Monday, July 31, 2006

Dems Finally Grow a Spine

Finally the Democrats are growing a spine and standing up for the Anti War Majority in this country.   They are sending this message to Americans as well as the Bush WarMongers.   Face the reality and begin to think about getting our people out of a losing battle.   It is a beginning at least and a marker for the upcoming elections.   The November Elections will be a referendum against further delaying the inevitable withdrawal of our troops from Iraq.   - fc
Dear Mr. President, Simply Staying the Course in Iraq is Not Working

Washington, DC - With violence exploding in Iraq, there is little evidence that the Bush Administration and Congressional Republicans have a coherent strategy to stabilize Iraq. Thousands have been killed in sectarian and insurgent violence in recent months, and now the American people have been told that thousands more U.S. troops will be redeployed into an urban war zone in Baghdad. The President's current approach is not sustainable. Today, the Senate and House Democratic Leaders and ranking members from the key national security committees wrote to the President calling upon him to begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces before the end of the year, to transform the U.S. mission, and to launch a real diplomatic and reconstruction effort to help stabilize Iraq. These concrete recommendations draw upon the Levin/Reed Iraq policy amendment overwhelmingly supported in the Senate. Simply staying the course behind the President's failed policy is not in the interests of our troops, taxpayers or national security.
July 31, 2006

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

While the world has been focused on the crisis in the Middle East, Iraq has exploded in violence. Some 6,000 Iraqis were killed in May and June, and sectarian and insurgent violence continues to claim American and Iraqi lives at an alarming rate. In the face of this onslaught, one can only conclude that the Baghdad security plan you announced five weeks ago is in great jeopardy.

Despite the latest evidence that your Administration lacks a coherent strategy to stabilize Iraq and achieve victory, there has been virtually no diplomatic effort to resolve sectarian differences, no regional effort to establish a broader security framework, and no attempt to revive a struggling reconstruction effort. Instead, we learned of your plans to redeploy an additional 5,000 U.S. troops into an urban war zone in Baghdad. Far from implementing a comprehensive "Strategy for Victory" as you promised months ago, your Administration's strategy appears to be one of trying to avoid defeat.

Meanwhile, U.S. troops and taxpayers continue to pay a high price as your Administration searches for a policy. Over 2,500 Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice and over 18,000 others have been wounded. The Iraq war has also strained our military and constrained our ability to deal with other challenges. Readiness levels for the Army are at lows not seen since Vietnam, as virtually no active Army non-deployed combat brigade is prepared to perform its wartime missions. American taxpayers have already contributed over $300 billion and each week we stay in Iraq adds nearly $3 billion more to our record budget deficit.

In the interests of American national security, our troops, and our taxpayers, the open-ended commitment in Iraq that you have embraced cannot and should not be sustained.

Rather, we continue to believe that it is time for Iraqis to step forward and take the lead for securing and governing their own country. This is the principle enshrined in the "United States Policy in Iraq Act" enacted last year. This law declares 2006 to be a year of "significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty, with Iraqi security forces taking the lead for the security of a free and sovereign Iraq, thereby creating the conditions for the phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq." Regrettably, your policy seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

This legislation made clear that Iraqi political leaders must be informed that American patience, blood and treasure are not unlimited. We were disappointed that you did not convey this message to Prime Minister Maliki during his recent visit. Reducing the U.S. footprint in Iraq will not only give the Iraqis a greater incentive to take the lead for the security of their own nation, but will also allow U.S. forces to be able to respond to contingencies affecting the security of the United States elsewhere in the world.

We believe that a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq should begin before the end of 2006. U.S. forces in Iraq should transition to a more limited mission focused on counterterrorism, training and logistical support of Iraqi security forces, and force protection of U.S. personnel.

Additionally, every effort should be made to urge the Iraqis to take the steps necessary to achieve a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources. It is also essential to disarm the militias and ensure forces loyal to the national government. Finally, an international conference should be convened to persuade other governments to be more involved, and to secure the resources necessary to finance Iraq's reconstruction and rebuild its economy.

Mr. President, simply staying the course in Iraq is not working. We need to take a new direction. We believe these recommendations comprise an effective alternative to the current open-ended commitment which is not producing the progress in Iraq we would all like to see. Thank you for your careful consideration of these suggestions.

