Protestors mark Iraq war anniversary across U.S.
www.chinaview.cn 2009-03-20 11:14:58   Print

Special Report: Tension escalates in Iraq

Backgrounder: Key figures about Iraq war

U.S. anti-war demonstrators stage a protest in New York, the United States, March 19, 2009, marking the 6th anniversary of the start of Iraq war. (Xinhua Photo)
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    WASHINGTON, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Although participation is shrinking, anti-war protestors still marked the sixth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war across the country on Thursday.

    A group of war veterans made a modest protest near the White House in the morning.

    Known as "Iraq Veterans Against the War," the group said it would hold a three-day vigil outside the White House to call for ending "occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan."

    Adam Kokesh, who served in Iraq, was critical of President Barack Obama's Iraq and Afghanistan policies.

    "Relabeling the remaining forces in Iraq 'non-combat troops' will not change the fact that these occupations are being perpetuated to maintain a criminal empire," he said.

U.S. anti-war demonstrators stage a protest in New York, the United States, March 19, 2009, marking the 6th anniversary of the start of Iraq war.(Xinhua Photo)
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    Obama is known for his long opposition to the war but recently he has frustrated some of his anti-war supporters for his failure to stick to a campaign promise to withdraw all U.S. combat troops within 16 months after taking office.

    In announcing his war plan last month, the president opted for an 18-month timetable to moderate military commanders' resistance to a quick withdrawal from Iraq.

    His decision to keep a large presence of 50,000 "non-combat" forces after August next year didn't please many Democrats either.

    "The backlash of the actions by both administrations, of pursuing the enemy outside of the combat regions will only spread the violence further," said James Gilligan, who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The veterans also don't think Obama's policy to shift the war focus to Afghanistan was a good choice.

U.S. anti-war demonstrators stage a protest in New York, the United States, March 19, 2009, marking the 6th anniversary of the start of Iraq war.(Xinhua Photo)
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    "No matter how Obama spins a surge into Afghanistan, it's still a criminal occupation and we don't want it," said Bryan Casler, another veteran.

    In San Francisco, police handcuffed several war protesters who blocked a downtown intersection in the afternoon.

    Several dozen protesters had gathered at the intersection and dozens more onlookers had stopped to watch.

    Some of the protesters wore pink stickers that read "Make Out Not War" and others carried anti-war signs. One man sang and played guitar.

    Protests were taking place throughout California's Bay Area to mark the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war.

U.S. anti-war demonstrators stage a protest in New York, the United States, March 19, 2009, marking the 6th anniversary of the start of Iraq war.(Xinhua Photo)
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    In New York, hundreds of protesters held a demonstration in Union Square, saying that while they welcomed the change in American government, they would not relent in urging Obama to accelerate the withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq.

    The protests were perhaps more muted than the massive demonstrations of years past, but no less fervent.

    Debra Sweet, 57, one of the protest organizers, told the New York Times that the Obama administration has continued the policy of secret renditions of terrorism suspects.

    Matthis Chiroux, a 25-year-old Army veteran expressed impatience with the president.

    "Obama's policies just confirmed to me that the president may have changed, but the war is the same," he said.

U.S. anti-war demonstrators stage a protest in New York, the United States, March 19, 2009, marking the 6th anniversary of the start of Iraq war.(Xinhua Photo)
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    Meanwhile, in Times Square in the late afternoon, about 25 antiwar protesters stood in front of the Armed Forces Career Center, carrying signs that read "Stop Occupation and Torture for Empire! The World Can't Wait!"

    On March 21, dozens of anti-war groups plan to organize a mass protest in Washington D.C., and outside the Pentagon.

    Organizers said they believe thousands will participate.

    On March 19, 2003, the Bush administration launched the Iraq war on the grounds that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein produced weapons of mass destruction and plotted with terrorists.

    Although both claims have been proven to be baseless, more than 4,250 U.S. troops have lost their lives in Iraq since then and the price tag for the war will approach 800 billion U.S. dollars by Sept. 2010.

    Obama announced last month he will pull out all combat troops from Iraq in 18 months and all troops by the end of 2011.

    With a clear timetable to withdraw U.S. troops, a strategic shift to Afghanistan, and the overwhelming economic crisis to cope with, there seems to be much less attention to the war this year than ever.

    However, even if it is less important for the moment, the war's traumatic effects on every facet of American life will be long-lasting, analysts said.

U.S. anti-war protesters urge ending of occupation in Iraq, Afghanistan

    NEW YORK, March 19 (Xinhua) -- More than 150 U.S. anti-war protesters on Thursday called on the Obama administration to stop occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and withdraw all troops from these countries.

    In the Union Square, where the protesters huddled together under the awning of a subway station, staying out of the rain, some said that (U.S. President Barack) Obama, who had opposed the war as an Illinois state senator, continues some of the Bush administration's most controversial policies. Full story

Iraq war, a long-lasting trauma for America

    WASHINGTON, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Things seem different from previous years as the United States commemorated the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war on Thursday.

    With a clear timetable to pull out U.S. troops in Iraq and a shift to Afghanistan, and the U.S. economy in distress, much less attention is being paid to the war in Iraq this year than before. Full story

U.S. military says to cut 12,000 troops in Iraq by September end

    BAGHDAD, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. military said Sunday that 12,000 of its troops stationed in Iraq will pull out from Iraq by September end this year.

    The pullout of the combat troops comes as the U.S. military is turning over more facilities to the Iraqi troops, Maj. Gen. David Perkins, a U.S. military spokesman said during a joint news conference with Ali al-Dabbagh, the spokesman of the Iraqi government. Full story

Obama announces plan to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq in 18 months

President Barack Obama speaks about combat troop level reductions in Iraq as he addresses military personnel at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Friday, Feb. 27, 2009.(Xinhua/AFP Photo)
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    WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday announced a plan to withdraw most troops from Iraq in 18 months, leaving about 35,000 to 50,000 of the current total of around 140,000 troops behind.

    "I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months," he said in a live-broadcast speech delivered at the Marine base of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Full story

Obama to announce full pullout of U.S. troops in Iraq by 2011

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama will announce on Friday a complete pullout of American troops from Iraq by 2011, news agencies reported.

    The president also will say the current combat mission in Iraq will end on August 31, 2010, a senior official told reporters on condition of anonymity. Full story

Obama plans to withdraw most U.S. troops from Iraq in 19 months

U.S. President Barack Obama takes a question at the Fiscal Responsibility Summit at the White House in Washington February 23, 2009.

U.S. President Barack Obama takes a question at the Fiscal Responsibility Summit at the White House in Washington February 23, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama plans to withdraw most of U.S. troops from Iraq in less than 19 months, pending a formal announcement later this week, officials said Tuesday.

    Except a residual force between 30,000 to 50,000 to be left till December 2011, most of the 142,000 U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by August 2010, 19 months after Obama's swearing-in on Jan. 20, U.S. TV networks and wire services quoted administration officials as saying. Full story

Editor: Xiong Tong
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