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Dawn Ortiz Legg 

Code Pink, San Luis Obispo Chapter

NEW TIMES: According to a recent national survey, a majority of Americans are against escalating the war in Afghanistan. Should we be sending more troops there?
LEGG: No. We oppose sending more troops because our increased presence is increasing anger in Afghanistan. We would like to see rather an increase in humanitarian aid as we did with the Marshall Plan after WWII. We need to create jobs, help with their agriculture and we’d like to see the resources used to better their infrastructure. Now were spending roughly $150 million a day. If you look at the numbers for the last eight years, the troops have been increasing and so is the money we’re spending but things are still spiraling out of control.

NEW TIMES: General McChrystal said the war effort will likely fail without more troops. How do you reply?
I think we know no matter if we send more troops it will fail. It’s about knowing when to stop and frankly the U.S. is not too good at that. When you have a civilian death toll and the military toll skyrocketing, we have a lot of things going against us. Also, the idea that we can succeed where previous empires have failed is very discerning.

NEW TIMES: Do you think the Taliban resurgence is a threat to U.S. national security?
LEGG: No. The nature of a country like Afghanistan is that it’s not a threat unless we decide to intervene and invade like we’ve done. I think the best thing for us to do is step aside and use diplomacy and soft-power because the military response is only creating more destruction and enemies.

NEW TIMES: What is Code Pink doing locally to protest the war?
LEGG: We are more about informing people and providing a forum until we can influence legislators than we are about protesting. But at 5:30 [p.m.] on Sunday, October 4 we’re showing a film in the SLO County Library called “Rethink Afghanistan.”

NEW TIMES: What can citizens opposed to the war do to have their voices heard?
LEGG: The best thing to do is to contact their member of Congress and ask them to support an exit policy. There are also tons of petitions all over the Internet and I think it’s really important to get your thoughts out there.

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