Oakland, CA – On Wednesday, President Obama will announce the scope of his plans to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. As part of a campaign to push for congressional leadership for a large withdrawal from Afghanistan, Peace Action West has been gathering personal, from-the-heart messages to Congress from people who feel strongly that the war should end. The group is sending each message to Congress along with a toy soldier. Some of the messages gathered can be viewed here: www.peaceactionwest.org/bringthemhome/slide.php.
"The Pentagon is trying with all its might to minimize the withdrawal this July, calling for the removal of as few as 5,000 soldiers this year, keeping as many combat troops on the ground as possible," said Rebecca Griffin, Peace Action West's political director. "That's why we need to push back hard. This war stopped making sense to most Americans long ago, and we are pushing Congress to demand an end to the war.
Since taking office, President Obama has nearly tripled the US troop presence in Afghanistan, and violence against Afghan civilians and US troops has increased significantly during his administration. Congress has a critical role to play in pushing against Pentagon pressure to keep a large presence in Afghanistan, and voicing the American people’s opposition to continuing the war in Afghanistan. Both the House and Senate have responded to public pressure in recent weeks, with 204 members of the House voting in favor of an amendment supporting a plan for accelerated withdrawal, and 27 senators writing to the president urging him to start a sizable withdrawal of troops in July.
"We've gathered more than 8,000 messages to Congress demanding an end to the war, and many of them are incredibly personal and powerful," said Ms. Griffin. "A lot of people are sharing their personal experiences with losing loved ones to the war, as well as watching the war drain resources from their communities.
"Recent polls show that nearly 3 out of 4 Americans want a large withdrawal this summer. Through our campaign, we've learned just how strongly Americans feel about ending this decade-long war, and we are letting Congress know that Americans expect their leadership to bring the troops home."
Peace Action West has been inviting people to join the campaign at www.peaceactionwest.org/bringthemhome.
Peace Action West advocates for a foreign policy that embodies the best values of the American people. More information on the organization and its campaigns is available at www.peaceactionwest.org, and blog.peaceactionwest.org.