Friday, February 4, 2011

American writers and poets have held a gathering outside the White House to express their opposition to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The White House vigil on Thursday was sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies and Split This Rock and included 16 minutes of silence in representation of every year of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Press TV correspondent reported.

“We are here as poets and writers to speak out against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the US occupation of those two countries and to call for self-determination for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Sarah Browning, Director of Split This Rock.

“We feel bound, as Americans in particular, to speak out for the people of Iraq and throughout the world to know that we oppose our government's position,” she added.

The gathering comes as former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in an autobiography to be released next week, has said he has no regrets for the Iraq war

In response, poet and activist Brenda Hillman said at the vigil, “The wars were started on fraudulent basis and I think it is contemptible that he had no regrets. He has not read the fact that his own administration uncovered at the end of its tenure there that there were no weapons of mass destruction, which was obviously the [US'] alleged reason for going to Iraq.”

Since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, at least 4,440 US soldiers have been killed and more than 31,830 others injured.

The devastating war has also left more than 1,300,000 Iraqi civilians dead and some 4.7 million Iraqis displaced, reports say.

Although NATO and the United States have close to 150,000 troops in Afghanistan, militant attacks are rampant in the war-torn country.

More than 2,000 civilians were killed in violence across Afghanistan last year, making it the deadliest year for civilians since the US-led invasion in 2001.

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