Protesters march to oppose Afghan troop surge


At Market and Powell streets in San Francisco, members of several anti-war groups gathered to voice their opposition to the troop surge in Afghanistan. The vigil was organized by Code Pink and The World Can't Wait and The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.

At 6 p.m. the groups marched together down Market Street to Fourth Street where they would go to Mission and back to Market and Powell.

The demonstration came exactly 24 hours after President Obama announced his plan to send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. In his speech, Obama said the troop buildup is needed to finish the job in that country, to defeat the insurgence, and to help build a reliable Afghan army.

The cost of the new plan is expected to be $30 billion for 2010 alone. Protesters say that money should be spent on jobs and education, not war.

The protesters gathered say they feel somewhat betrayed by the president because they voted for him thinking he would deescalate military involvement in that part of the world.

"I think millions of people believed that he was a peace candidate and what we've seen is that he's following the war agenda. Really, the lesson should be it's only when the people take action that things are going to really change," said protest organizer Richard Vecker.

"People that accept this is complicit with crimes, you know, the crimes that people refused to accept under Bush, people are accepting now under Obama and that needs to change," said protest organizer Giovanni Jackson.

Obama did say he would begin withdrawing troops in July 2011, which does nothing for the protesters who say the U.S. shouldn't be there at all.

Many are hoping members of Congress will use its power of the purse to refuse funding for the troop buildup.

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