Visiting Baghdad shows that Iraq is a high priority for President Barack Obama. Unlike Bush or McCain, Obama promised to redeploy troops from Iraq in 16 months. Yet, the president’s plan announced earlier this year does not fulfill his promise. Leaving 35,000 to 50,000 ‘residual forces’ until the end of 2011 is unacceptable. We call on him to keep his campaign promise because this illegal, immoral occupation, which failed to find weapons of mass destruction, must end by removing all U.S. forces, contractors and bases from Iraq by June 2010.
Obama’s plan to help save the lives of millions of vulnerable Iraqis is laudable. The U.S. must fulfill its responsibility to help re-build the country with Iraqi-led reconstruction and humanitarian aid and provisions for the millions of Iraqi refugees.
While troops leave Iraq, they must not go to Afghanistan. The 21,000 more American troops in Afghanistan will not protect Americans against terrorist attacks. To the contrary, more troops, air and Predator drone strikes and night raids that kill, injure and traumatize innocent civilians drive people to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Instead, the U.S. and international community should increase funding for Afghan-led humanitarian aid, development work, and landmine clean up while supporting regional diplomacy.