We Need More Than Just Talk, Senators

Shut Up And Stop The War

An Iraq vet named Charlie Anderson told me that he likes to get his photo taken with senators and House members, and then have his friend fiddle with the camera, so that Charlie gets to talk while the elected official has to stand there and smile. And this is what Charlie says:

 “Congressman, I work every day to try to end this war. You only talk about it. I’d like it if we switched roles: you do something, and I’ll talk about what you’re doing.”

Thus far, any senators and House members taking Charlie up on his offer are not part of the leadership of either major party. Congressional leaders have elevated talking above action to the extent that many on Capitol Hill are now apparently incapable of distinguishing one from the other.

On Tuesday, the House is beginning a lengthy debate—not on ending the war by stopping the funding, not even on asking the President to end the war, not even on a partial withdrawal or a lengthy timetable for gradual withdrawal, not even on redeployment. All of these topics will be raised, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi intends the debate to address the question of escalating the war—specifically, a meaningless nonbinding resolution “opposing” escalating the war. Democrats had spent two years focusing their attention on November 7, and as soon as the vote was in, they immediately forgot the message of the election.

Of course, it could be worse. Just look at the Senate, where the debate is over whether or not to have a debate on a nonbinding resolution that “opposes” the escalation while affirming eternal support for the war. This is a sad state of affairs for a Senate in which a strong majority of members claims to oppose the escalation.  But the escalation has already happened, and the White House is focusing on the next war.

A growing number of representatives favor real action. The 71-member Progressive Caucus favors ending the war in six months. Congress members Lynn Woolsey of California, Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Jerrold Nadler of New York each have bills that would use the power of the purse to end the war. (In the Senate, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin has a bill to do the same.) Last week, Pelosi assured Congresswomen Woolsey, Barbara Lee of California and Maxine Waters of California that committees would soon address these and other bills opposing the war, and that the sponsors of the bills would be given time to discuss them during weekly Democratic Caucus meetings.

If members of Congress could hear the public’s reaction during the endless speeches this week, more members would find the nerve to do more than talk. Toward that end, numerous peace organizations, including United for Peace and Justice and Progressive Democrats of America, are promoting a national call-in day today. The After Downing Street coalition sent out this message:

De-Escalate! Investigate! Ask your Congress member to oppose the escalation and support Woolsey’s, McGovern’s, or Nadler’s bill to stop funding the war. And tell your Congress member you want an investigation into the lies that were used to launch this war. Phone and fax numbers for your Congress member: http://www.democrats.com/congress.

Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada are big proponents of an idea they credit to the Republicans, but which they themselves repeat more than anyone else in Washington: the idea that ending the war by defunding it will somehow harm U.S. troops. What will harm U.S. troops is keeping them in Iraq. Bringing them home will keep them alive. And the money needed to bring them home is minimal in comparison with the funds being used to keep them there.

McGovern has rewritten his bill, and Nadler and Woolsey have specifically written their bills to address the nonsensical idea that by bringing the troops home Congress would be putting them in harm’s way. Nadler’s bill avoids the charge of “cutting off funds” by instead limiting funds to only two uses: 1) protecting troops, and 2) withdrawing. The first of the two is simply in there to repel the Pelosi-Reid argument. The only meaningful way to protect the troops is to withdraw them.

If none of these bills pass in the next month or two, Congress will have a choice of ending the war or funding its continuation by means of an emergency supplemental spending bill. (There’s another one of these “emergency” bills already in the works for 2008.) If the Democrats can’t manage to defeat that bill, they can attach amendments to it that limit the funds to withdrawal or otherwise improve the bill. But Pelosi and Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania are aiming quite low. Murtha has proposed including a provision banning the Pentagon from sending troops without adequate training and equipment. This is, of course, supposed to be a “pro-troop” proposal. But it’s secretly supposed to, almost accidentally, end the war, because Murtha claims no units meet the requirement.

I never thought I’d quote former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld without irony, but here it goes: You have to go to war with the army you have, not the army you want. If you’re going to keep up the pretense that an illegal war based on lies is acceptable and necessary, then you can’t reasonably hold back troops because they aren’t properly prepped. And if you’re going to try to end the war, the best way to do that is by ending the war. The Constitution gives the power to end wars to Congress. There are 535 people on the planet who can do something to end this war beyond talking about it.

And it may only require 41 of them. If a senator can begin a filibuster of funding for the war, only 41 senators will have to find the decency to join together for peace and reelection. But that’s down the road, a road that looks likely to be altered by a U.S. attack on Iran. This week is dedicated to talking things over, at a cost of at least $500,000 of war and untold deaths and injuries per five-minute congressional speech.

David Swanson

February 13, 2007

David Swanson is co-founder of AfterDowningStreet.org, Washington director of Democrats.com and a board member of Progressive Democrats of America.



