This article appeared in the small-town newspaper in Ferdinand, Indiana, following the 'Town Hall' forum with Congressman Baron Hill (9th District, D) on August 20, 2007. It gives greatly needed exposure for the anti-war movement, and particularly The Declaration of Peace, in rural southern Indiana.
The article is not available on the internet.
The below-mentioned "woman in the audience" was Christine Glaser from Bloomington Peace Action Coalition and The Declaration of Peace. ~ TGB
"War! ... What is it good for?"
by Kathy Tretter
August 22, 2007
"War . . . huh . . . yeah
What is it good for?
FERDINAND, INDIANA — Those in attendance at Congressman Baron Hill's Hometown meeting at Monastery Immaculate Conception Monday night, could almost hear Edwin Starr's memorable lyrics reverberating through the decades.
Starr wrote "WAR" during the Vietnam conflict, but its words are as meaningful today.
"I believe President Bush does not want to leave Iraq," Ninth District Congressman Hill stated.
"When are you going to cut off this nonsensical war?" queried Pat Fischer of Ferdinand.
Saying he has heard both sides of the issue and adding, "I have never been convinced total redeployment won't jeopardize the military [still in Iraq]," Hill added he thinks it is more important to enact the recommendations of the 9-11 commission.
He said of greater concern is the military's readiness for any other world conflict, as so much of the nation's resources are focused on Iraq.
Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) has called for the redeployment of troops from the battle zone, which Hill does support.
Timothy Baer, organizer of the Bloomington Peace Action Coalition, asked Hill to add his John Hancock to a letter addressed to President George W. Bush.
So far, a bipartisan group of 70 House members (including Indiana Representative Julia Carson) signed the missive,
which pledges to use the appropriations process to fully fund redeployment from Iraq in 2008.
The letter reads:
Dear Mr. President:
"We are writing to inform you that we will only support appropriating additional funds for US 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.
More than 3,600 of our brave soldiers have died in Iraq. More than 26,000 have been seriously wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed or injured in the hostilities and more than four million have been displaced from their homes. Furthermore, this conflict has degenerated into a sectarian civil war and US taxpayers have paid more than $500 billion, despite assurances that you and your key advisors gave our nation at the time you ordered the invasion in March, 2003 that this military intervention would cost far less and be paid from Iraqi oil revenues.
We agree with a clear and growing majority of the American people who are opposed to continued, open-ended US military operations in Iraq, and believe it is unwise and unacceptable for you to continue to unilaterally impose these staggering costs and the soaring debt on Americans currently and for generations to come."
The authors are Representatives Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters, all from California, but the congressional signatures extend from sea to shining sea.
Hill said he is not prepared to sign the pledge at this time. He "has listened to many divergent opinions. I'm ambiguous," he explained. "I go back and forth. When I talked to the ambassadors there [Iraq] they just want to stay the course."
A woman in the audience tried to pin Hill down, citing the five huge American military bases in Iraq, each covering 15-20 square miles, the new embassy in Baghdad that is six times larger than UN Headquarters in New York, with recently installed ground to air missile defense system.
"I want to hear," she concluded, "if you're really going to withdraw completely."
As he had said since the discussion began, Hill repeated, "I just want to keep my options open."
But the audience response to Fischer's initial question (When are you going to cut off this nonsensical war?), highlighted the growing dissatisfaction with this long drawn out conflict.
Baer suggested that everyone seeking a comprehensive plan to end the US occupation in Iraq should log on to http://DeclationofPeace.org
to see how they can help.
Editor and Co-publisher
Spencer County Leader
"Defund the War ~ Declare Peace!"
Bring All U.S. Troops Home from Iraq in 2007.
Let Iraq Live!
Campaign Coordinator, The Declaration of Peace
Organizer, Bloomington Peace Action Coalition