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Vote down the War

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Subject: Iraq: How Many More Years?
Date: Mar 15, 2005 7:07 AM


How Many More Iraq Anniversaries Will We Mark?
How Many More Lives Will We Mourn?


This alert contains two opportunities to begin pulling our country out of the deepening quagmire in Iraq.

1) The House of Representatives votes TOMORROW on whether to spend another $82 billion on the occupation. Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan (USN, ret.), who fought in three wars and commanded the North Atlantic Fleet, reminds us that the Vietnam War finally ended only when Congress refused to continue funding it. Tens of thousands of TrueMajority members have urged Congress to demand a clear Iraq exit strategy before handing over more money for the occupation. If you haven't sent your message yet, the time is now.

If you're a TrueMajority member, just click "Reply" and "Send," and we'll forward your message to your representatives in Congress. If you aren't yet a member, click here to send your free message:

 http://truemajority.kintera.org/Iraqexit

(The complete, previously sent alert, which shared the views of conservatives and progressives alike on the need to end the quagmire, is posted at the bottom of this message.)

2) In addition to having your voice heard in Washington, you can participate in your community this weekend at events commemorating the second anniversary of America's attack on Iraq. In our busy lives we sometimes don't stop enough to reflect on people outside of our daily sphere. Here we invite you to do so.

Remembering the anniversary of the Iraq War is about keeping in our thoughts the families of the more than one thousand five hundred service personnel who have lost their lives, the thousands who have been injured or maimed, and the loved ones of the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties.

Our remembrance is also about keeping our focus on the future. Together we can work toward a peaceful withdrawal from the quagmire in Iraq by demanding that President Bush describe the exit plan from America's occupation of Iraq.

Various kinds of gatherings are planned for this weekend to commemorate the second anniversary of America's attack on Iraq. Sojourners has organized ecumenical events around the country; the American Friends Service Committee plans a variety of religious and sectarian events; and United for Peace & Justice is a clearinghouse for antiwar protests and marches. So, whatever type of participation works for you (from solemn candlelight vigils to protest marches and lots in between), there are opportunities to reflect on this war and give voice to your feelings.

Check out these links to find an event that's right for you in your community.

Yours in working for peace,

Duane Peterson
TrueMajority Coordinator



Sojourners

American Friends Service Committee

United for Peace &Justice


This is the alert that TrueMajority sent out last week:


Congress Should Tell Bush That the Iraq Quagmire Can't Succeed

No More Iraq War Money without Clear Exit Strategy


Note: This alert is from Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan (USN, ret.), who served in combat in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and commanded the North Atlantic Fleet. We are thankful for his depth of experience and his insight as he guides TrueMajority's national security policies.

When Congress refused to continue funding the Vietnam War, it spelled the end of the U.S. campaign there. Based on thoughtful analysis by both conservative and progressive analysts, this alert is the first step in the process of getting out of Iraq.

Next week, the House of Representatives will vote on the president's request for $82 billion to pay for the ongoing military occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. That's a lot of money. It is enough to feed the world's starving people for five years or more, and would save the lives of millions of kids. Aside from how that money could be better spent, a toll continues to be taken on the Iraqi people, our own service members, and America's image throughout the world.

Yet, even as the quagmire in Iraq worsens, Bush continues to refuse to (1) specify when we will exit the country and (2) make clear that America will not establish permanent military bases there.

If you are a TrueMajority member and you'd like to send a message to your representatives, urging them to oppose the supplemental bill for Iraq unless an exit plan is included, just click "Reply" and "Send" in your e-mail program to send your message. If this was forwarded to you or you'd like to customize the message to your congresspeople, click here:

 http://truemajority.kintera.org/Iraqexit


Proud to be working with you,

Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan (USN, ret.)


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We are not alone in our concerns.

Senator Edward Kennedy said in an address in January, "At least twelve thousand American troops, and probably more, should leave immediately to send a signal about our intention. America's goal should be to complete the drawdown as early as possible in 2006."

Carter administration national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski said: "I do not think we can stay in Iraq in the fashion we're in now... If it cannot be changed drastically, it should be terminated." He also confirmed that it would take 500,000 troops, $500 billion, and the resumption of the military draft to ensure adequate security in Iraq.[2]

Conservative military analysts increasingly urge an end to the occupation.

"We have failed. The issue is how high a price we're going to pay... Less, by getting out sooner, or more, by getting out later," said retired army lieutenant general and former director of the National Security Agency William E. Odom.[3]

In a detailed plan for a careful withdrawal published in the respected journal Foreign Affairs, Edward Luttwak, a national security counselor to former President Reagan, writes that the "...best strategy for the United States is disengagement. This would call for careful planning and scheduling of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from much of the country."[4]

"Our large, direct presence has fueled the Iraq insurgency as much as it has suppressed it," said Michael Vickers, longtime senior Central Intelligence Agency official.[5]
"The end of the foreign occupation will seriously undermine the terrorists' claims that their acts of violence against Iraqis are somehow serving the interests of Iraq," according to the article "Exiting Iraq," which was published by the conservative Cato Institute. Moreover, "The occupation is counterproductive in the fight against radical Islamic terrorists and actually increases support for Osama bin Laden in Muslim communities not previously disposed to support his radical interpretation of Islam... Staying on the current course, looking at the trends, is not going to work." [6]

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Here's the message that we will send to your representatives:

Dear (name of Congressman or Congresswoman):

I know that you are seriously analyzing the supplemental bill on Iraq right now. With the vote coming up, I would like to see you ask for clarity regarding U.S. intentions in Iraq.

I would like you to commit to keeping permanent U.S. bases out of Iraq. I would also like you to commit to an exit strategy in Iraq. Our troops and the nascent government in Iraq need to know that there will be an end to this war.

Please let me hear from you on these important commitments.

Sincerely,
(we'll insert your name here)

===========================================================

Citations:


1) Bread for the World describes what it would take to end global hunger at www.bread.org/hungerbasics/index.html


2) Excerpted from the Wall Street Journal's January 7, 2005, article "Scowcroft Skeptical Vote Will Stabilize Iraq" by Dana Priest and Robin Wright. To view the full article, visit www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A54680-2005Jan6.html .

3) " Former General Sees 'Staying the Course' in Iraq as Untenable," Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2004. See www.dangerouscitizen.com/Articles/1131.aspx

4) To view "Time for Disengagement," a specific plan for how to exit Iraq written by former President Reagan's national security advisor and originally published in Foreign Affairs' January/February 2005 issue, visit
www.californiapeaceaction.org/capa/index.php?option=com_news&task=view&Itemid=82&id=271

5) To view "Hawks Push Deep Cuts in Forces in Iraq," originally published in the Boston Globe on November 22, 2004, visit www.truthout.org/docs_04/112304A.shtml

6) To view a conservative analysis on the need to withdraw from Iraq, visit  http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3526











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