March 18, 2010 | 05:25 AM The North Country Peace Group, with the support of peace and social justice organizations locally and across the nation, will mark the seventh anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq with a march and vigil this Saturday, March 20. The group's participants will demand an end to the conflict.
All members of the community are welcome and encouraged to attend.
The march will begin at the King Kullen shopping center (near Chase Bank) on Route 25A in Setauket at 10:30 am, ending at the corner of Bennetts Road and 25A, where the NCPG has held Saturday demonstrations since December 2002. At approximately 11 am, the names of all Long Island service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan will be recited.
"Although we are encouraged by President Obama's intention to withdraw combat troops from Iraq by Aug. 31," NCPG member Juan Gallardo said, "that we are about to begin the eighth year of this military conflict — particularly in an economic climate where American families are struggling to keep their homes and pay their bills — is unconscionable, especially when you consider that since it began, this war alone has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $711.4 billion as of this month."
In addition to its call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, according to an NCPG statement the peace group opposes President Obama's decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan and rejects the idea that there is a military solution to the problems of that region.