For Immediate Release

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Nation's Largest Antiwar Coalition Calls for Rapid and Total End to U.S. Occupation of Iraq

NEW YORK - With
Iraqis celebrating the first symbolic benchmark of a U.S. troop
withdrawal this week, United For Peace and Justice, the country's largest
antiwar coalition, is encouraged by these first steps but calls for a
rapid and total end to the U.S. war and occupation.

Michael
McPhearson, the UFPJ National Co-Chair, says, "As a Gulf War veteran, I
understand how the military works. U.S. military officials have
described how combat troops will be 're-missioned' as 'trainers', so
that they can continue operations in Iraq's cities and towns in a
different guise."

The
road for the U.S. military out of Iraq remains much too long, and UFPJ
has urged its Member Groups and supporters to call the White House and
the Congress to let them know that continued occupation cannot solve
the problems facing Iraq -- and in fact, the presence of U.S. troops
exacerbates the problems.

Army
Times magazine has reported on the frantic construction and expansion
of U.S. military bases just outside municipal borders, so that combat
troops can sleep outside the major cities, thus fulfilling the SOFA's
obligations, but still conduct combat operations during the day.

McPhearson
continues, "The job of the peace movement is to keep Iraq in the public
eye, maintain and strengthen our relationships with allies in the
economic and social justice movements to build a broad front of
resistance to war, and continue our call for the rapid and complete
withdrawal of all U.S. troops and contractors, as each SOFA benchmark
arrives."

With
the latest poll of Iraqis finding that 73% want the U.S. to leave and
with U.S. defense costs exploding because of the war and occupation, we
look forward to the day when we can celebrate with Iraqis a true
victory: a complete end to the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq and the
restoration of Iraq to Iraqis.

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United for Peace and Justice is a coalition of more than 1400 local and national groups throughout the United States who have joined together to protest the immoral and disastrous Iraq War and oppose our government's policy of permanent warfare and empire-building.

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