This is a video from Australia about pro peace protests against the visit by United States vice president Dick Cheney.
By Margarita Windisch & Pip Hinman in Australia:
Unions call for troops to leave Afghanistan
3 May 2008
The death of the fifth Australian solider in Afghanistan on April 27, followed a few days later by the wounding of another, has refocused attention on Australia’s involvement in the US-led occupation.
Defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon, in a fleeting visit to troops stationed in Oruzgan [Uruzgan] Province, in south-central Afghanistan on April 29, told the troops to “keep well”.
But several union leaders have called for the troops to be brought home. Tim Gooden, Geelong Regional Trades and Labor Council secretary, said on April 29 that while the soldier’s death is sad, the Rudd government’s response is “tragic”.
“The news that Lance Corporal Jason Marks has been killed in Afghanistan is sad but Canberra’s response is tragic as it means the troops will be there for the long haul. That means more troops will be sent to their deaths in an unwinnable and unjust war of occupation.”
May 3, 2008
Pentagon Considers Adding Forces in Afghanistan
By STEVEN LEE MYERS and THOM SHANKER
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is considering sending as many as 7,000 more American troops to Afghanistan next year to make up for a shortfall in contributions from NATO allies, senior Bush administration officials said.
They said the step would push the number of American forces there to roughly 40,000, the highest level since the war began more than six years ago, and would require at least a modest reduction in troops from Iraq.
The planning began in recent weeks, reflecting a growing resignation to the fact that NATO is unable or unwilling to contribute more troops despite public pledges of an intensified effort in Afghanistan from the presidents and prime ministers who attended an alliance summit meeting in Bucharest, Romania, last month.
The shortfalls in troop commitments have cast doubt on claims by President Bush and his aides that NATO was stepping up to provide more help in Afghanistan, where the government of President Hamid Karzai faces a resurgent threat from the Taliban and remnants of Al Qaeda.
The increasing proportion of United States troops, from about half to about two-thirds of the foreign troops in Afghanistan, would be likely to result in what one senior administration official described as “the re-Americanization” of the war.
“There are simply going to be more American forces than we’ve ever had there,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing future military planning.
A dozen NATO countries have pledged a total of about 2,000 troops, according to senior NATO officials, who provided the information on condition of anonymity according to standard diplomatic rules. Senior alliance commanders in Afghanistan have said they need about 10,000 more troops.
Only one country so far has actually begun preparing more troops to deploy: France, which is sending 700 to Afghanistan, NATO officials said.
Few of the additional troops are expected to arrive any time soon, the officials added.
Officials stressed that no formal new American deployment plans for Afghanistan had been presented to the Pentagon or the White House, and that the decision could be left to the next president, though they would not rule out the prospect that Mr. Bush would order a troop increase.
Mr. Bush has long faced criticism that the Iraq war distracted the country from confronting the Qaeda threat in Afghanistan, and Democrats as well as Republicans have expressed general support for shifting more attention to Afghanistan.
There are about 62,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, about 34,000 of them American, up from just 25,000 American troops in 2005. The American troops are divided into a force of 16,000 who operate under NATO command and 18,000 who conduct counterterrorism and other missions under American command outside the NATO structure, according to Pentagon statistics. The initial planning under way would send about two additional brigades of American forces, or about 7,000 troops, to Afghanistan next year. That would meet two-thirds of what commanders have portrayed in recent months as a shortfall of three brigades, or about 10,000 troops, including combat forces, trainers, intelligence officers and crews for added helicopters and troop carriers.
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