The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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

Veterans For Peace Joins Anti-War Coalition to Demonstrate at the White House to Demand End to Afghan War and Occupation


A national veterans' group, Veterans For Peace, joins other peace and justice organizations to mark that the U.S. led war in Afghanistan begins its ninth year next week and say "No to War in Afghanistan. No to Torture and Vengeance," and engage in a day of nonviolent direct action on Monday, October 5th.

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. Alarmed by the recent troop build-up and the prospect of an even greater military escalation there, this day of action will express our disappointment with President Barack Obama's unwillingness to significantly change course from the Bush administration in Afghanistan.

The National President of Veterans For Peace, Mike Ferner and National Executive Director, Michael McPhearson will participate.

Former Navy Corpsman, Mike Ferner stated, "How years must pass and how many lives must be lost before our political leaders change U.S. foreign policy to one that relies on diplomacy and economic development rather than death and destruction? How many families must be destroyed, how many troops must return without limbs and how many must return with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome before the human cost is too great to continue? We veterans and soldiers pay the price for these wars and a small group benefit. Bring Our Troops Home Now!"

The day begins with a "Guantanamo prisoner" presence at the U.S. Supreme Court as Justice Sonia Sotomayor starts her tenure on the country's highest court. The visually dramatic vigil will serve as a reminder to the Obama administration of his promise to shut down Guantanamo and break with Bush-era torture policies. From there, the coalition gathers for a rally in McPherson Square and then will process to the White House to deliver a letter to President Obama and-if rebuffed-engage in nonviolent direct action.

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 Afghanistan
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.

When: Monday, October 5, 2009
Where: Presence at Supreme Court - 8:30 am; Rally at McPherson Square - 10:30 am, March to White House for Protest, Presidential Letter Delivery and Nonviolent Direct Action - 11:30 am
Who: Anti-War Coalition includes National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Veterans For Peace, the War Resisters League, Witness Against Torture, Code Pink, Peace Action, World Can't Wait, and Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

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