Veterans' Group Says Leaving 50,000 Troops to Control Iraq Is No 'Withdrawal'

For Immediate Release

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Gabriela Inderwies
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Veterans' Group Says Leaving 50,000 Troops to Control Iraq Is No 'Withdrawal'

NATIONWIDE - A national veterans' organization today objected to calling President Obama's announcement on Iraq a "withdrawal," adding that keeping troops there and Afghanistan will "put the nail in the coffin of America's economy."

Veterans For Peace, referring to several published reports that the Obama plan will leave 50,000 or more troops in Iraq, and pointing to the buildup already underway in Afghanistan, warned that such policies will have the same effect on the new President as the Vietnam War did on Lyndon Johnson's plans for the Great Society.

"I really believe President Obama wants to do good things for the country," said VFP president, Mike Ferner, "but if he continues on this course he's charted, his hopes are guaranteed to founder on the shoals of war. This way lies disaster. For all our sakes, I hope he reconsiders," said VFP president, Mike Ferner.

The 58 year-old former Navy Hospital Corpsman added, "Besides the suffering and death caused by prolonging these wars, America simply can no longer afford the cost of empire. Unfortunately, that's exactly what these policies do. Their purpose is to control an entire region of the world and its resources. If you look at history, it's clear the longterm outlook for empires is not very pleasant."

Ferner concluded that "Barack Obama became president in part because millions of voters were sick of these wars and wanted them stopped, period. Saying that only 'non-combat' troops will be left after 19 months is just sleight of hand so we can keep tens of thousands of soldiers in Iraq and send thousands more to Afghanistan."

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Veterans For Peace is a national organization founded in 1985. It is structured around a national office in Saint Louis, MO and comprised of members across the country organized in chapters or as at-large members. The organization includes men and women veterans of all eras and duty stations including from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and current Iraq wars as well as other conflicts. Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary.

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