CODEPINK calls on Congress to reject Obama request for $83 billion for wars;
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 10, 2009 CONTACT
CODEPINK calls on Congress to reject Obama request
WASHINGTON -- Representing the voice of millions of Americans and those worldwide, CODEPINK calls on Congress to reject President Obama's outrageous request for an additional $83.4 billion to be spent on ineffectual, destabilizing, immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Despite Obama's campaign promise never to ask for war funding as a supplemental bill as opposed to the regular budget, war officials say this supplemental is "necessary" to pay for wars through mid-year. This explanation for the rushed spending, strategically downplayed amid the start of a holiday weekend, reflects the same rush into war six years ago and recent rush into taxpayer bailouts for mismanaged corporations. It leaves no time for Congress to thoroughly analyze the true need for such funds and it ignores the fact that the United States -- and the American people -- cannot afford to spend $83 billion dollars on war at a time of sky-high unemployment and record deficits.
It also ignores widespread dissent in American and abroad against continuation of the wars, despite Defense Secretary Gates' statement that he does not know anybody who believes "a sudden and precipitous withdrawal of the United States from both places" to be a good idea. A USA Today/Gallup Poll earlier this spring found 42 percent of Americans felt the Afghanistan war was "a mistake," an increase of 30 percent earlier this year and 34 percent in August 2008. A March CBS poll found six in 10 Americans now say the U.S. did the wrong thing in entering Iraq.
“A speedy withdrawal is exactly what millions worldwide want and what we need,” said CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin. “Prolonged war means more civilian casualties, which means more anger towards the United States and more recruits for al-Qaeda. It's a vicious cycle that has to end.”
The economic crisis at home lends an added urgency to end these wars. CODEPINK calls for a reallocation of war funds into the needs of the American people: health care, education, green jobs and infrastructure. It calls for the removal of all troops from Iraq, as well as contractors and bases. In the case of Afghanistan and Pakistan, it calls for a surge in negotiations, with women at the table, and a surge in economic and humanitarian aid.
For interviews and more information, please call Jean Stevens, national media coordinator, at 508-769-2138 or Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, at 415-235-6517.