National Call-In Day Tuesday, Feb. 13 — House Begins Debate on Iraq

“Cut off funding of the occupation: Vote no on supplemental appropriations.
Don’t escalate the war into Iran ”

On Tuesday, Feb 13, the U.S. House will begin debate on Iraq.  This provides anti-war forces an opportunity to let our voices be heard.  Please call your Congressmember and tell them to end the Occupation of Iraq and stop funding war. 

All calls are being directed through the Capitol switchboard – (202)224-3121.

When you place the call, ask for your senators’ and/or representative’s office.

Telephone calls are usually taken by a staff member, not the member of Congress.

 Ask to speak with the aide responsible for Iraq War issues.

After identifying yourself, politely tell the aide you would like to leave a brief message, such as: “Please tell Senator/Representative (Name) to “Stop funding war: Vote no on supplemental appropriations. Don’t escalate the war into Iran.”

You won’t have much time, but you may also want to briefly state reasons for your opposition to the war. Ask for your senators’ or representative’s position on the war, and perhaps request a written response to your telephone call.

Please, Keep Going

After you place your calls, please take a moment to email your representative and ask them to support HR508, The Bring the Troops Home and Iraq Sovereignty Restoration Act, (Speaker Pelosi, too) and HR746, The Safe and Orderly Withdrawal from Iraq Act.

Sign the petition in support of HR746!


P.S. View video of longtime PDA allies Reps. John Conyers and Maxine Waters, and Tom Hayden. And, listen to the podcast with Tony Trupiano and Tim Carpenter.

Interested in joining PDA’s End the War, RedirectResources Issues Organizing Team?  Please contact Diane Shamis: diane@pdamerica.org.

Progressive Democrats of America is a grassroots PAC that works both inside the Democratic Party and outside in movements for peace and justice. Our goal: Extend the victory of Nov. 2006 into a permanent, progressive majority.  PDA’s advisory board includes six members of Congress and activist leaders such as Tom Hayden, Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin and Rev. Lennox Yearwood.

 More info:

The Ground Truth Screening this Thursday
Can you make it?

An Inconvenient TruthHost: Jarad A.—fellow MoveOn member

Where: Brooklyn and St. Marks ave. (in Brooklyn)—We’ll send you the exact address after you R.S.V.P.

When: Thursday, Feb 15 2007, 7:00 PM

What: We’re getting together Thursday to watch The Ground Truth—a powerful documentary told through the eyes of veterans of the Iraq war. It’s a hard look at what some soldiers go through when they return and try to put their lives back together. After the movie we’ll watch a special video from Rep. John Murtha about what we can do to stop the escalation and end the war. Then, we’ll write letters to Congress pressing them for action.

R.S.V.P. Can you make it to the screening on Thursday to help end the war?

Yes, I’ll come.

So sorry, I can’t make it this time.

P.S. For more info, click here. And don’t worry, this email was sent through the MoveOn system so your personal contact info is still private.

NOTE: This documentary is very graphic and it may contain scenes and language you don’t want your kids to see. We would advise that you consider viewing the documentary first, before deciding whether you feel comfortable showing it children or others who may be sensitive to such subject matter.


Dear Felix,

Chris Van Hollen
Forward to your friends

Today marks the beginning of a serious and long overdue debate in Congress on the war in Iraq. For nearly four years, Bush’s Republican Rubber Stamp Congress failed in its duty to conduct the proper oversight and accountability that was so badly needed in Iraq.

Those days are over. The situation in Iraq worsens with each passing day and we can no longer sit by and watch the Bush Administration continue in the wrong direction. Democrats are ready and determined to change direction. It begins today, by standing up and opposing the President’s plan for escalation in Iraq.

Our troops and all Americans deserve better than the President’s misguided policy, and you deserve answers and an honest discussion about how we can move past where the President and the Republican-controlled Congress’ policies have gotten us. Join us as we begin our debate, stand up with us and let your voice be heard. We want to hear from you, so please, join the conversation today.

Share your thoughts on Iraq as we begin our debate

During the 2006 campaign, I spoke to people across the country who voiced their concerns and disappointment about the situation in Iraq. We committed to the American people that we would demand a new direction in Iraq and we will not stop fighting until we have it. Our new Democratic Majority has already held more than 50 hearings on the Iraq war. This debate will give the President’s plan the due diligence the American people deserve.

President Bush will no longer have a blank check, and he will no longer have a Congress that fails to provide even the most basic levels of oversight. He will have to answer tough questions and be held accountable for the actions of his Administration. Join the conversation today — we want to know what concerns you have on the war.

