The local chapter of Democrats Abroad, the official overseas arm of the US Democratic Party, met with US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli on September 14 to discuss their concerns over the US war in Iraq.
During their meeting with the ambassador, members of Democrats Abroad-Cambodia presented Mussomeli with a “Declaration of Peace” report, which offers a nine-point plan for ending US occupation of Iraq, according to a statement released following the meeting at the US Embassy.
“Most of us have lived abroad for many years, and we are well aware of the impact that US policies can have on the international community,” the group said in their statement.
“We believe the war in Iraq has contributed to a growing negative perception of the United States internationally,” they said.
US President George W Bush’s “recent invocation of Cambodia in his attempts to justify his plan for our continued presence in Iraq calls for our response,” they added.
In an Aug 22 speech, Bush argued that withdrawing US troops from Iraq would lead to widespread death and suffering, as he alleged it did in Southeast Asia three decades ago.
Wayne Weightman, a member of the Democrats Abroad leadership, said in an interview that Mussomeli listened to the group’s concerns and promised to pass them on to the White House.
“[Mussomeli] is going to transmit our concerns to Washington,” he said, adding that the meeting was part of a Democrats Abroad worldwide effort to convince the Bush administration to pull troops out of Iraq.
Mussomeli wrote by e-mail Friday that he was honored to discuss with the group their views on the war in Iraq. “It is not a privilege, but rather the right of all Americans to express their opinions to their government leaders,” he added.
During the meeting, the ambassador expressed the concerns of the Bush administration regarding a “precipitous withdrawal” of US troops from Iraq, US Embassy spokesman Jeff Daigle wrote in an e-mail.
“The Ambassador related that many Cambodians have told him ‘the worst thing the Americans did in Cambodia in the 70s was to leave,’ clearing the way for the genocide that followed,” Daigle added.