News / USA

Despite New Pullout Pledge, US War Vets, Activists Vent

A police on a motorcycle passes a group of Occupy DC protesters as they march from McPherson Square to a Bank of America on K Street in Washington, October 20, 2011.
A police on a motorcycle passes a group of Occupy DC protesters as they march from McPherson Square to a Bank of America on K Street in Washington, October 20, 2011.
Nico Colombant

A new pledge by President Barack Obama to withdraw nearly all troops from Iraq by the end of the year has received mixed reactions from U.S. war veterans and peace activists. They say they will believe there is a pullout when it actually happens.

At the Freedom Plaza in Washington, one of the sites of the ongoing progressive Occupy movement in the United States, 68-year-old Don Anderson rolls around in a wheelchair.

He was wounded during fighting in the Vietnam War in the 1960s.



Anderson, who came from the northwestern state of Oregon to take part in the protest, said it is not only from Iraq that the president should be pulling U.S. troops out.

“I am very jaded toward our foreign policy and our military policy throughout the globe. We still have 30,000 plus of our military stationed in South Korea. For what? We have got thousands in Germany. For what?” asked Anderson.

Focus on U.S. issues

Protesters here also want to see an end to the conflict in Afghanistan, and elsewhere where U.S. troops are deployed, and more government focus on helping with economic and social problems in the United States.

21-year-old Kyle Szlosek, from the northeastern state of Maine, feels sorry for all the U.S. soldiers still risking their lives in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks against the United States in 2001.

“They do not even know why they are fighting anymore. And none of us really know what the fight is about. We just continue this heinous war thinking that it will make the world a better place. We continue this machine of death and expect to find peace, and it is not going to work,” said Szlosek.

Earlier, from the White House briefing room nearby, President Obama said he was bringing the Iraq war to an end.  The United States has already withdrawn nearly 100,000 troops from Iraq as part of the current draw-down with nearly 40,000 troops remaining, in a non-combat capacity.

“The rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year. After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” said Obama.

Deadly, costly war

Prior to the start of the war in 2003, the U.S. and British governments said the possibility of Iraq’s government employing weapons of mass destruction threatened their security and the stability of the Middle East.

The invasion led to the eventual capture of long-time President Saddam Hussein, who was later tried and executed by the new Iraqi government.

Following the invasion, a U.S. fact-finding mission concluded Iraq had ended its nuclear, chemical and biological programs in the early 1990s.

The cost of the war to the U.S. government has been evaluated at more than $700 billion.

The U.S. action also led to an anti U.S-insurgency as well as deadly sectarian violence.

A website called Iraq Body Count says more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during the conflict. At least 10,000 Iraqi soldiers were also killed in the war.

Honoring troops

According to U.S. government statistics more than 4,400 U.S. troops have been killed.

For those returning alive, Obama promised a hero’s welcome.

“The last American soldiers will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops,” said Obama.

Anderson, the Vietnam War veteran, said he hopes that will happen as well, but he doubts there will be sufficient support to deal with all the post-war stress with which the soldiers are dealing.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid