American Peace Movement Rejects Obama Iraq and Afghanistan War Policy
Interview with Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice, conducted by Scott Harris
President Barack Obama's Feb. 27th announcement detailing his plan to withdraw most U.S. combat forces from Iraq by August 2010 and all remaining troops by December 2011, was met with disappointment by many activists in the American peace movement. What upset many was the president's plan to leave 35,000 to 50,000 troops behind to train and advise the Iraqi military and engage in unspecified anti-terrorist operations. Disturbingly, some U.S. generals have stated that they believe U.S. forces should remain in Iraq past the December 2011 deadline agreed to by former president Bush and the Iraqi government. Obama's order to deploy an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan further angered anti-war activists.
Although violence has made a dramatic decline in Iraq in recent months, there has been a recent upsurge in the number of suicide bombings and signs of restiveness by former Sunni insurgents on the U.S. payroll. Most of the Sunni resistance fighters now receiving payment in American dollars, known as the Sons of Iraq, have not yet secured jobs promised to them within Iraq's military, police and government. On the sixth anniversary of the war, more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died; 4,200 U.S. service men and women have lost their lives and over $657 billion has been spent.
Between The Lines Scott Harris spoke with Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice, the nation's largest anti-war coalition. Cagan assesses President Obama's Iraq withdrawal plan and the role of the peace movement in pressuring the new administration for a more rapid exit from both Iraq and Afghanistan. She also talks about an upcoming protest action scheduled for April 4 on Wall Street in New York City.
Contact United for Peace and Justice, the nationwide coalition of peace groups by calling (212) 868-5545 or visit their website at www.unitedforpeace.org
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