Harry Reid, Senate Democratic Leader
Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader
Dick Durbin, Senate Assistant Democratic Leader
Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip
Carl Levin, Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee
Ike Skelton, Ranking Member, House Armed Services Committee
Joe Biden, Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Tom Lantos, Ranking Member, House International Relations Committee
Jay Rockefeller, Vice Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee
Jane Harman, Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee
Daniel Inouye, Ranking Member, Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
John Murtha, Ranking Member, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee

This Letter on the Web...
Saturday, July 29, 2006

Troops Home Fast

From Code Pink came news this week of importance to all of us who are trying to promote peace in the Middle East.   After meeting some of the ladies from the Washington D.C. chapter of Code Pink during our participation in the War Protest March of Sept. 24th 2005, I am honored to help further their cause.   These ladies were very helpful to my wife and I in negotiating the Metro in my wheelchair.   I was very much grateful for their help and am very much a supporter of their efforts.

This announcement of the future meeting with Iraqi Parliamentarians in search for peace in their country is a much welcomed turn of events.   I will be following this development and post any news on this blog.   Please join me in support of the Peace Movement and the return of our troops from Iraq.   - fc

We have exciting news to share with you today! After being rebuffed in our numerous attempts to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, including setting up "Camp Al-Maliki" across from the Iraqi Embassy and publishing an open letter to him in one of the largest Iraqi newspapers, we received an amazing invitation: Five members of the Iraqi Parliament who are working on a Reconciliation Plan to end the violence in their country contacted us. Moved by the commitment of the long-term fasters and dismayed by their prime minister's refusal to meet with us, these parliamentarians asked us to join them in Amman, Jordan next week to discuss their Reconciliation Plan, on condition that we break our long-term fast with them!

We are thrilled. It will be such a breakthrough for the US peace movement to be working directly with Iraqi peacemakers, and what better way to break our fast than with members of the Iraqi government seeking an end to the violence. So next week, we'll be on our way to Jordan. In addition to a group of long-term fasters, we are inviting Congresspeople, academics, and notable journalists to join us.

Continues Reading...
Cosmos   •   Tags:   · · · ·
Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Call For Cease Fire In Lebanon

My Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich is asking that you help him enlist co-sponsors for his resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon.   Please join me in contacting your representatives to call on them to help stop the bloodshed.   - fc Call For An Immediate Cease-Fire in Lebanon

Every day in Iraq, Bush's "victory" results in the murder of 100 civilians. In Afghanistan, the resurgent Taliban is on the attack. But the Bush Administration, the Neocons, and the Corporate Media are once again "marketing" a war - this time in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) will introduce a resolution Wednesday that calls on President Bush to appeal to all sides for a cessation of hostilities in the Israeli-Lebanon conflict and to commit the United States to multi-party negotiations. For a copy of the resolution see: pdf file This Resolution already has 20 Co-Sponsors. We ask you today to write your Representative to strongly urge that he/she sign on as a cosponsor to this Resolution. This Resolution is in line with the recent statement on the Israel/Palestine/Lebanon crisis put forth by PDA. You can read our statement here: Israeli Occupation The one-click form below will send your personal message to all your government representatives selected below, with the subject "Call for an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon."

Cosmos   •   Tags:   · · · ·
Saturday, July 22, 2006

Seek a Cease-Fire in the Middle East

Peace Action believes that sovereign nations always have the right to protect themselves, but that right can never be exercised through attacks on civilian infrastructure and populations. An immediate cease-fire is required to halt the bloodshed, and the United States, which provides Israel with essential financial backing as well as many of the weapons being used in the current attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, has both the responsibility and the power to bring a halt to the current round of violence through pressure on Israel and persuasion within the international community.

Contact President Bush and Congress today. The most effective way to reach them is via the telephone numbers listed below. Alternately, you can use our form below to email your Congress person. If you send an email, be sure to personalize it, it makes a huge difference in how effective your letter is!

White House switchboard: (202) 456-1111

Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121 (You can reach any Senator or Representative through this number)
Peace ActionSeek a Cease-Fire in the Middle East

As one of your constituents and a member of Peace Action, I am writing to implore you to work with Congress and the President to seek an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East.

As the crisis grows, with the continued Israeli military incursion in the Gaza Strip and escalating, daily attacks between the Israeli armed forces and Hezbollah guerillas in Lebanon, I implore you take action at this critical time. Hundreds of civilians have already been killed, and our government’s rhetoric and actions are not helping resolve the situation.

I look forward to hearing from you on how you will respond to the current crisis in the Middle East.

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