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    Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Votersi
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    Aru Pande
    February 09, 2016 4:14 PM
    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Aru Pande

    Talk at a pro-Palestinian rally in downtown Manchester is not about the weather or the primary, but why President Barack Obama has not yet shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison.

    “He’s been wanting to close Guantanamo from the start. [Some say] ‘Oh, he broke his promise,'" a man at the rally said.

    Former Peace Corps member Tom Coffman is here to stand up to what he calls a fascist Donald Trump and a fascist Israel.

    “I watched fascism be destroyed in South Africa, it’s time to destroy fascism in the Middle East,” Coffman said while holding a sign asking “Got Democracy?”

    Protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, Feb. 8, 2016. (Photo: A. Pande / VOA)
    Protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, Feb. 8, 2016. (Photo: A. Pande / VOA)

    At this small, silent protest, it’s not national security or the economy that will determine Mary Wilson’s vote – but the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is rarely mentioned by American politicians.

    “Anyone who looks at what’s happening in the Middle East in the last few years better care about foreign policy. We think this issue is central to our position in the world, and the safety of our troops and the safety of our people,” the Orford, New Hampshire resident said.

    The small group of silent protesters includes Veterans for Peace member Art Desmarais, who questions U.S. policy overseas, whether it is the war in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    “Every soldier wants to defend his homeland and their country, but they want to do it under the right ideas, ideas that we were founded on, not ideas that the government says we need to go here and do this or that,” Desmarais said while wearing his U.S. Army uniform.

    When it comes to casting his ballot in the presidential election, Desmarais said he will be thinking beyond his backyard.

    “I guess its about finding someone who is going to make choices, not just for us, but the rest of the world, so they have some sense of humanity,” he said.

    Protester who is against the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen in Manchester, New Hampshire, Feb. 8, 2016. (Photo. A. Pande / VOA)
    Protester who is against the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen in Manchester, New Hampshire, Feb. 8, 2016. (Photo. A. Pande / VOA)

    The sentiment is shared among many here, who say they are skeptical any presidential candidate, whether Democrat or Republican, will be able to make a truly positive difference when it comes to U.S. policy overseas.

    “We have wackos like Ted Cruz and fascists like Donald Trump. We have capitalist apologists like Hillary Clinton, we have a progressive like Bernie,” Coffman said. “But what are they going to do to liberate American foreign policy so that it supports and not destroys people all over the planet?”

    Protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, Feb. 8, 2016. (Photo: A. Pande / VOA)
    Protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, Feb. 8, 2016. (Photo: A. Pande / VOA)

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    Comments
         
    by: Ricardo from: Brazil
    February 09, 2016 1:13 PM
    I know there is no perfect country, but the people who are protesting are right.

    The saddest part of this matter is that Israel will receive 3.1 billion dollars from the U.S.in 2016 as a foreign aid
    .
    Could someone, please, explain to me what is the real reason funding Israel to kill Palestinians, besides take their land and homes? Why the U. S. is being so kind helping the refugees in Syria, and at the same time causing so much suffering to Palestinians?
    In Response

    by: Alice from: Canada
    February 10, 2016 11:39 AM
    While I believe Israel should give up on its settlements in the west bank because its better for Israel I do not believe it will make much difference to the Palestinians if they do. Israel is the whipping boy for what is really a Muslim assault on western values and institutions. No amount of concessions to the Palestinians will ever get them to give up their stated [Hamas] goals of murdering every Jew on the planet and when they are done with that to go on and kill every other 'infidel' on earth. I can not explain why so called 'progressives' have made common cause with Muslims who are openly misogynists, and support pedophilia, slavery, imperialism and genocide.
    In Response

    by: Al Breeck
    February 10, 2016 1:32 AM
    These "progressives" use a phony made up "War" with Syria to justify demanding America turn its back on Syria.
    The Obama Admin. never proposed any "War" with Syria - even in 2013 after the Damascus Gassing Massacre.

    Despite the horrors of Assad prisons - see U.N. Report accusing Assad of "extermination of detainees" just released - and monstrous bombing and starvation tactics, no one is proposing a "War" or even a "Cold War" confronting Russia - Putin and Assad over Syria at least.

    IF the man pictured had done any research he would know the US desires to build up the Defenses of Europe against the rogue unpredictable belligerent War Monger Vladimir Putin.
    Which actually is a Cold War started by Putin.
    In Response

    by: Will Thomas from: New Hampshire
    February 09, 2016 11:15 PM
    Ricardo is absolutely correct! US taxpayers help to fund a nearly 50-year old ugly and brutal Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and of Gaza (world's largest outdoor prison). US says the Israeli colonial settlements built on stolen Palestinian lands are illegal, but the US does nothing to stop this theft which is supported by a fascist and racist Israeli government.

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