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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2010
4:07 PM

CONTACT: Peace Action

Kevin Martin, Executive Director,
301.565.4050 x 307, 301.537.8244 cell
Barbra Bearden, Communication Associate
301.565.4050 ext. 330
bbearden@peace-action.org

Over 13 Million People Push Congress for Afghanistan Exit Strategy

WASHINGTON - May 14 - 27 organizations and coalitions representing over 13 million Americans sent a letter this week to the Senate and House asking for cosponsors to legislation that would require the Obama administration to provide Congress an exit strategy from Afghanistan.   Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) introduced the bipartisan legislation, S. 3197 in the Senate and H.R. 5015, a few weeks ago.

“Americans are increasingly opposing the cost in blood and treasure of the war in Afghanistan.  Like Iraq, it’s time for the Obama administration to provide an exit strategy with an end date for the United States military presence in Afghanistan.  Congress needs to exercise its oversight responsibilities and require a plan and a deadline for troops to come home from Afghanistan.  Peace Action thinks that plan should have troops home as soon as practically possible and resources focused on the political solution and Afghan-led aid and development,” stated Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action’s policy and political director, who organized the letter to Congress.

The legislation in the House has picked up momentum with 86 cosponsors including chairs of important committees and such as Reps. Conyers, Delahunt and Filner.  The legislation states that “not later than January 1, 2011, or 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, whichever is earlier, the President shall submit to Congress a plan for the safe, orderly, and expeditious redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Afghanistan, including military and security-related contractors, together with a timetable for the completion of that redeployment and information regarding variables that could alter that timetable.”

The groups that signed the congressional letter represents veterans, military families, religious congregations, unions, academics, doctors and voters from influential organizations such as MoveOn.org, USAction and the National Organization for Women.

Besides the timetable for redeployment of troops from Afghanistan, the legislation would require the Inspector General of the Department of Defense and the Inspector General of the Department of State to “issue recommendations on measures to increase oversight of contractors engaged in activities relating to Afghanistan that have a record of engaging in waste, fraud, or abuse…”

The legislation could be offered as an amendment to various upcoming, must-pass legislation including the supplemental package that includes $33 Billion for the Obama administration’s surge in Afghanistan and may be voted on as early as next week.
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Founded in 1957, Peace Action, the United States' largest peace and disarmament organization with over 100,000 members and nearly 100 chapters in 34 states, works to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs and encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights.


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