PHILADELPHIA - December 2 - The President’s address to the Naval Academy on Wednesday offers no new solutions to the Iraq crisis. Each day the U.S. “stays the course” in Iraq, more people die and animosity against our country grows.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), an international social justice organization and a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, was one of the first organizations calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
In its statement, the AFSC Board of Directors wrote, “We believe it is now clear that the continuing U.S. military presence in Iraq is counterproductive and wrong.”
“The U.S. invasion of Iraq has escalated both danger and chaos in a country already devastated by years of international economic sanctions and a dictatorship that squandered valuable resources on military adventures,” explains Peter Lems, national coordinator of the American Friends Service Committee Iraq program. “The occupation has lost the trust of the Iraqi people. Each day Iraq becomes less safe for the occupied, the occupiers, and those who seek to relieve the suffering.”
We call on the U.S. to leave Iraq, but we should not abandon the Iraqi people. Instead we must seek international solutions to the crisis. The Service Committee supports legislation currently before Congress that would prohibit use of taxpayer funds to deploy United States Armed Forces to Iraq. The initiative allows funds to be used for the safe withdrawal of troops, as well as for support for transitional security provided by other countries – including international organizations like NATO and the United Nations.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) was the co-recipient of the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize, which honored Quakers' historic work to relieve the suffering of war. The Quaker organization is comprised of people from many faiths and backgrounds who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Since 1917, AFSC has aided millions of people around the world through its peace, economic development, and human rights programs. AFSC was a leader in the movements to end the Vietnam War and to dismantle apartheid in South Africa and remains a leader in international movements for peace and justice.