As the World March arrives in the United States in the city of New York at the start of a 3 day tour, it precedes, by one day, President Obama’s speech at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York where commentators are widely predicting the President to announce an increase of anything up to 40,000 troops to strengthen US military presence in Afghanistan.
The World March has five main proposals, one of which calls for the immediate withdrawal of invading troops from occupied territories. As such, we are strongly opposed to President Obama’s predicted announcement to increase US and international troop presence in Afghanistan.
Ours is a position built on a moral argument: treat others as you would like to be treated. Violence and war do not resolve conflicts, but create the conditions for new problems that will re-surface time and again. An increase in troop numbers will inevitably lead to an increase in civilian deaths and casualties, an increase in orphaned children, and an increase in disaffected young men who believe that violence is the only way to survive in life. An increase in troop numbers would sow the seeds of terrorism and make the world a more dangerous place for us all to live in.
We call on President Obama to take a lead in this moment, to live up to the Nobel Peace Prize that was recently bestowed on him and to seek an alternative solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. The money allotted for troops could be more wisely spent on the development of the region, leading to social justice for all, and on the elimination of the roots of terrorism that supposedly led his country into this interminable war in the first place.
Rafael de la Rubia, Spokesperson for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence and President, World without Wars, Spain