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Obama's War Speech Woke the Sleeping Giant -- Anger Over Afghan Surge Fuels Country-Wide Protests

The president's announcement of a troop surge in Afghanistan this week prompted protests in over 80 communities across the country.
 
 
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CODEPINK issued an alert on Thursday, December 3, about the President's West Point speech on Afghanistan and his failure to respond to the many voices calling for peace. We asked people to email the White House to voice their concerns.

The alert had been out for three minutes when the phone rang. My assistant Mark answered, then turned to me and said, "The White House is calling."

I picked up the phone, and discovered it was Jayne in the President's Office of Public Engagement. "How did you feel about the President's speech?" she asked thoughtfully.

I told her I was feeling horrible, that I disagreed with almost everything he said. I said he didn't have the courage to be in his own body as he delivered the words that would cause the deaths of so many and that if he was willing to couch his position in so many untruths then I couldn't believe anything he said--even about why we were there. Really, we are going to send 100,000 troops, over 100,000 contractors and 100 billion dollars to deal with 100 Al Qaeda in Afghanistan? It reminds me of an Afghan woman's tirade to me when I was there, "You want me to believe that the most powerful nation in the world is being held hostage by those skinny, lice covered, illiterate, dirty men in those craggy hills of this broken country?"

Jayne said, "I totally hear what you are saying." She indicated that the President has told them to stay open to all opinions and she understood I might feel that way. And then she came to the purpose of her call. "I want to keep our lines of communication open, but I can't do it if I can't work. I have an email from your list hitting my box every second and can't get any work done. Can you do something about that so our communication can be more productive? Can you send out another alert with a better address?"

I quickly looked at my computer to see how many emails had been sent out from our list and read the most recent:

You have failed the critical test of both a Commander-in-Chief, and of a man: In escalating our eight-year-long military effort to subdue or occupy Afghanistan you have demonstrated neither judgment and integrity nor courage. You have sentenced to death countless Afghans, Americans and others, on our side all duped over and over again by the cynical, high-powered sales pitch attached to our disastrous misadventures in the Middle East, a war which may well be fatal to the republic itself, all to save your political image. -- James Arthur Wagner

I was transfixed and couldn't help reading more and more of the heartfelt messages.

Obama. There's such a thing as being "too late," as MLK warned. Be now. Be courage. Be for us. Be not for corporate oil/gas/coal and defense machines. Be a father. Be for children, schools and universities. Be for parks and swimming pools. Be for jobs and living wages and food on the table. Be for roofs overhead and safe streets. Be for renewable energy and clean air. Be for fish and frogs, not poisoned by acid rain and pesticides. Be for children in dirt villages where U.S. tanks roam. Be for stopping cluster bombs. Be for returning Iraqi refugees to their homes. Be not for dominion. Be a peacemaker. -- Sharon Rose

It was working! Impassioned CODEPINKers all over the globe were being heard inside the White House!

"There is nothing I can do," I told Jayne, "but maybe in your email program you could create a folder they all go to. I assume your system is that sophisticated." I kept reading the messages that continued to fly onto the web page.