Peace activists protest troop surge in Afghanistan

By staff writers
December 2, 2009

Peace activists in Boston, Washington DC and other parts of the United States have been mounting protests against President Obama's expansion of the war in Afghanistan.

Though the national and global media has focused almost exclusively on the US president's speech justifying a military 'surge' in the region and the dispatch of a further 34,000 troops, including 500 from the UK, reported protests yesterday in the Dorchester district of Boston, and other local news outlets across the country are picking up on a fresh wave of protest.

Demonstrators in Boston came from all walks of life, including military veterans - who say that the best way to "support our troops" is to bring them home and stop them being killed.

Phil Dunkelbarger was among those present. He said he felt that the US had not fully learned the lessons of Vietnam. Others declared that the war in Afghanistan is "unwinnable" and that the huge sums of money involved in sustaining it would be better used on a surge against poverty and injustice, at home and abroad.

Analysts say that Obama's mortgaging of the new Afghan strategy on the "success" of the Iraq surge is based on false premises, because the decisive factor in the turn of events in Iraq was a major shift in tribal affiliations - of which no equivalent is being seen in Afghanistan.

Critics add that the military strategy has strengthened rather than weakened the link between the Taleban and al-Qaeda, and has also had the effect of propping up warlordism and corruption rather than facilitating a shift towards democracy and popular political involvement.

President Obama's announcement has been welcomed by Republicans but appears to be sowing deep seeds of discord within his own Democratic Party, much of which opposes the 'surge'.

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