Share your thoughts on Iraq as we begin our debate

We will keep you updated on the progress of our historic debate and I hope that we can count on you to stand with us during this time. Americans want a new direction in Iraq and we will never stop working until your voices are heard. Thank you.


Chris Van Hollen

Chairman, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

P.S. — We want to hear from you. Join the conversation today and share your thoughts on Iraq as we begin our debate.


Take Action: Urge Your Rep. to Reject Iraq War – FCNL

Printer-friendly version of this alert
Read this alert online at: http://www.fcnl.org/action/2007/lam0213.htm

Take Action
Call your representative today; urge support for H.Con.Res.63

The House of Representatives has scheduled the first vote to rebuke President Bush’s decision to escalate the war in Iraq for this Friday, February 16. The House debate on this resolution began today (H.Con.Res. 63). The bipartisan resolution expressing congressional disapproval of the president’s decision to send more than 20,000 additional combat troops to Iraq will almost certainly be approved, but we need to ensure that the resolution gains as many votes as possible.

After the Senate’s failure last week to reach procedural agreement for a debate about Iraq, this vote will be the first important test of congressional readiness to change U.S. Iraq policy. A strong bipartisan majority in opposition to the troop increase will build momentum for further congressional action to rein in the U.S. war in Iraq, including setting a date certain for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops and implementing the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group.

In addition, a decisive rejection of the administration’s Iraq policies could be a first, important step in preventing President Bush from widening the war by taking military action against Iran. The administration will be gauging how much support they can count on in Congress as they continue to escalate accusations against Iran as a possible prelude to military action.

Take Action

Please call your representative this week, while the House is still debating this resolution. Urge her or him to vote for the legislation introduced by Representatives Ike Skelton (MO), Tom Lantos (CA) and Walter Jones (NC) (H.Con.Res. 63) opposing the president’s decision to send more than 20,000 additional combat troops to Iraq. Ask your representative to speak out on the House floor to oppose any U.S. military action against Iran without congressional authorization. Urge him or her to call for diplomacy and negotiation to achieve a political solution in Iraq and the region. You can use FCNL’s website to find out the name of your representative, his or her direct phone number, and talking points for the call.

Find Out More

FCNL’s letter urging Congress to pass this bipartisan resolution.

More on FCNL’s Iraq Peace Campaign

February 15: National Student Strike Against the War

Students at UC – Santa Barbara have initiated a one day student strike against the war on February 15th.   February 15th marks the 4th anniversary of when millions of people came out around the world to protest Bush’s planned war on Iraq. In the wake of Bush’s escalation of a war that has already caused the deaths of 655,000 Iraqis and over 3,000 US soldiers, and threats to attack Iran, this student strike is urgently needed, and must spread to other campuses quickly. Now is not the time to be waiting for Congress to make slow incremental steps towards some eventual phased withdrawal. Now is the time for millions of people to get out and demand an end to the war immediately and the Bush administration be impeached for war crimes.

Latest list of campuses organizing acrions on Feb. 15 (latest additions at the top):

  • Fordham University (NYC)
  • Columbia University – Noon at Low Plaza 2:00 P.M. Teach-In at Lerner c555
  • Georgia State University
  • University of North Carolina – Greensboro
    Atrium Fountain 11:00 A.M.
  • Columbia College (Chicago) 8:00 A.M
    623 S. Wabash Lobby – Will Go All Day
  • Lewis & Clark College (Portland, Oregon)
  • Mills College
  • Occidental College (LA)
  • San Francisco State  – Malcom X Plaza
  • UC – Berkeley@ Sproul Plaza 11:00 a.m. to be joined by Fremont High and Berkeley High
  • UC – Santa Barbara
  • UC Davis – Memorial Union Quad 11 A.M.-2 P.M.
  • UC Santa Cruz – 12pm to 3 pm at the Baytree/Quarry Plaza.
  • Sonoma State – Meet at the Clock Tower
    12:00 P.M.-5:00 P.M Following a week long sit-in
  • Vanderbilt – Meeting outside the cafeteria at  lunchtime and marching to the  Community Chapel

Voices in Support of the Student Strike:

Noam Chomsky:
Speaking to a packed auditorium at Columbia University February 5th, Chomsky cited Harold Pinter’s Nobel lecture in which Pinter called for “organized opposition” to the Iraq war and the Bush administration, and called the student strike February 15 “a step towards such organized opposition,” citing the importance and impact of the student strikes and protests in 1970 against the US war on Southeast Asia.

Bruce Lincoln, Caroline E. Haskell Professor of History of Religions University of Chicago:
“I support the goal of forcing a recalcitrant administration to put an end to its ill-conceived adventure in Iraq and I admire the commitment of those who have taken the lead in organizing this strike. In solidarity with them, I will not teach on the 15th and am encouraging my students to take actions consistent with their consciences as regards the war.

