The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Frida Berrigan, 347-683-4928,
Jeremy Varon, 732-979-3119,

Antiwar Groups Demand End to Afghan War, Demonstrate at White House


As the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan begins its ninth year,
national anti-war groups join together for a day of nonviolent direct
action on Monday, October 5 at the White House.

Alarmed by the recent troop build-up and the prospect of an even greater
military escalation there, the War Resisters League-the oldest secular
pacifist organization in the United States-joins the coalition planning
this day of action to express disappointment with President Barack
Obama's unwillingness to significantly change course from the Bush
administration in Afghanistan.

Monday, October 5, 2009

* Rally at McPherson Square

* March to White House for Protest, Presidential Letter Delivery
and Nonviolent Direct Action (10:30 am - noon)


Anti-War Coalition includes the War Resisters League, National
Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Code Pink, Peace Action, World Can't
Wait, Veterans for Peace and Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Lifelong war resister Liz McAlister of Jonah House (Baltimore, Maryland)
will be the featured speaker at the McPherson Square Rally. Joining the
coalition for this day of action is Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey
Sheehan was killed in Iraq in 2004 while serving in the U.S.

The White House action comes at a time when domestic support for the war
is dissipating and members of Congress are asking the Obama
administration to rethink its entire approach.

"This war increasingly appears unwinnable, unnecessary, and misguided,"
says Frida Berrigan, WRL member from Brooklyn, New York, "and it
reinforces our belief that all war is unwinnable, and is a crime against
humanity. It is costing billions, killing thousands and stoking hatred
against the United States."

The coalition will deliver a letter to the president and request a
meeting with him at 11:45 a.m. on Monday, October 5. If the meeting
is refused, dozens of peace and justice activists are prepared to risk
arrest in the tradition of Gandhi, Dr. King, and Dorothy Day, in order to
persuade the commander-in-chief to meet their demands.

The October 5 Coalition demands that the United States:

1) Cease combat operations and military occupation of
Afghanistan and end military operations in Pakistan

2) Close the prison at Bagram Air Base, releasing the
hundreds of people who have been held without charge, and prosecuting
suspected terrorists in civilian courts. The administration also needs to
accelerate its efforts to shut down Guantanamo.

3) Participate in international aid efforts,
particularly for medical assistance and infrastructure reconstruction in

4) Re-appropriate the money being spent on wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq for constructive programs in the U.S. and abroad,
such as health care and housing for the poor.

The United States' oldest secular pacifist organization, the War Resisters League has been resisting war at home and war abroad since 1923. Our work for nonviolent revolution has spanned decades and has been shaped by the new visions and strategies of each generation's peacemakers.