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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Veterans for Peace
Mike Ferner, 419-729-7273
Michael McPhearson, 314-303-8874
Veterans Press for Complete Withdrawal of Troops from Iraq
ST. LOUIS - July 1 - Veterans For Peace, a national
organization of military service veterans, responded to events in Iraq
with the following statement from its president, Mike Ferner.
"As of yesterday, all U.S. troops are supposed to be out of Iraq's cities - except for Baghdad where municipal borders were redrawn so some troops can remain, and Mosul where some will remain as 'advisers.'
A year from now, the U.S. will still have upwards of 50,000 "non-combat" troops in Iraq - a rather bizarre concept to any soldier who has been in a combat zone. Not until the end of 2011, two and a half years from now, are U.S. troops finally scheduled to be gone, and even that distant deadline could be extended.
Such a lengthy timetable is simply not good enough. The presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is what fuels the instability and violence. Keeping tens of thousands of military personnel there for at least another 18 months will insure the killing and wounding, the political instability and the economic chaos will continue that much longer.
We have killed over a million Iraqis, the large majority of them children; wounded at least five times that many; driven over four million from their homes; destroyed their water, sewer, health and education systems and much of their culture. We have tortured and abused tens of thousands in the prisons we took over from Saddam Hussein. Not a family exists in Iraq that hasn't had someone killed, wounded, tortured or made homeless.
The comparable effect in this country would mean that in Atlanta, Denver, Boston, Seattle, Milwaukee, Fort Worth, Baltimore, San Francisco, Dallas and Philadelphia every single person is dead. In Vermont, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, Nevada, Kansas, Mississippi, Iowa, Oregon, South Carolina and Colorado every single person is wounded. The entire populations of Ohio and New Jersey are homeless, surviving with friends, relatives or under bridges as they can. The entire populations of Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky have fled to Canada or Mexico.
Just as we have opened the door to foreign control of Iraq's oil, our actions guarantee that for at least another generation, the deep well of affection Iraqis once had for Americans will remain bitterly poisoned. We have caused enough suffering and misery. It is time to end the occupation of Iraq and begin paying to rebuild it.
It is time to bring our troops home. All of them. Now."