionary blog about feminism, socialism, activism, travel, nature, life, etc.

Radical Cheerleading Chronicles: 15th Anniversary of the War in Afghanistan

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Lately,  I’ve been feeling old.   Well, nothing makes me feel old like the anniversary of the war in Afghanistan.  Seriously…15 years?!  That began 15 years ago?!  I remember sitting in a foreign policy class with that sexist professor from CSS.  I remember being cynical when we dropped food and messages on the population, followed by bombs.  I remember celebrating the 11th anniversary with a small picket in Mankato.  A student snickered a few weeks later when it was announced that the troops were being drawn down.  Our small picket ended the war, he laughed.  Yeah, yeah, we aren’t changing the world.  Rub it in.  Really it seems that we have been “drawing down” for five years.  The Northland Anti-War Coalition disbanded in 2014 under the pretense that we would draw down the troops to half in 2015.  Here we are, 2016, and there are still 10,000 troops in Afghanistan.  And, no one knows and no one cares.  I didn’t even know.  I was shocked when I read a report that cited the Department of Defense…that indeed, we still have almost 10,000 soldiers there.


Anti-war work has a special place in my heart.  My very first activism was anti-war activism.  War is one of those big things.  At least to me it seems pretty easy and obvious to be against war.  Abortion rights can be complicated to explain.  But, war is expensive and it kills adult people…children….pregnant…women…fetuses….animals…environments.   It seems that anyone who generally does not like the idea of things dying or becoming permanently injured, would be wary about war.  This gets confounded by patriotism, fear, and hate, of course.  But, if not death…the enormous price tag should deter some.   The Afghanistan war could cost up to 6 trillion dollars.  Currently, the war has cost about 680 billion dollars.  I read that per American, the Afghanistan war has cost $33,000. Of course, there are different websites with different numbers.  I imagine that it is hard to calculate or anticipate the full price tag of the war.   On the low end, we have killed 30,000 Afghan civilians or on the high end, over 200,000.  We have created six million Afghan refugees.  At the same time, there is little improvement in the country.  The Taliban has been steadily gaining territory and ISIS has been gaining a foothold in the south.  Opium production is actually 35 times greater today than in 2001.  Really, this is a black hole sucking up American resources with little benefit to the population there.  The worst thing is that it is entirely invisible in the public discourse.  Neither Democrats nor Republicans are talking about it.  Yet, both are responsible for this prolonged and pointless war that benefits no one- spare some defense contractors and warlords who siphon off aid.


It would be wonderful if the 15th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan was a catalyst to renew the anti-war movement.  Alas, it is an invisible anniversary for a forgotten war.  Locally, we planned a picket in Superior with the Veterans for Peace and Grandmothers for Peace.  The Rah Rah Revolutionaries decided to make an appearance, even though the event was modest.  Three radical cheerleaders showed up.  It was bitterly cold for October.  Our cheerleading costumes were not enough for the unexpected cold.  However, our chanting and cheering kept us warm.  The pompoms also kept our hands from freezing.  Like Take Back the Night, it was myself, Lucas, and Alexa.  In total, there were eleven people at the picket.  It is sad that there were fewer people at the protest than there were years of war!!  But, this is the sorry state of the anti-war movement and I am glad that there are some die-hard activists.  Eleven is better than zero.

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Although we froze our butts off, there were a few things that made it worth it.  For one, I think that the older activists, especially those who were in the Grandmothers for Peace, were glad that the cheerleaders were there.  Even though we are in our 30s, they were happy to see “young” people there.  Someday I will be an old lady who has done decades of activism-looking to the future.  We are the future.  We are young in the sense we have many decades left to fight.  So, while the 15th anniversary sure makes me feel old, it can also make me feel young when I see the Grandmothers for Peace.  Another plus was that we had a great response from cars that passed by.  We were a bunch of frozen weirdoes with peace signs.  Yet, we had many honks and waves.  People don’t like war.  Maybe they forget that it is still going on, but it is encouraging that they support our efforts.  Finally, it was nice to do cheers as the cheerleaders.  It made the time go quickly.  It kept us warm. And, I now have cheers to re-use for the 16th…and I predict, the 20th anniversary of this war.  Here are the cheers in case any other radical cheerleader group wants to use them:

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Anti-war Chants

I can’t stand,

Another year in Afghanistan,

Fifteen years is way too long,

For a costly war that’s clearly wrong!

15…15

So much war is just obscene!

10,000 troops are still too much!

In country we shouldn’t touch!

15…15

We armed the mujahedeen!

How many years until we see!

War is our policy!

Bush, Obama…Hillary next?

War goes on no matter who we elect!

That’s why we’re here, doing this cheer!

This is a chant all parties must hear!

Hey hey, understand!

We’re still in Afghanistan

We never beat the Taliban,

Even now they’re gaining land!

Hey, hey, understand!

This forgotten war is a sham!

600 billion since 2002,

What on earth should America do?!

31 thousand civilians dead,

Spend that money on peace instead!

No matter how many troops we send

This war goes on without end!

No matter how much money we spend,

This war goes on without end!

We’re anti-war and we couldn’t be prouder

If you can’t hear us, we’ll shout a little louder!

One, we’re anti-war (point to self)

Two, you should be too! (point out)

Three, troops home now!

No more war, war, war, war!

Troops home now! (Clap, clap, clap, clap)

we’ll show you how! (clap, clap, clap, clap)

Take to the streets (clap, clap, clap, clap)

Unite for peace! (clap, clap, clap, clap)

Salam, Pace, Mir

We’re for peace

It’s why we’re here

Paz, peace, amani

No more war,

Just harmony!

1,2,3,4

We cheer for anti-war

5,6,7,8

No more fear, no more hate!

9,10,11,12

Put our weapons on the shelf!

Who was the one who started the assault,

Bush, Bush,

without a doubt!

Who had the urge, to do a troop surge?

Obama, Obama!

Continued the drama

Who is next in November?

Will this war go on forever?

Stop stop

TROOPS OUT NOW! (raise fist)

Six million refugees

Stop this war

Stop it please!

Rah rah rah,

Peace is patriotic

No duh, duh, duh (thumbs down)

War is idiotic

Alexander the Great

Genghis Khan

The Mughal Empire

The list goes on

The Sikhs and

The British too!

All defeated by you know who!

The Soviet Union,

And Now the US

Why we’re there is anyone’s guess!

It could be contracts

Or the war machine!

This endless war is so obscene!

Tell me, tell me

What would you do?

If I gave 30 grand to you?

Would you save for a home, go to college, get a car?

If you didn’t pay for the Afghanistan war

Tell me, tell me,

How would it be?

If we pooled all that money?

Who would be poor or going hungry?

With a new priority!

We want justice

We want peace

U.S. out of the Middle East!

No more wars for corporations,

No more drones and occupations!

Not a penny, not a dollar

We won’t pay for endless slaughter!

Money for jobs and education

Not for war and occupation!

 

Black sites

Drones

Opium Farms

These are the ways our

War does harm!

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