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UM Mission Agency Musters Resources To Defeat America In Iraq


From: UMNS All News [mailto:UMNS-ALL-NEWS@UMCGROUPEMAIL.ORG] On Behalf Of NewsDesk Sent: Friday, January 12, 2007 4:53 PM To: UMNS-ALL-NEWS@UMCGROUPEMAIL.ORG Subject: [UMNS-ALL-NEWS] UMNS# 021-United Methodist executive opposes troop surge

United Methodist executive opposes troop surge

Jan. 12, 2007

NOTE: Photographs are available at http://umns.umc.org.

By Kathy L. Gilbert*

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, the top executive for the church's social justice agency has called on United Methodists to say no to more troops in Iraq and to participate in a Jan. 27 rally in Washington to end the war in Iraq.

"As the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. approaches, we are reminded of his prophetic words decrying the Vietnam War," said Jim Winkler, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, in a Jan. 12 statement.

"Dr. King stated that given the widespread destruction caused by that war, the people of Vietnam must have seen us as 'strange liberators.' So, too, is the United States viewed today by the people of Iraq."

Winkler called upon the U.S. Congress to oppose sending more troops by withholding funds.

"We further urge Congress not to provide any additional money to continue the war this year. Congress should provide funding only to bring U.S. troops home and to aid in rebuilding Iraq."

President George Bush announced Jan. 10 that the only way to stop the violence in Iraq was to send more than 20,000 additional American troops into combat.

In his address to the nation, Bush said, "Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory."

"In more than four years of war and preparation for war, President Bush has repeatedly said that his military leaders have told him they have sufficient troops to fight this war," Winkler said. "Now, the president has changed course, overruling his generals by ordering up more than 20,000 additional soldiers, even though he has been advised this will not work."

Winkler concluded his statement by asking for prayers for peace in Iraq.

*Gilbert is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

The following is a statement of The United Methodist Board of Church and Society issued by Jim Winkler, general secretary.

Path to Peace

by Jim Winkler

President Bush has spoken to the people of the United States and announced plans to escalate the war in Iraq. We are disappointed by the lack of vision and imagination which sees more force as the only answer. This is not a time to escalate a failed policy of war but to begin a serious attempt at a robust diplomatic effort.

Our Board's October 2005 statement calling on the United States to work with the United Nations to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict still holds.

As the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. approaches, we are reminded of his prophetic words decrying the Vietnam War. Dr. King stated that given the widespread destruction caused by that war, the people of Vietnam must have seen us as "strange liberators." So, too, is the United States viewed today by the people of Iraq.

At least 5,000 Iraqi civilians are being killed each month. Civil war and ethnic cleansing in Iraq is now a reality. Millions of Iraqis have left their country and the Christian population has experienced disproportionate suffering. Iraq is in a shambles.

The President told us one of the big problems to date is the restriction placed on U.S. and Iraqi soldiers to pursue resistance fighters into their neighborhoods. Now, he says, U.S. soldiers will have a green light to attack and Iraqi forces will go door-to-door aiming to win the confidence of the people. We fear the plan is to carry out a more ferocious war in the midst of neighborhoods occupied by women, children, and poor people.

The President told us there will be more Iraqi and American deaths and we must exercise patience and resolve. He told us to prepare for more sacrifice. In direct contradiction of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group recommendations, the President ruled out cooperation with Iran and Syria to bring peace to Iraq.

In more than four years of war and preparation for war, President Bush has repeatedly said that his military leaders have told him they have sufficient troops to fight this war. Now, the President has changed course, overruling his generals by ordering up more than 20,000 additional soldiers even though he has been advised this will not work.

We call upon the U.S. Congress to oppose the President's decision to send more troops to Iraq by withholding funds to escalate the war. We further urge Congress not to provide any additional money to continue the war this year. Congress should provide funding only to bring U.S. troops home and to aid in rebuilding Iraq.

We call upon United Methodists to join "America Says NO More Troops," www.americansayno.org  and to participate in the January 27 rally in Washington to end the war in Iraq, Please visit www.unitedforpeace.org  for more ways.

Please pray for peace in Iraq.

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