The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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

CODEPINK Calls on House to Vote 'No' on $94.2 Billion War Supplemental


CODEPINK Women for Peace calls on the House today to vote down Pres.
Obama's request for an additional $94.2 billion for the wars in Iraq
and Afghanistan, a supplemental that will further destabilize the
Middle East and Central Asia, threaten worldwide security and drain
billions of tax-payer dollars at a time of sky-high unemployment and
economic crisis.

The supplemental, without an exit strategy, clearly recycles failed
Bush administration policies. It will continue to fuel the Taliban and
Al-Qaeda, increasing their numbers (as outlined by many military
strategists and think tanks). It will also lead to more civilian deaths
-- a United Nations report released earlier this year found the Afghan
civilian death toll nearly doubled in 2008 under U.S. presence, with
the U.S. responsible for almost half the deaths. In addition, increased
American troop presence to 68,000 by year's end will further alienate
Afghans who increasingly view the U.S. as an occupying force. The
number of Afghan people who believe the U.S. has performed well dropped
this year to 32 percent from 68 percent in 2005, military scholar
Anthony Cordesman told a Congressional hearing.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus, through a series of hearings
of the past several weeks with U.S., Afghan, and Pakistan military
advisers, concluded that the supplemental "exacerbates" failed
strategies by funding predominately military ($84 billion) with only
$10 billion for economic development, institution building, local
community funding and skills training. This contradicts Gen. Petraeus'
counter-insurgency doctrine of 80% non-military and 20% military.

"When it comes to war, the people voted for change, not for
Bush-lite," said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin. "Congress should
move Obama to a surge in negotiations and away from war, not a
continuation of the disastrous militaristic approach of the Bush era."

According to the Congressional Research Service, the cost of the
Iraq war has now surpassed - in inflation-adjusted dollars - the cost of
the Vietnam War. With the new supplemental, the six-year Iraq War will
have cost the U.S. taxpayer over $700 billion - not counting all the
related costs such as the ongoing health care for veterans and interest
payments on the money borrowed to pay for the war, which put the bill
over $1 trillion. The surge in Afghanistan will lead to hundreds of
billions poured into another unwinnable war that is quickly losing
public support. A USA Today/Gallup Poll in March 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.

"It is outrageous that Congress will pass another blank check for
what most believe is a military quagmire," said Gael Murphy of CODEPINK
and United for Peace and Justice. "Progress toward peace can only come
from an authentic and compassionate US diplomacy."

Instead of a supplemental for military action, CODEPINK calls for a
reallocation of war funds into the needs of the American and Afghan
people: health care, education and infrastructure, a rapid withdrawal
of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the closing of bases, and tireless
diplomatic engagement with key players within Afghanistan and Pakistan.

For more information, please call Jean Stevens, CODEPINK media
coordinator, at 508-769-2138 or Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder,

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