Christians protest over increase in US troops for Iraq

Christians protest over increase in US troops for Iraq

By staff writers
11 Jan 2007

Christians around the US will join others tonight at hundreds of meetings to protest against the announcement by President Bush last night to send 21,500 extra US troops to Iraq.

Unveiling his long-awaited new strategy in a prime-time TV address to the nation, Bush pledged that previous errors would not be repeated.

This time he said there would be enough troops to hold neighbourhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and militants rather than let "terrorists and insurgents" return, and fewer restrictions on US and Iraqi forces.

The president admitted: "The situation in Iraq is unacceptable to the American people - and it is unacceptable to me.

"Where mistakes have been made, the responsibility rests with me."

Mr Bush said sending more soldiers at this point would hasten the day when troops could begin coming home, whereas pulling US forces out would cause the Iraqi government to collapse, and provoke "mass killings on an unimaginable scale".

A total of 17,500 combat troops will be sent to Baghdad, with the first of five brigades arriving by Monday.

Some 4,000 Marines will go to Anbar Province, a base of the Sunni uprising and foreign al Qaida fighters.

The additions will bring the total number of US troops in Iraq to 153,500, close to the all-time high of 160,000, at a cost of 5.6 billion dollars.

However, campaigners say that in sending more troops, Bush has ignored the results of the November election, the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, and the advice of military leaders.

"Sending more American men and women into a sectarian civil war is not a solution to the growing violence. It will simply mean more deaths and injuries to both Americans and Iraqis. It's up to us to make it clear that Americans do not want more troops in Iraq" said a statement from Sojourners and Call to Renewal.

Tonight, at least 500 events are planned around the country in protest. Those people who do not have an event close to them are being encouraged to host their own. Resources for events have been made available online in an event kit full of information, tips, and tools.

Christians from across the ecumenical spectrum are also planning to converge on Washington for a prayerful service, march, and prophetic witness for peace at the White House on 16 March - the fourth anniversary of the Iraq invasion.

Visit www.christianpeacewitness.org for more information.

At this critical moment in history, we urge you to join us in praying for peace and acting for peace.

Tomorrow evening, Thursday, in response to his speech, join people across the country who are coming together to tell the President and Congress that Americans do NOT want more troops in Iraq.

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