Official release: CODEPINK denounces Obama plan for Afghanistan

Posted by CODEPINK Staff

CODEPINK denounces Obama plan for Afghanistan

Calls for reallocation of war funds into American needs, rapid withdrawal, diplomacy

-- At a time of sky-high unemployment, rising cost of living and lower
wages, and outrageous corporate bail-outs and bonuses, CODEPINK Women
for Peace condemns President Obama's announced plan today on
Afghanistan, which will continue to drain
billions from on our economy,
further destabilize the Middle East and Central Asia, and threaten
worldwide security. CODEPINK calls for a reallocation of war funds into
the needs of the American people: health care, education and
infrastructure, a rapid withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan,
the closing of bases, and tireless diplomatic engagement with Afghan
and Pakistan governments.

The strategy, which calls for an increase of 4,000 combat troops
and spending 60 percent more than current levels of $2 billion per
will fuel the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, increasing their numbers. It will
also lead to more civilian deaths -- in 2008, amid U.S. military
operations, civilian casualties climbed 40 percent. In addition, the
planned American civilian official and corporate private contractor
"surge" of more than 900 will further alienate Afghans, who
increasingly view the U.S. as an occupying force, lead to greater
insurgent activity and decrease security, while boosting American
corporate profits.

"Sending more Americans to kill and die in a quagmire in
Afghanistan is a tragic mistake," said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of
CODEPINK. "Obama needs to live up to his promise of change by reversing
course — focusing on negotiations and bringing our troops home."

Americans do no want, nor can they afford, another war without end.
A USA Today/Gallup Poll earlier this month found 42 percent of
Americans felt the Afghanistan war was "a mistake," an increase of 30
percent earlier this year and 34 percent in August 2008. The six-year Iraq War has cost the U.S. $600 billion.

Anger and resistance to escalated occupation in Afghanistan has
begun to brew in Congress, as last week, 14 House Republicans and
Democrats sent Obama a letter urging him to "reconsider" his order
deploying 17,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan, and that "any
perceived military success in Afghanistan might create pressure to
increase military activity in Pakistan. This could very well lead to
dangerous destabilization in the region and would increase hostility
toward the United States."

For interviews and more information, please call Jean Stevens,
national media coordinator, at 508-769-2138 or Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK
co-founder, at 415-235-6517.

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