[Even though buried in the Massachusetts story, we finally got a
national piece on our ballot initiative --Carld]
Some Cities Will Vote on Iraq Withdrawal
By JAY LINDSAY
Associated Press Writer
October 25, 2006
BOSTON -- For a week and a half, 81-year-old Hamer Lacey hauled his
broken back and clipboard to a Gloucester grocery store parking lot,
looking for signatures of residents who shared his fervent opposition
to the war in Iraq.
His work over the summer put Gloucester among 139 Massachusetts
communities where residents will vote next month on a nonbinding
question that calls for an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
Voters in several cities in Wisconsin and Illinois will consider a
Organizers said they do not expect the results to turn U.S. policy
around. But they said the outcome could at least make the growing
anti-war sentiment clear to the policymakers.
"There's a gap between what the public wants and what public officials
want," said Steve Burns of the Wisconsin Network for Peace and
Justice. "They're not acting in our name. We hope, in time, we can
bring them around."
Wade Zerkle, executive director of Vets for Freedom, said the
referendums are a publicity stunt, and the outcome will not represent
the majority: "I don't think a ballot referendum in some of the most
liberal cities in America is going to hold much water."
He said most Americans, even those with growing doubts of about the
war, know that leaving Iraq prematurely will create a terrorist haven
that the U.S. will have to deal with.
Since the March 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, nearly
2,800 members of the U.S. military have been killed in Iraq, according
to an Associated Press count.
"We're just hoping people will look into their hearts and say, `What
is going on here?"' said Paul Shannon of the American Friends Service
Committee, the Quaker peace group that helped organize the
Massachusetts signature drive. "Are we really willing to throw away
more lives tomorrow? For what?"
In Wisconsin, 10 communities will vote in November on withdrawal. In
April, 24 of 32 Wisconsin communities voted in favor of removing U.S.
In Illinois, the question will be considered in Chicago, as well as
smaller cities, including Springfield and Urbana, and about a
The list of Massachusetts communities where the question will appear
includes liberal cities such as Boston, Newton and Cambridge, and
communities such as Chicopee, a town in western Massachusetts where
Westover Air Reserve Base is situated.
Berkeley, Calif., and two Wisconsin communities will also vote on
whether President Bush should be impeached.
Organizers said the results of the referendums cannot be dismissed as
the opinions of a lot of liberals. Burns said six Wisconsin
communities that voted last spring for withdrawal cast their ballots
for Bush in 2004.
Lacey said he has been anti-war since his Navy service in World War
II, when he witnessed the destruction in civilian areas of Japan. The
retired pediatrician's signature-gathering was limited to a few hours
at a time by pain from a cracked vertebra, suffered in an auto
accident in 2003.
"The whole gist of the Bush presidency is in conflict with what my
ideals are," he said.
Zaida Walters of Houston, whose Marine son was killed in Fallujah,
disagreed with the call to bring the troops home. She said her son,
Leroy Sandoval Jr., was committed to the mission and would believe in
"I think we need to finish what we started," Walters said. "I really do."