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Cynthia McKinney: No US Troops in Pakistan

Cynthia McKinney Statement on the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Events in Pakistan, and U.S. Policy

NO US TROOPS IN PAKISTAN: Pakistan for the Pakistani People

“Free and fair elections, not U.S. troops, are the best strategy for achieving peace and stability in Pakistan.”

Today, Cynthia McKinney, six-term former Member of Congress and current Green Party Presidential Candidate, announced her shock and disappointment at yesterday’s assassination of former President and current Presidential candidate Benazir Bhutto. “I have long had close ties to the people of Pakistan; I traveled there twice, count many Pakistani-Americans among my personal friends, and I had the good fortune to meet Benazir Bhutto. I refused to meet Musharaff when I had the chance because he was always a dictator and I don’t meet dictators,” McKinney said.

Shortly after Bhutto’s murder, reports began to surface that the U.S. had finalized plans to send troops to Pakistan. According to McKinney, “There is much that the United States can send to Pakistan, like helping with true democracy instead of rigged elections. The last thing U.S. troops and the Pakistani people need is the presence of U.S. troops in Pakistan.”

During McKinney’s most recent trip to Pakistan earlier this year, she traveled to a Karachi suburb where she met for the second time with the Balochi people of African descent who were among Bhutto’s strongest supporters in the country.

“This is a sad time–especially for all the strong women in the world, for all the poor and desperate people of Pakistan who need and deserve attention and hope, and for all peace-loving people everywhere who hope that this tragedy is not used as a pretext for more war, more chaos, more destabilization of yet another basically peace-loving people,” McKinney said.

According to McKinney, the real key to stability in Pakistan begins with free and fair elections using internationally recognized election observers in order to achieve a Pakistani government that reflects the will and dreams of the Pakistani people.

McKinney concluded with a caution that the United States should not view chaos in Pakistan, in the aftermath of Bhutto’s murder, as a reason for becoming engaged in more war or for putting our troops into harm’s way. “War is not an acceptable strategy to achieve democracy–not in Iraq, and not in Pakistan. Free and fair elections, not U.S. troops, are the best strategy for achieving peace and stability in Pakistan,” McKinney concluded.

“I send my most heartfelt condolences to the Bhutto family and to all the people of Pakistan,” said McKinney.

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