Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW)
As an organization of Global War on Terror veterans and Active Duty service members, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is pleased that President Obama is taking important steps to bring our fellow service members home. However, his plan to slowly remove combat brigades over the next 18 months and leave a remaining 35-50,000 troops throughout 2011 is a plan for almost three more years of an unjustified military occupation that continues to claim the lives and livelihoods of our troops and innocent Iraqis.
President Obama speaks of a change in mission, from a combat role to a support role, but yet still leaves room for “conducting targeted counter-terrorism missions” with a portion of the transitional forces remaining combat-ready. He also does not include a timeline for removing the more than 150,000 private defense contractors and mercenaries still in Iraq, nor does he address the question of disallowing permanent military bases.
His plan is also coming at a time when 17,000 more troops are being deployed to Afghanistan. He says he understands service members have “[born] the heaviest burden,” but how is he alleviating that burden by removing troops from Iraq only to ask them to fight in an escalating occupation in Afghanistan?
We must ensure that U.S. control of Iraq, which today is accomplished primarily through military force, is not maintained over the longer term through the use of more subtle legal, financial, economic or political means. The Iraqi people deserve the dignity of full sovereignty and control of their own nation, and the only way to give this to them is by the immediate and complete withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq – this means withdrawing all military personnel, troops, and defense contractors, closing all military bases, ceasing air operations, and removing American interests intent on controlling Iraqi oil resources.
Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is a national membership organization consisting of veterans and active duty service members who have served in the US military since September 11, 2001. IVAW currently has over 1,500 members spread throughout the 50 states as well as Canada, Europe, and Iraq, and has 54 active chapters, including six on military bases. To learn more about IVAW visit us at www.ivaw.org.
Contact: Francesca Lo Basso, 215-241-7123, firstname.lastname@example.org