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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:American Peace Movement Rejects Obama Iraq and Afghanistan War Policy
27 Mar 2009
BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
American Peace Movement Rejects Obama Iraq and Afghanistan War Policy

Interview with Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice, conducted by Scott Harris

President Barack Obama's Feb. 27th announcement detailing his plan to withdraw most U.S. combat forces from Iraq by August 2010 and all remaining troops by December 2011, was met with disappointment by many activists in the American peace movement. What upset many was the president's plan to leave 35,000 to 50,000 troops behind to train and advise the Iraqi military and engage in unspecified anti-terrorist operations. Disturbingly, some U.S. generals have stated that they believe U.S. forces should remain in Iraq past the December 2011 deadline agreed to by former president Bush and the Iraqi government. Obama's order to deploy an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan further angered anti-war activists.

Although violence has made a dramatic decline in Iraq in recent months, there has been a recent upsurge in the number of suicide bombings and signs of restiveness by former Sunni insurgents on the U.S. payroll. Most of the Sunni resistance fighters now receiving payment in American dollars, known as the Sons of Iraq, have not yet secured jobs promised to them within Iraq's military, police and government. On the sixth anniversary of the war, more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died; 4,200 U.S. service men and women have lost their lives and over $657 billion has been spent.

Between The Lines Scott Harris spoke with Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice, the nation's largest anti-war coalition. Cagan assesses President Obama's Iraq withdrawal plan and the role of the peace movement in pressuring the new administration for a more rapid exit from both Iraq and Afghanistan. She also talks about an upcoming protest action scheduled for April 4 on Wall Street in New York City.

Contact United for Peace and Justice, the nationwide coalition of peace groups by calling (212) 868-5545 or visit their website at



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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
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