Iraq veterans protest Afghan war

06:57 PM PDT on Wednesday, October 7, 2009
By LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

LAKEWOOD, Wash. - Not far from Fort Lewis, Wash., sits a coffee shop for soldiers and veterans, with a twist.

Coffee Strong is an Internet café with an anti-war philosophy.

"We promote G.I. rights and G.I. resistance against these wars that are taking place now," said Seth Manzel.

Manzel was a Stryker driver and machine gunner, serving in Iraq in 2004. He was in the Individual Ready Reserves, but when he was ordered to go to Afghanistan, he refused. The Army didn't go after him.

Today, Manzel has words for Pres. Barack Obama.

"He should end the conflict in Afghanistan and save the soldiers and their families the pain of deployments and more body bags coming back," said Manzel.

Josh Simpson is another coffee shop regular and war resister. He left the Army after serving as a counter intelligence specialist in Iraq.

"I'm not just against the war in Afghanistan because I think it's unwinnable. It's because it's immoral," said Simpson.

Both men are taking part in Wednesday's anti-war rally in Olympia, urging Pres. Obama to listen to the activists who helped elect him.

"The anti-war movement has been faltering since the election of Obama because of his false promises to end these conflicts," said Manzel.