The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, 415-235-6517
Jean Stevens, CODEPINK media coordinator, 508-769-2138

CODEPINK Calls on Congress to Reject Obama Request for $83 Billion for Wars

Urges rapid withdrawal, diplomacy, investment in American needs


Representing the voice of millions of Americans and those worldwide, CODEPINK
calls on Congress to reject President Obama's outrageous request for an
additional $83.4 billion to be spent on ineffectual, destabilizing,
immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite Obama's campaign promise never to ask for war funding as a
supplemental bill as opposed to the regular budget, war officials say
this supplemental is "necessary" to pay for wars through mid-year. This
explanation for the rushed spending, strategically downplayed amid the
start of a holiday weekend, reflects the same rush into war six years
ago and recent rush into taxpayer bailouts for mismanaged corporations.
It leaves no time for Congress to thoroughly analyze the true need for
such funds and it ignores the fact that the United States -- and the
American people -- cannot afford to spend $83 billion dollars on war at
a time of sky-high unemployment and record deficits.

It also ignores widespread dissent in American and abroad against
continuation of the wars, despite Defense Secretary Gates' statement
that he does not know anybody who believes "a sudden and precipitous
withdrawal of the United States from both places" to be a good idea. A
USA Today/Gallup Poll earlier this spring found 42 percent of Americans
felt the Afghanistan war was "a mistake," an increase of 30 percent
earlier this year and 34 percent in August 2008. A March CBS poll found
six in 10 Americans now say the U.S. did the wrong thing in entering

"A speedy withdrawal is exactly what millions worldwide want and
what we need," said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin. "Prolonged war
means more civilian casualties, which means more anger towards the
United States and more recruits for al-Qaeda. It's a vicious cycle that
has to end."

The economic crisis at home lends an added urgency to end these
wars. CODEPINK calls for a reallocation of war funds into the needs of
the American people: health care, education, green jobs and
infrastructure. It calls for the removal of all troops from Iraq, as
well as contractors and bases. In the case of Afghanistan and Pakistan,
it calls for a surge in negotiations, with women at the table, and a
surge in economic and humanitarian aid.

CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs.

(818) 275-7232