Mid-Missouri Fellowship for Reconciliation prepares for Iraq War protest

Monday, March 9, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA - About a dozen members of Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation protested Saturday morning the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq outside the post office on E. Walnut Street.

"Honor those who refuse to kill," read one sign. "War is not the answer," read another. Mid-MO FOR Coordinator Jeff Stack carried a sign that read: "Bring all U.S. troops home; end wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now!"

This protest is one that the group has maintained nearly every Saturday since 1983 in response to U.S. presence in Lebanon, according to Stack. It is also a precursor to a peace rally the group plans to participate in two weeks.

The rally, titled "Yes We Can! End The Wars!," is sponsored by Mid-Missouri Peaceworks and is scheduled to begin March 21 at 1:30 p.m. at Courthouse Square. The rally marks the sixth anniversary of the Iraq War, which began March 19, 2003.

Other participating groups are the United for Peace and Justice coalition and the St. Louis Instead of War Coalition.

The event is scheduled to feature music and guest speakers that include a veteran who opposes the war and Iraqi Zaid Maher.

According to the Center for Arms Control and Non-proliferation, $1.473 trillion dollars was spent worldwide in 2008 in military spending. The United States was responsible for $711 billion of that and was the world's leader in military funding in 2008 according to the statistic.

"It's a really sick policy we have," Stack said. "We can do so much better. And that's why we're here, to stand for better policies than waging war. We're squandering so many resources that could be used for peace and beyond."

Mid-MO FOR co-founder John Schuder expressed dissatisfaction with the Obama administration's decision in February to send more troops into Afghanistan.

"We're disappointed that he's going to continue the war in Afghanistan," Schuder said. "He ran on ending the Iraq war. I think he should be moving a lot quicker to end the wars and our participation."

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