“I circulated the statement from Columbia students to all my colleagues, told them of my intent to cancel classes and urged them to do the same. I’ve also announced to my classes that the strike is taking place, told them of my support for it, and called off classes.”

Howard Zinn:
“I would like to endorse the idea of a student strike on campuses all over the country on February 15, to rekindle the flame of protest that flared up all over the world on that date four years ago, as ten million people protested the pending invasion of Iraq by the United States. A student strike at this time would be a great boost to the movement against the war and would send a signal to Congress that it should listen to the American people and act immediately to stop this ugly war.”


February 17



New York City – Boston – Detroit – Philadelphia – Raleigh – Atlanta – Across the U.S.
Protests – Rallies – Pickets – Sit-ins – Creative Direct Action

Demand that Congress Cut Off ALL War Funding

In New York City
Rally in Times Square – 1 pm
(Broadway btw 41st & 42nd St)
March to Senator Hillary Clinton’s Office – 2 pm

Soon, Congress will vote on Bush’s request for more than $100 billion in additional funding for the criminal occupation of Iraq. Congress has the power to stop the war by cutting off war funding. They cannot hide behind “non-binding resolutions” and hearings–they must stop the war. They cannot hide behind the claim that they are “supporting the troops” — voting to fund the war is voting to continue the war, which means more soldiers and Iraqi people will die.

On February 17 in cities and towns across the U.S., activists will make it clear to Congress that we will not allow another dollar to be spent on the war.

Not one more day.

Not one more dollar.

No more deaths.

No hiding behind “non-binding” resolutions and timetables.

Bring ALL the Troops Home Now!

Join us the campaign to demand that Congress cut off all war Funding. Here’s how you can participate:

Sign the Open Letter to Congresshttp://www.votenowarfunding.org/votenowarfunding.shtml (see text below) this will go to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Charles Schumer, and other leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Participate in local actions on February 17 – National No More $$ for War Day. Activists across the country are planning pickets, rallies, sit-ins, and other forms of creative resistance and direct action, primarily at local Congressional offices. See list of local actions at http://troopsoutnow.org/feb17mar1707orgcents.shtml.

Dear Felix,Over the last week or so, the Senate has been in gridlock over whether or not to debate a weak, non-binding resolution on Iraq that does nothing to end our involvement there.  Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it?  Some have called the resolution, commonly referred to as Warner-Levin, a symbolic rebuke of the President’s failed policy.  Unfortunately, the only thing it symbolizes is a Congress that is too timid to use its main power, the power of the purse, to put an end to the President’s misguided, Iraq-centric foreign policy.  Worse, the Warner-Levin resolution rejects redeploying U.S. troops out of Iraq, and supports moving a misguided military strategy – from one part of Iraq to another.

It’s time for Congress to end our military involvement in this war, and the legislation that I’ve recently introduced would force the President to safely redeploy U.S. troops out of Iraq by prohibiting further funding of military operations in Iraq six months after enactment.  We must redeploy our troops so that we can focus on the global threats that face us.

Tell a Friend to Co-Sponsor Senator Feingold’s Resolution and to Contact Their Elected Officials

This week the House is debating their own resolution that, while it certainly doesn’t go far enough, is at least a step in the right direction.  I will continue to monitor the progress of the debate in the House throughout the week.

While the American people swept Democrats into power in November expecting Congress to fix this failed Iraq policy, it’s important to remember that Democrats were in control of the Senate when Congress first authorized the President to go to war in Iraq in the first place.  As you know, I didn’t buy the administration’s claims from the beginning and voted against that authorization of force, but the stakes are even higher now and we all have to work together to make sure that the same mistakes aren’t made again.  That’s why I need your help.

Tell a Friend to Co-Sponsor Senator Feingold’s Resolution and to Contact Their Elected Officials

First, click on one of the links in this message and tell a friend to sign onto my resolution to use the power of the purse to safely redeploy our troops from Iraq.  It’s time to refocus on the global fight against terrorism and al-Qaida, and staying the course down the failed path of the President’s Iraq policy is hurting those efforts and making America weaker.

Second, after signing the resolution, click on the Contact Your Elected Official link and get to work.  You’ll see your elected officials email, phone number, fax, and address.  Send an email or letter, or give their office a call, and make sure that your elected officials in Washington, DC know exactly where you stand.  I can tell you, from my own experience, that legislators pay attention when the people they represent take the time and contact their office.

Tell a Friend to Co-Sponsor Senator Feingold’s Resolution and to Contact Their Elected Officials

I will continue to do all that I can to get our country back on track, but I can’t do it alone.  I need your help.


Russ Feingold
United States Senator
Honorary Chair, Progressive Patriots Fund


~ by r7fel on February 14, 2007.

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