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Canada-wide Afghanistan protest on NATO anniversary

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This is a joint call-out from the Collectif Échec à la guerre and the Canadian Peace Alliance to demonstrate on April 4th to demand the end of the war in Afghanistan, as part of the worlwide day of protest that will mark the next NATO Summit.

In solidarity !

The Follow-Up Committee of Collectif Echec a la guerre

24 February 2009 Canada and NATO out of Afghanistan Worldwide demonstrations during the NATO Summit

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will mark its 60th anniversary on April 4 and 5, 2009. At the same time, demonstrations will take place all over the world calling for an end to NATO’s war in Afghanistan. The Canadian Peace Alliance and the Collectif Échec à la guerre are calling for pan-Canadian demonstrations on April 4 to demand an end to the NATO-led occupation that has already killed thousands of Afghan civilians and threatens to bring war to the entire region.

After more than seven years of occupation, there is still no end in sight to the killing in Afghanistan. Following the advice of US General David Petraeus, the new Obama administration has agreed to an Iraq-style “surge” in Afghanistan. The plan is to send an additional 30,000 US troops. The US also wants to buy the support of Afghan militias by arming and paying them to fight on the side of the NATO occupation forces. There is widespread fear that such a move will increase tensions between ethnic groups and further destabilize the country.

In addition, the war in Afghanistan has already expanded into Pakistan, with an increase in US-led strikes in the border areas. The spread of war threatens to create massive social and political instability in a nuclear-armed nation.

NATO is a relic of the Cold War. It has tried to reinvent itself in the years since, and has now become a military alliance that aggressively pursues the interests of its member countries, principally the United States, in areas far beyond the North Atlantic. In doing so, NATO is creating and stoking conflict. The proposed expansion of NATO membership to the Ukraine and Georgia, and NATO support for a “Missile Defense” plan in Eastern Europe, are fuelling a new arms race–and increasing the danger that Canada will be involved in other NATO conflicts.

Even more worrying, NATO maintains its policy of pre-emptive first-strike using nuclear weapons, a policy that encourages nuclear proliferation, and heightens the prospect of nuclear war.

NATO members account for at least 75 per cent of global military expenditures, allocating $1 trillion a year to military spending. In Canada, both Liberal and Conservative governments have invoked “our NATO commitment” in Afghanistan as justification for skyrocketing military expenses, now earmarked at $490 billion over the next 20 years. Canada–like other NATO members including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy–continues to support NATO’s war in Afghanistan against the peoples will. On March 13, 2008–just three weeks before a NATO Summit–Parliament voted to extend Canada’s mission in Afghanistan to July 2011. Polls showed that 58 per cent of Canadians opposed the extension.

Real security and prosperity will only be possible in Afghanistan when Western governments end their support for NATO’s war. NATO members must be accountable to their own populations, and not to NATO generals.

Join us on April 4 to demand the withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan, and an end to NATO’s war.

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