The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mike Ferner, 419-729-7273
Michael McPhearson, 314-303-8874

Veterans Press for Complete Withdrawal of Troops from Iraq


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."

Veterans For Peace is a global organization of Military Veterans and allies whose collective efforts are to build a culture of peace by using our experiences and lifting our voices. We inform the public of the true causes of war and the enormous costs of wars, with an obligation to heal the wounds of wars. Our network is comprised of over 140 chapters worldwide whose work includes: educating the public, advocating for a dismantling of the war economy, providing services that assist veterans and victims of war, and most significantly, working to end all wars.

(314) 725-6005