Posted by CODEPINK Staff
NEW YORK -- While many worldwide are lauding an "end" to the Iraq War today, as US troops may have largely moved out of most Iraqi cities, CODEPINK Women for Peace calls for a true, complete end to six years of devastating occupation with a speedy withdrawal of all troops, ending the use of military contractors, the dismantling of permanent bases, and fully transferring power to the Iraqi government. CODEPINK also urges Americans to "Remind Obama" of his campaign promise to truly end this war.
According to the Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the U.S. and Iraq, all U.S. troops must be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by today, June 30. It also gives the Iraqi government jurisdiction to give permission to U.S. troops for military operations and bans the U.S. from staging attacks on other countries from Iraq. Thus, today, some Iraqis are celebrating the end of U.S. soldiers in their streets and the open destruction of their homes, schools and infrastructure.
But the U.S. occupation of Iraq is far from over. A massive number of troops -- more than 130,000 -- remain in Iraq in addition to more than 130,000 military contractors. Obama also plans to keep 50,000 military personnel there past 2011. The strategy now is to encircle cities including Baghdad (and those particularly to the north) with bases, home to troops who will work inside the cities by day in various roles. Some are given the mandate to train and assist Iraqi forces, however, their numbers and continued presence will fuel further resistance and violence, continuing to destabilize the region. The Pentagon is dodging the SOFA principles, and Obama is still far from fulfilling his promise.
We look forward to the day when we can truly celebrate -- alongside the Iraqi people -- an end to the U.S. occupation and the fulfillment of our responsibility to help Iraqis rebuild the country we have so destroyed.
For more information, please contact Jean Stevens, national CODEPINK media coordinator, at 508-769-2138 or Jodie Evans, CODEPINK co-founder, at 310-621-5635.