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  The United States has already withdrawn nearly 100,000 troops from Iraq as part of the current draw-down with nearly 40,000 troops remaining, in a non-combat capacity.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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora