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Minnesota protests 14 years of endless war in Afghanistan

By Austin Jensen and Kent Mori |
October 10, 2015
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Twin Cites protest marks 14 years of U.S. war on Afghanistan
Twin Cites protest marks 14 years of U.S. war on Afghanistan (Fight Back! News/Staff)

St. Paul, MN - On Oct. 7 about 100 activists from local peace groups held a special protest vigil on the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue bridge between Minneapolis and Saint Paul under the demand, "say no to endless war!" to mark 14 years of endless U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Protesters held signs reading, "14 Years too many" and "Zero troops in Afghanistan" while receiving supportive honks from cars passing by.

Jennie Eisert, from the Anti-War Committee (AWC), expressed what motivated her to come out to the protest. "We're out here today to protest 14 years in Afghanistan. How many more times will they lie to us? We knew the U.S. was keeping troops on the ground, we knew they were rearming themselves, we've had enough!”

In light of a hospital being bombed in Kunduz, Afghanistan just last weekend, Sophia Hansen-Day, also from the AWC, shared her thoughts on the endless war. "The U.S. military knows exactly what they were doing in bombing a hospital. Choosing to rain missiles on the only trauma center in northern Afghanistan for 30 minutes straight was not an accident; it was on purpose. This attack was nothing short of a war crime and as long as the U.S. military has a presence in the country such atrocities will continue."

After the protest, nearly 100 people went to Saint Albert the Great Church in Minneapolis for a forum and potluck. It featured speeches by Colleen Rowley, a former FBI agent now with Women Against Military Madness; Steve Clemens, who has visited Iraq and Afghanistan on peace delegations, and Mel Reeves, a human rights activist instrumental in organizing the MN Malcolm X conferences.

Steve Clemens began the forum by mocking the idea that the invasion of Afghanistan was a ‘good war.’ He said that it was actually “a war of retribution” where cluster bombs, which are illegal munitions, were regularly used by the U.S.

Colleen Rowley pointed out the close connection between the European crisis and the endless wars in the Middle East when she said, “As the Europeans have been finding out, creating war zones is not a good idea, since you soon get a massive number of refugees coming to your country.”

Mel Reeves pointed out how these endless wars are being brought home by pointing to the increasing state violence against poor people, particularly Black people and other oppressed nationalities across the U.S.

The protest and program were organized by the End War Committee of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM), Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC) and Twin Cities Peace Campaign. Those organizations that endorsed included Alliant Action, Anti-War Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Mayday Books, Minnesota Cuba Committee, National Lawyers Guild (Minnesota chapter), Peace and Justice Committee Sacred Heart Church–St. Paul, Socialist Action, St. Joan of Arc/WAMM Peacemakers, Welfare Rights Committee, Workers International League, and Veterans for Peace Chapter 27.