70 Congress Members and Growing: We Need a Broad Coalition to End the Iraq Occupation
September is a crucial month for ending the Iraq occupation, because Congress will vote on the FY08 Defense Appropriations. The starting point is Bush's demand for $10 billion per month to maintain the current "surge-level" occupation of Iraq until FY08 ends on 9/30/08, a few months shy of the next inauguration.
The White House is framing the battle as a referendum on the personal integrity of Gen. Petraeus. Unfortunately many members of Congress are falling into this frame trap, focusing their anti-war efforts on the vain hope that they will derail Petraeus' testimony with brilliant questions.
This strategy usually fails. No matter what questions they ask, witnesses allied with Team Bush will dodge and weave but stick to the alternative reality the White House wants to project -- in this case just enough progress to keep the occupation going for another 12 months.
The only way to end the war now is to offer a completely different frame. Thankfully that frame exists: a "fully funded and safe withdrawal from Iraq" -- as proposed by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and allies. The "Lee Amendment" restricts the use of any new funds to the sole purpose of bringing our troops safely home -- which is what most people in this country want.
The "Lee Amendment" was first brought forward during the disastrous Supplemental funding battle in the spring. Unfortunately it came fairly late in the game, so there wasn't enough time to build a broad and unified progressive coalition behind it.
This time, we must not only insist on a vote -- we must WIN that vote . . . or the disastrous occupation will continue indefinitely.
Progressive Democrats of America and NOW share the philosophy of inside-outside organizing -- working both inside the process with Barbara Lee and other leaders of the Congressional Progressive and Out of Iraq Caucuses, and outside the government with progressive allies who share our goal of ending the occupation of Iraq.
From the "inside" perspective, we're starting off on strong footing. On July 20, Lee and 69 other Democrats sent a letter to Bush "to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office."
The signers were: Rep. Lynn Woolsey (CA); Rep. Barbara Lee (CA); Rep. Maxine Waters (CA); Rep. Ellen Tauscher (CA); Rep. Rush Holt (NJ); Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY); Rep. Diane Watson (CA); Rep. Ed Pastor (AZ); Rep. Barney Frank (MA); Rep. Danny Davis (IL); Rep. John Conyers (MI); Rep. John Hall (NY); Rep. Bob Filner (CA); Rep. Nydia Velazquez (NY); Rep. Bobby Rush (IL); Rep. Charles Rangel (NY); Rep. Ed Towns (NY); Rep. Paul Hodes (NH); Rep. William Lacy Clay (MO); Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR); Rep. Albert Wynn (MD); Rep. Bill Delahunt (MA); Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC); Rep. G. K. Butterfield (NC); Rep. Hilda Solis (CA); Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY); Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY); Rep. Michael Honda (CA); Rep. Steve Cohen (TN); Rep. Phil Hare (IL); Rep. Grace Flores Napolitano (CA); Rep. Alcee Hastings (FL); Rep. James McGovern (MA); Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH); Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL); Rep. Julia Carson (IN); Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA); Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ); Rep. John Olver (MA); Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Rep. Jim McDermott (WA); Rep. Ed Markey (MA); Rep. Chaka Fattah (PA); Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ); Rep. Rubin Hinojosa (TX); Rep. Pete Stark (CA); Rep. Bobby Scott (VA); Rep. Jim Moran (VA); Rep. Betty McCollum (MN); Rep. Jim Oberstar (MN); Rep. Diana DeGette (CO); Rep. Stephen Lynch (MA); Rep. Artur Davis (AL); Rep. Hank Johnson (GA); Rep. Donald Payne (NJ); Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (MO); Rep. John Lewis (GA); Rep. Yvette Clarke (NY); Rep. Neil Abercrombie (HI); Rep. Gwen Moore (WI); Rep. Keith Ellison (MN); Rep. Tammy Baldwin (WI); Rep. Donna Christensen (USVI); Rep. David Scott (GA); Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL); Lois Capps (CA); Steve Rothman (NJ); Elijah Cummings (MD); and Rep. Ron Paul (TX).
Our immediate action item is to get more members of Congress to specifically to join the pledge made in that letter to George W. Bush.
Take Action -- write to your member of Congress. Our system will let you know whether she or he signed the letter to George W. Bush so you can ask her or him to make the Pledge for Peace by joining those colleagues who signed the letter or thank her or him for already signing.
You can also sign the Progressive Democrats of America Pledge for Peace yourself.
We hope you'll join us in working to bring our troops home safely and swiftly!
For peace, Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of AmericaKim Gandy, National Organization for Women (NOW)
1- We need to give president Bush the credit to try to spread democracy in this complex and very sophisticated dictatorships in this part of the world.
2- It is time to pack and go back home. There is no victory in this area. Saddam was loosing all wars and was convincing his people that he is the saviour in the Arab world. Though he is one of the worst people had ever governed in this area.
3- The soft democracy of the Democrats so would not change the Arab world until decades is better than the aggressive wars to humiliate more Muslims.
4- Let us get out, extremists will not flourish and Iran is not going anywhere.
5- A lot of soft balls and few hard balls are better done by Democrats. Widespread world wars against extremists and the good against bad is going to destroy the world.
6- I think by a lot of measures many Iraqi feel that they were better off with Saddam. I do not know the statistics. If this was done with very thoughtful process and with few causalities it would be considered one of the best policies in recent era.
7- The old policy to appease the tyrants was done in the name of stability and the new one in the name of war on terror.
8- We still have time to mega plans if we to engage all people in the area. If American politicians choose to consider the Arab states who are pro Americans their mediators to the people we will be creating more disgust in the area.
9-Muslims are not looking for Americans to liberate them they have a God who does not disappoint his people when he knows that they are faithful.
10- By the way Ramadan Karim to all Muslims, including the hypocrites.