Produced and Written by Sam Mayfield
In Burlington, Vermont over 100 people gathered on Saturday, December 12 to say "No more war in Afghanistan" and to denounce Barack Obama’s 30,000 person troop surge to Afghanistan.
The rally took place one day after 350 members of the Vermont National Guard departed for training before deployment to Afghanistan early next year. Vermont is sending more than 1,500 National Guards people to Afghanistan – the largest deployment of Vermont’s National Guard since World War II. As of July 2009, the Vermont National Guard had a total of 2,660 people enlisted, this leaves Vermont with just over 1,000 guards to protect the state in the event of an emergency.
Dozens of similar demonstrations took place across the country on Saturday. Thousands of people spoke out against the troop surge and the escalating war in Afghanistan.
Ben Dangl, local activist and editor of TowardFreedom.com, attended the rally and said, "This protest coincides with protests around the nation denouncing Obama’s troop escalation in Afghanistan, and should signal the re-emergence of a much-needed anti-war movement. From Afghanistan to Honduras and beyond, Obama’s foreign policy is a devastating continuation of US imperialism and needs to be stopped."
Despite the freezing cold temperature and frigid winds the crowd stayed warm singing chants such as, "Same lies, same plan, troops out of Afghanistan".
The event was organized by local activist Jonathan Leavitt. "Our political leaders have failed us, allowing more Vermont National Guard to be shipped into the meat grinder that is Afghanistan than remain here in Vermont, leaving us dangerously vulnerable to disasters. Until Vermonters organize and rise up in mass civil disobedience, we are allowing ourselves to be implicated in an illegal and immoral occupation, which in turn leaves us vulnerable to the common blizzard," Leavitt explained.
Speaking to the crowd, Leavitt said, "Hopefully starting today…a righteous flame of indignation can rise in the anti-war movement to say no more, not another dollar, not another day for this illegal and immoral war!"