Anti-war groups disappointed with Obama's speech


By Kristen Peters

Bay Area-based anti-war organizations were disappointed that President Barack Obama reaffirmed his support for war in Afghanistan while ousting the commanding general there, saying the doomed and dangerous military intervention is a bigger problem than the generals involved in executing it.

General Stanley McChrystal was today relieved from his post by the president for exhibiting an openly contemptuous view of the Obama administration and other civilian leaders in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, replacing him with General David Petraeus, pending approval from Congress.

“There is a change in personnel, but not a change in policy,” President Obama said during his announcement in the Rose Garden.

That was precisely what the anti-war crowd didn't want to hear.

“Although there is a personnel change, there is no change in the occupation of Afghanistan,” Nancy Mancias of Code Pink told the Guardian. “The troops are still present. Local groups need to remain focused on bringing our troops home, halt funding and stop the continued occupation overflowing into Pakistan.”

Instead of finding red flags in McChrystal's insubordinate comments or the RS article's quotes from disgruntled soldiers and dubious diplomats, Obama simply used the occasion to mix up the staff hierarchy running a war that few think is going well.

“It has proven an incredible waste of resources,” Richard Becker, regional director of the Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition, told the Guardian. “No one can pretend that anything resembling progress has been made. In fact, it’s just the opposite.”

More deaths have occurred over the last 10 months than have taken place in the last five years of combat. In addition to the staggering number of casualties accompanying the war, it also boasts a hefty price tag. According to organizational leaders, expenditure on the war has just exceeded the $1 trillion mark with no end in sight.

“The war -- which will soon enter its tenth year - has meant a complete disaster for the people of our nation, a continuation of disasters for U.S. policy, and has inflicted disaster on the people of Afghanistan,” Becker said.