Peace Activists Turns Backs on Gen. Petraeus at Georgia Tech

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(APN) ATLANTA — On January 19, 2010, thirteen Atlanta activists from Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition (GPJC), and Atlanta Grandmothers for Peace stood in silence and turned their backs on US General David Petraeus before being removed from the 1,100-person Ferst Theater on the Georgia Tech campus.

The activists wore t-shirts with messages like War is Not the Answer, Money for Jobs Not War, No to Endless War and Occupation, Veterans for Peace, and End the War – Yes We Can!

The activists included Randy Aronov; Bernice Bass; Doris Benit; Mike Burke; Pamela Chubbuck; David Epstein; Reid Jenkins; Ann Mauney; Betsy Miklethun; Dot Shaw; George Sossenko; and the present writer–Gloria Tatum.

Mauney, of GPJC, contradicted Petraeus’s public relations message that the US is winning in the occupations of Iraq or Afghanistan.

“There is no military solution to the Afghanistan conflict, and… Gen. Petraeus, as a chief strategist for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and occupations, carries responsibilities for bankrupt US war policies,” Mauney said during the protest.

“General Petraeus, the man from CENTCOM at MacDill AFB in St. Petersburg, definitely had the glint of a fifth star in his eyes and he reinforced that by telling a giant whopper about how the invasion of Afghanistan was launched after 9/11 because that’s where the terrorists were from,” Burke, a veteran of the US Invasion of Vietnam, wrote in an email obtained by Atlanta Progressive News.

In fact, the US government’s own investigation into 9/11 contradicts Petraeus’s assertion by concluding that the majority of terrorists who attacked the US were from Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan.

Petraeus then began his question and answer session with the rows of clean-cut Tech students and academics who were far more interested in the economics of occupation than a pull-out date.

Outside the Ferst Center, other opponents of endless war and occupation held a press conference and anti-war rally.

“Ever since the escalation in Afghanistan was announced, there has been a sharp upsurge in terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US,” Dianne Mathiowetz, International Action Center Atlanta, said in a statement.

“Isn’t it obvious that these endless wars just create endless terrorism?” Mathiowetz asked. “Why is General Petraeus only taking questions from Tech students? Is he afraid of questions from spouses and other loved ones of those who are dying in these endless wars, or from taxpayers who are paying for the war?”

Bob Goodman of the GPJC–as well as an APN contributor–composed and passed out 500 flyers to people waiting in line at the Ferst Center, with the questions advocates would have asked General Petraeus if given the opportunity.

Video by Judy Conder of Artemis Productions.

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