Peace Action West organizers Laurel, Will, and Monica helped distribute flyers on the cost of war and urged people to call their member of Congress as part of United for Peace and Justice’s local actions to mark the 6th year anniversary of the war.
President Obama recently gave a speech at Camp Lejeune, NC, laying out his plan for withdrawal from Iraq. He plans to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by the end of August 2010, a few months longer than the timeline he promised on the campaign trail, but still a firm commitment to withdraw. As we celebrate the victory of a clear timeline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, we are also pushing the the Obama admistration and Congress to go farther, and completely withdraw every soldier from Iraq.
President Obama is still planning to leave a residual force of 35,000-50,000 troops after the combat troops are withdrawn, and promises to have them out by the 2011 deadline in the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq.
To mark this anniversary of the war, call your member of Congress and tell them you do not support leaving residual forces in Iraq. Call the Capitol Hill Switchboard and ask to be connected with your Senator or Representative:
Sample message for your member of Congress:
“I am glad that President Obama plans to withdraw troops from Iraq, but I am deeply concerned by President Obama’s plan to leave a residual force of up to 50,000 troops. Leaving a residual force is likely to continue the perception of a US occupation and make our troops targets for violence. Please support a complete withdrawal of all US troops.”
(Leave your name and address to show that you’re a constituent)
As we noted in another blog post, keeping 50,000 troops in Iraq is not going to lessen the resentment in Iraq caused by the presence of a foreign occupying force. Military adviser Stephen Biddle referred to a residual force as “the worst of both worlds,” not being a large enough force for a full-on military strategy, but unable to avoid engaging in combat and serving as targets for violence. If we want to help create stability in Iraq, we need to use diplomacy and aid, and it will require the political capital gained by announcing and pursuing a full withdrawal of US troops.