By Liisa Wale
Arizona Community Press | www.azcommunitypress.org
Twelve years ago the United States government invaded Afghanistan in the name of “terrorism” and to remove the Taliban from power. Today the United States military continues to occupy Afghanistan with approximately 55 -60,000 American troops remaining. The Taliban still exists and economic struggles for the people continue. Throughout the United States anti- war marches and vigils have been taking place throughout the weekend to commemorate and remind us that the U.S. government is still at war in Afghanistan.
In Phoenix, AZ End the War Coalition held rallies at First Friday on October 4th and Monday, October 7th in front of the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism during the lunch hour. The groups message “U.S. troops are still there! Bring them home now! End drone warfare! Stop killing innocent civilians”. On Monday those who had gathered held signs and spoke to passing students about what impact the war has had on soldiers, U.S. foreign policy, and students futures. Edwina Vogan, a member of End the War Coalition, who was speaking into a bull horn to the passing students, stated that we “need to create friends overseas – not enemies”.
An ASU student, who served in Afghanistan, stopped to thank the group for the “Support the Troops. End the War” sign being displayed. She mentioned that the support of the troops by the anti-war movement today compared to Vietnam has really improved and is grateful for that.
It has been reported that on Monday night 12 war veterans and supporters were arrested for refusing to leave the NYC Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza (which was closed due to the government shut down) while they were reading off the names of fallen soldiers and victims of war.
The Obama administration has announced on numerous occasions that the U.S. government is “strongly considering” pulling all American combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Dan O’Neal of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Arizona who was at the Phoenix action on Monday asked for President Obama to “be the Commander In Chief and stop the war now!”. Some countries have already started to pull out of Afghanistan. According to in Serbia Independent News “Germany has started pulling out its troops from Afghanistan and handed over its command base in the northern province of Kunduz to the Afghan security forces.”
O’Neal has this message for decision makers in Washington D.C. – “In D.C. they are worried about budgets and fiscal responsibility….We can save millions if we end the war today”.