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Jon Knutson, Published December 02 2009

F-M protesters rally against troop surge

Sending more troops to Afghanistan is a tragic mistake, a group of protesters said Tuesday evening in Fargo.

About 20 people gathered on the Veterans Memorial Bridge on Main Avenue between Fargo and Moorhead. Most held signs protesting war. A few beat with drumsticks on the bottom of pails and clanged kitchen pots together.

They were rallying in opposition to President Barack Obama’s plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

“If you look back at history in Vietnam, this is more of the same,” said Al Coen of Fargo.

“The generals want more troops, and we give it to them,” he said.

Juneve Givers of Moorhead said news of more troops going to Afghanistan is particularly sad given the arrival of Advent, or the period immediately before Christmas.

She said she wishes there was greater realization that “people everyone are capable of doing bad things, as well as wondrous things.”

She also said America needs leaders who are “statesmen, not politicians.”

Karl Keene of Moorhead said Great Britain and the former Soviet Union both had problems militarily in Afghanistan.

“It’s been an empire-destroyer for many years,” he said.

The destruction now occurring in Afghanistan “makes my heart hurt,” Keene said. “War is just not the answer.”

The rally, billed as a “vigil and action call, was sponsored by the North Dakota Peace Coalition in Fargo, the FM Veterans For Peace, the Presentation Sisters and the Lutheran Peace Fellowship.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530