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NZ activist: Obama is after votes not peace

Jun 23rd, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

PEACE PROTEST: Valerie Morse (left) and Don Franks hand out pamphlets in Cuba Mall.

PRESIDENT Barack Obama’s pledge to withdraw  troops from Afghanistan is nothing more than an attempt to maintain the presidency, say  Wellington peace activists.

 Obama’s announcement is an attempt to massage the US public so he is in better position for the US elections next year, rather than to change anything on the ground in Afghanistan, says Urewera 17 defendant Valerie Morse.

The US public overwhelmingly oppose the war, said Ms Morse, an active peace protestor arrested in October, 2007, as part of the New Zealand police “terror” raids and a key figure in Peace Action Wellington’s campaign against New Zealand’s involvement in the US-led war on terror.

Ms Morse and fellow campaigner Don Franks were handing out leaflets on Cuba St today in what Mr Franks called an attempt to revive the movement against New Zealand’s involvement in the war.

“Our strategy is to run this stall and see what the response is,” he said.

“Most people are indifferent. A small number of people are hostile… and some people are sympathetic and want to be involved.”

He was speaking moments after being confronted by a man who strongly supported the US effort to eradicate Al Qaeda from Afghanistan.

President Obama has announced  that 10,000 American troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2011, with a further 23,000 to be withdrawn by the end of 2012.

In October, it will be 10 years since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

New Zealand sent troops to Afghanistan in 2003, and in September 2009 Prime Minister John Key told NATO that New Zealand wanted to exit within three to five years.

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is I am a Whitireia Polytechnic journalism student. I have an academic background in politics and international relations, and worked as a policy analyst across government before deciding to pursue a career in journalism.
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