On June 10th, a coalition of organizations held a protest at the White House to welcome home Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The protest was a counter-balance to the reprehensible attacks on Sgt. Bergdahl and his family in the corporate media by war advocates — the people who have gotten the United States into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and favor drone killings of civilians.
The organizations involved included Veterans For Peace, the veterans group March Forward, CODE PINK, the ANSWER Coalition, American Muslim Alliance and Popular Resistance.
The message of the organizations was that Sgt. Bergdahl should not be criticized as he is a victim of US military policy in Afghanistan. They called for an end to the Afghanistan War with all troops brought home immediately andthe closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. They applauded Bergdahl for realizing that he had been misled about the US mission in Afghanistan and rethinking his views on the war. Below is a statement by Gerry Condon of Veterans For Peace and a photo essay by Ted Majdosz.
Veterans For Peace Statement Welcoming Home Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
Delivered by Gerry Condon, VFP National Board Vice President
Five more U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan yesterday. They were killed by a NATO airstrike, so-called “friendly fire.” Who is to blame for these deaths? Certainly not Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who did not order U.S. troops into an endless and pointless war in Afghanistan.
Veterans For Peace has had few opportunities to applaud the actions of President Obama. We are profoundly disappointed that the president has continued the aggressive foreign policies of the Bush Administration. But today we can thank President Obama for a couple steps in the right direction.
President Obama did the right thing when he brought home a U.S. prisoner of war from Afghanistan.
President Obama did the right thing when he released five Afghan prisoners of war from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo.
But President Obama did the wrong thing when he decided that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan for another 2-1/2 years, and then some. The deaths of five U.S. soldier yesterday is the kind of bad news we can expect as long as U.S. troops are in harm’s way.
As Vietnam veteran John Kerry once famously said, “How do we ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake.”
Veterans For Peace wants to speak directly to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl:
We love you, Sgt. Bergdahl. We have great respect for you and your wonderful family. We are happy that you will be reunited soon!
Veterans For Peace also has a message for President Obama:
Mr. President, I am speaking for thousands of veterans from too many wars. We want you to bring ALL the troops home from Afghanistan! Bring them home now, and take good care of them when they get here.
And Mr. President, it is time to release all the prisoners of war from Guantanamo. End the torture, Shut Down Guantanamo now!
The American people are tired of war. We are ready to live in peace.