The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Paul Kawika Martin, Political Director, 301.565.4050 x 316,
Kevin M. Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action 301.565.4050 x307,

Nation's Largest Peace Group Comments on Obama's Iraq Trip

Peace Action Calls on President Obama to end occupation of Iraq swiftly and completely and to re-consider surge of U.S. troops to Afghanistan


Peace Action, the country's largest peace and disarmament group,
commented on President Obama's unannounced visit to Iraq. Paul Kawika
Martin, the group's political director said:

"Visiting Baghdad shows that Iraq is a high priority for President
Barack Obama. Unlike Bush or McCain, Obama promised to redeploy troops
from Iraq in 16 months. Yet, the president's plan announced earlier
this year does not fulfill his promise. Leaving 35,000 to 50,000
'residual forces' until the end of 2011 is unacceptable. We call on
him to keep his campaign promise because this illegal, immoral
occupation, which failed to find weapons of mass destruction, must end
by removing all U.S. forces, contractors and bases from Iraq by June

"Obama's plan to help save the lives of millions of vulnerable Iraqis
is laudable. The U.S. must fulfill its responsibility to help re-build
the country with Iraqi-led reconstruction and humanitarian aid and
provisions for the millions of Iraqi refugees.

While troops leave Iraq, they must not go to Afghanistan. The 21,000
more American troops in Afghanistan will not protect Americans against
terrorist attacks. To the contrary, more troops, air and Predator
drone strikes and night raids that kill, injure and traumatize innocent
civilians drive people to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Instead, the U.S.
and international community should increase funding for Afghan-led
humanitarian aid, development work, and landmine clean up while
supporting regional diplomacy.

A petition calling on Obama to reverse his decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan is available at the group's website.

Peace Action is 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.