| GEO World|
| Protest demo holds Petraeus ‘war criminal’|
| Updated at: 1846 PST, Friday, July 10, 2009|
SAN FRANCISCO: General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command in charge of the wars in the Middle East, and architect of the troop "surge" was target of a protest here for his part in torture and killing civilians, Geo News reported Friday.
A major demonstration was held when Petraeus spoke here at the Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter St., 2nd floor.
"Afghanistan is not the 'good war,'" said a spokesperson for World Can't Wait, an organizer of the demonstration. "General Petraeus should answer for his criminal role in the 'war on terror' and the huge escalation in Afghanistan."
Peace activists said that under Petraeus' command, pilotless drones have resulted in "mass murder" of civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"No amount of slick PR packaging can render Petraeus anything better than a war criminal. There is a huge blanket of lies and ignorance surrounding the killing in Afghanistan. Most Americans have no idea of the crimes being done in their name," said World Can't Wait in a statement.
During his hourlong speech, which included a PowerPoint presentation, Petraeus warned of a tough fight as Marines have recently gone deeper into Taliban areas of southern Afghanistan to "reverse the cycle of violence" there.
He described it as, "the longest campaign."
Petraeus added that it will take a "sustained and substantial commitment" to prevent the Taliban from making the area a hot spot for terrorists. He said it's especially important for troops to have a presence prior to presidential elections there next month.
He said about 68,000 American troops will be in Afghanistan by this fall — more than double the number from last year. He also mentioned armored Stryker vehicles, which were successful in Iraq, will be in Afghanistan and likely deployed in the troubled Kandahar province.