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Blumenauer Signs "Declaration of Peace"

Nationwide Actions 'Declare Peace', Raise Pressure on Congress

NEW YORK - A nationwide civil disobedience campaign aiming to force the administration of President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress to end the military occupation of Iraq is now in full swing.
More than 500 peace groups and justice organizations from all over the United States have joined the "Declaration of Peace," a week-long comprehensive campaign that calls for a prompt timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Those who signed the Declaration this week pledged to hold demonstrations, rallies, marches, and vigils in hundreds of cities across the country, which will continue until next Thursday.

The protests have started at a time when the campaign for upcoming Congressional elections is getting into top gear and many lawmakers are preparing to go back to their home states for six weeks of intense campaigning.

On Thursday, police in Washington, DC arrested more than 30 activists who tried to deliver copies of the Declaration to the Bush administration as part of their pledge to get involved in actions of civil disobedience.

Prominent among those arrested in front of the White House include Father Joseph Nangle, co-director of Franciscan Missions, James Winkler, general secretary of the United Methodist Church, and Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of the United for Peace and Justice activist group.

"The breath and depth of the actions taking place this week are a testament to the growing sentiment of the people of this country against the occupation of Iraq," said Cagan in a statement before her arrest.

"As citizens and people of faith, we must be our country's conscience," added Reverend Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus, who was also arrested for taking part in the White House action.

Like Yearwood, scores of church leaders who have joined the anti-war campaign believe that their actions will give the government "the moral courage to set a firm deadline to end the occupation of Iraq."

Activists say they have organized more than 350 actions of civil disobedience in all parts of the country, including in unlikely places such as Lincoln, Nebraska; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Houston, Texas; Des Moines, Iowa; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Cincinnati, Ohio.

Though the campaign is heavily dominated by faith-based groups, many lawmakers, former military leaders, and veterans are also taking an active part in the protests.

"I have seen with my own eyes the human cost of this occupation," said Kelly Dougherty, cofounder of Iraq Veterans against the War. "It is my duty to my fellow soldiers to end the escalation of violence."

Though Democratic Party officials have made no call for participation in the demonstration, this week some lawmakers publicly endorsed the Declaration. They include Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR), Danny Davis (IL), Sam Farr (CA), Chaka Fattah (PA), Barbara Lee (CA), John Lewis (GA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), and Lynn Woolsey (CA).

"As a participant in the civil rights movement, I have confronted violence with nonviolence. I have been arrested over 40 times. I have been beaten and left bloody in the streets to die," said Lewis after signing the Declaration.

"And what I came to realize is that our strongest weapons as a nation are not bombs and missiles," he added. "Our strongest defense is the power of our ideas. It is what we believe about democracy and respect for human dignity."

In addition to a prompt timetable for withdrawal of troops, the Declaration calls for "closure of bases; a peace process for security, reconstruction, and reconciliation; and a shift of funding for war to meeting human needs."

Signers of the Declaration said if their demands were not met by the administration and the Congress they would organize another round of civil disobedience actions beyond September.

Despite protests and growing criticism of the war, the Bush administration seems to be in no mood to set a deadline for troop withdrawal. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a motion backing the president's handling of the war and rejecting a deadline for recalling U.S. forces.

With the Senate having already rejected the troop withdrawal plan, the House motion was passed 256-153 on a party line vote.

Since the occupation of Iraq started in March 2003, more than 100,000 Iraqis have died as a direct or indirect result of the U.S. military action and the subsequent suicidal attacks carried out by the forces of resistance, according to a team of independent researchers and academics.

The war has cost the United States billions of dollars and more than 2,500 human lives.

More information:  http://www.declarationofpeace.org

Photo: courtesy of  http://www.codepinkalert.org ,  http://www.givepeaceavote.org/article.php?list=type&type=165
 http://http//oneworld.net
Cool, but.... 25.Sep.2006 16:44

me

If only Mr. Blumenauer's compassion reached the babies of Lebanon. Apparently, it does not. He refused to condemn Israel for killing Lebanese babies, and actually acted as apologist for Israel while pictures of blown up babies in their nightgowns graced the covers of every newspaper. Shame. It will be a long time before I am ever able to forgive Mr. Blumenauer for that.

Good point 25.Sep.2006 20:39

fish

If he's not with us on every issue, we don't want his help to end the war in Iraq. After all, he only stood up to the Israel Lobby on 2 votes this year, not all 3. Screw him.

2 out of 3 ? 25.Sep.2006 22:21

well

I too wish he would of spoke out against the bombing of Lebanon

He has stood up by saying No to the War in Iraq ...and from the very beginning.
He has stood up and said No to using inhumane Torture practices.
He has also stood up for the environment and a few other issue I don't recall at the moment.

I would hope that in time and with some deep thinking he may see the light.
I have a certain degree of respect for him over a variety of subjects.
....And I really do wish he would of spoke out against the insane killing of Lebanese people and especially the innocent children.

I am not trying to undermine the importance of his bad decision ....I just want to mention he has made some good ones too.

As I mentioned I hope he can realize his mistake ...unlike many who never do nor ever will.
I just don't think kicking him to the curb would beget anything

Everyone has made 'good decisions', fuck the republic, anarchy now... 26.Sep.2006 08:07

Pravda or Consequences

The war in Iraq is just one of many major injustices. The real criminal is GW and when is Earl going to initiate impeachment?

GOOD QUESTION 26.Sep.2006 11:35

Joe Anybody

- Let me repeat the excellent question -

WHEN IS EARL GOING TO INITIATE IMPEACHMENT?

no. 26.Sep.2006 16:31

Jones

I still won't vote for him. Yes, it seems self evidentally obvious that it's better to be against the war in Iraq than for it. That should go without saying, and we should never tolerate anyone who is for the war. However, that is not the only war, and we should be equally outraged that anyone would ever support Israeli wars against the babies of Lebanon or the children of Palestine. And Earl has. No vote from me.

I don't think anyone expects Earl to be perfect, but... 26.Sep.2006 18:22

troublemaker

In response to the posts above (from "fish" and "well"), I don't hear anyone condemning Earl as a war-mongering fascist, just pointing out that he is not the peacenik his signature on this declaration makes him out to be. People should thank him for doing the right thing when he does, and give him shit for doing the wrong thing (which he does with some frequency). My concern, and I suspect it's shared by the people who mentioned Earl's bad postion on Lebanon, is that activists give Earl a pass for doing one symbolic act once in a while, when he really is nothing more than a (barely) liberal Democrat. He has done little to stand up to Bush on the war, and he votes wrong on free trade deals most of the time.