FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2009
Contact: Tulsa Peace Fellowship, Steering Committee
TULSA PEACE FELLOWSHIP CRITICAL OF OBAMA’S AFGHANISTAN SURGE PLAN
December 2, 2009 (Tulsa, OK) – The Tulsa Peace Fellowship issued a statement Wednesday criticizing President Obama’s Afghanistan troop surge and pledged to raise local awareness about his “reckless” strategy. A decades-old local peace organization, TPF has been a vocal critic of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, that have turned into prolonged occupations by the U.S. military.
“How many troops must fight and die before the President realizes that escalating the war in Afghanistan serves none of our national interests?” asked board member January Hoskin.
After hearing Obama's speech, TPF grassroots members expressed frustration over the high cost of the troop surge, both in terms of the budget and lives.
“Is it really worth it to spend $100 billion a year to have 100,000 troops chasing after a few terrorists in the most remote mountains on earth?” asked Hoskin.
TPF chairman Tony Nuspl said that the expenditure necessary to fund Obama’s plan will harm the nation, taking funds away from other priorities.
“Congress should get serious with a pay-as-you-go approach in Afghanistan, rather than adding to the war debt created by the Bush administration. How many jobs, how much education, how much health care could be provided with $100 billion, right here in the U.S.?” asked Nuspl. “Even spending some of that money on more constructive projects in Afghanistan would be a better use of the money,” he added.
TPF urges Congress to oppose funding the president’s plan. According to TPF, quick action by Congress to oppose funding would serve to alter the president’s plan before more troops are put in harm's way.
“Congress has yet to act,” said board member Clark Inkanish. “Congress holds the purse strings and should not blindly fund the president’s plan. In fact, it can refuse to fund the plan altogether,” he added.
Nuspl said that Obama’s approach to the war, while disappointing, gave TPF some reason to be optimistic. Obama acknowledged that the cost of long-term occupation of Afghanistan is too high and that the occupation cannot be open-ended. Obama set July 2011 as the date for the draw down of U.S. troops. Obama promised to uphold human rights, a concern for TPF members who are aware of abuses that have occurred in the past at the prison in Bagram, Afghanistan. Obama reiterated that Guantanamo would close.
“We are certainly disappointed in the President’s plan, but we are not so discouraged as to give up,” said TPF secretary/treasurer Judy Ramsey. “In fact, the peace movement has been largely responsible for raising awareness of the folly of our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan and pushing U.S. foreign policy towards ending those wars. Obama’s troop surge plan will embolden us to work harder for peace.”
Ramsey urged those interested in supporting TPF to contact the organization online at the following webpage https://tulsapeacefellowship.ning.com/
TPF organized a protest against Obama’s plan on Tuesday, in Brookside, in Tulsa, and plans to continue raising public awareness on the issue with another protest this Saturday, from 12pm to 2pm, at the corner of 41st & Yale, in Tulsa, and a film screening on Thursday Dec 10th, 6:30 pm at Hardesty Public Library.