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38 Antiwar Groups to Obama: No Escalation! Troops Home Now!

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opednews.com Headlined to H1 12/1/09

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Cover letter to President Obama from Veterans For Peace, followed by the letter signed by representatives of 38 antiwar groups.

November 30, 2009

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President Barack Obama

The White House

Washington, D.C.

Dear President Obama,

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We are forwarding to you the accompanying letter from the leaders of 38 antiwar organizations, insisting that you turn from the path of war in Afghanistan before it is too late. The signatories write to express how strongly they and their constituents oppose any escalation in Afghanistan and how thoroughly any such action will alienate the American electorate, which takes this issue extremely seriously.

This is an historic document. Not in decades has the antiwar movement coalesced so completely around one demand, nor committed itself with such unanimity in determined resistance to the policy of a Presidential Administration. You will note that these same groups brought millions onto the streets before the U.S. war in Iraq , although at the time they lacked majority public support.

Now, with the U.S. population already majority-opposed to your intended actions, this coalition, uniting veterans, peace activists and religious leaders, urges you not to repeat President Johnson's mistake of committing the nation to a war he knew full well it could not win, persuaded by advisers that withdrawal was not, for him, an option. Withdrawal was the right option then, and it is the only option now.

Most Sincerely,

(signed)

Michael McPhearson, Executive Director

Veterans For Peace

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Mike Ferner, President

Veterans For Peace

*******************

President Barack Obama

The White House

Washington, D.C.

November 30, 2009

Dear President Obama,

With millions of U.S. people feeling the fear and desperation of no longer having a home; with millions feeling the terror and loss of dignity that comes with unemployment; with millions of our children slipping further into poverty and hunger, your decision to deploy thousands more troops and throw hundreds of billions more dollars into prolonging the profoundly tragic war in Afghanistan strikes us as utter folly. We believe this decision represents a war against ordinary people, both here in the United States and in Afghanistan . The war in Afghanistan , if continued, will result in the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of U.S. troops, and untold thousands of Afghans.

Polls indicate that a majority of those who labored with so much hope to elect you as president now fear that you will make a wrong decision -- a tragic decision that will destroy their dreams for America . More tragic is the price of your decision. It will be paid with the blood, suffering and broken hearts of our young troops, their loved ones and an even greater number of Afghan men, women and children.

The U.S. military claims that this war must be fought to protect U.S. national security, but we believe it is being waged to expand U.S. empire in the interests of oil and pipeline companies.

Your decision to escalate U.S. troops and continue the occupation will cause other people in other lands to despise the U.S. as a menacing military power that violates international law. Keep in mind that to most of the peoples of the world, widening the war in Afghanistan will look exactly like what it is: the world's richest nation making war on one of the world's very poorest.

The war must be ended now. Humanitarian aid programs should address the deep poverty that has always been a part of the life of Afghan people.

We will keep opposing this war in every nonviolent way possible. We will urge elected representatives to cut all funding for war. Some of us will be led to withhold our taxes, practice civil resistance, and promote slowdowns and strikes at schools and workplaces.

In short, President Obama, we will do everything in our power, as nonviolent peace activists, to build the kind of massive movement --which today represents the sentiments of a majority of the American people--that will play a key role in ending U.S. war in Afghanistan .

Such would be the folly of a decision to escalate troop deployment and such is the depth of our opposition to the death and suffering it would cause.

Sincerely, (Signers names listed in alphabetical order)

Jack Amoureux, Executive Committee, Military Families Speak Out

Michael Austin, Antiwar.com

Michael Baxter, Catholic Peace Fellowship

Medea Benjamin, Co-founder, Global Exchange

Frida Berrigan, Witness Against Torture

Imam Mahdi Bray, Executive Director, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation

Elaine Brower, World Can't Wait

Leslie Cagan, Co-Founder, United for Peace and Justice

Tom Cornell, Catholic Peace Fellowship

Matt Daloisio, War Resisters League

Marie Dennis, Director, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Robby Diesu, Our Spring Break

Pat Elder, Co-coordinator, National Network Opposing Militarization of Youth

Mike Ferner, President, Veterans For Peace

Joy First, Convener, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

Sara Flounders, Co-Director, International Action Center

Sunil Freeman, ANSWER Coalition, Washington , D.C.

Diana Gibson, Coordinator, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice

Jerry Gordon, Co-Coordinator, National Assembly To End Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupation

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence

David Hartsough, Peaceworkers San Francisco

Mike Hearington, Steering Committee, Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, Atlanta

Larry Holmes, Coordinator, Troops Out Now Coalition

Mark C. Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation

Hany Khalil, War Times

Kathy Kelly, Co-Coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Leslie Kielson , Co-Chair, United for Peace and Justice

Malachy Kilbride, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

Adele Kubein, Executive Committee, Military Families Speak Out

Jeff Mackler, Co-Coordinator, National Assembly to End Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations

Kevin Martin, Exec. Director, Peace Action

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair-Elect, World Parliament of Religion

Sheila Musaji, Editor, The American Muslim

Michael T. McPhearson, Executive Director, Veterans For Peace

Gael Murphy, Co-founder, Code Pink

Michael Nagler, Founder, Metta Center for Nonviolence

Max Obuszewski, Director, Baltimore Nonviolence Center

Pete Perry, Peace of the Action

Dave Robinson, Executive, Director Pax Christi USA

Terry Rockefeller, September 11th Families For Peaceful Tomorrows

Samina Sundas, Founding Executive Director, American Muslim Voice

David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org

Carmen Trotta, Catholic Worker

Nancy Tsou, Coordinator, Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice

Jose Vasquez, Executive Director, Iraq Veterans Against the War

Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace

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Mike Ferner is a writer from Ohio, former president of Veterans For Peace and author of "Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq." (Praeger)

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