Fwd: Join us in Iraq meetings with Congress
>On January 21st, across the country, thousands of us will be meeting
>with the offices of our members of Congress on the possible war on
>Iraq. We'll meet with them in district offices from Portland, ME to
>Portland, OR, and we'll deliver a petition representing hundreds of
>thousands of us who want our leaders to "Let the Inspections Work."
>We plan to meet with over 400 Congressional offices, but to do that
>we'll need everyone to come out. You can register in under five
>minutes for a meeting in your area at:
>We are at a critical point in the campaign to resolve the crisis over
>Iraq through peaceful means. In the UK, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
>has put the probability of war at under 50%. Mohammad ElBaradei, head
>of the UN's nuclear inspections program, has said there is "no smoking
>gun" and no significant evidence pointing to a revitalized Iraqi
>nuclear program. Numerous newspaper reports have suggested that when
>Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector, talks to the UN Security
>Council on the January 27th, he will say that Iraq has complied with
>At the same time, reports on the costs of this war in lives, global
>security, and money continue to come in on an almost daily basis. A
>Yale economist has placed the total cost of the war at up to $1.6
>TRILLION dollars. A UN report argues that as many as 500,000 Iraqi
>civilians could be killed or seriously wounded in the war, with
>malnutrition affecting millions. The CIA tells us that the only
>circumstance under which Saddam Hussein is likely to use weapons of
>mass destruction is if he is backed into a corner.
>But President Bush and some of the hawks in his administration still
>appear eager to go to war, regardless of whether the inspections
>are working. Many members of Congress are concerned about this, but
>they're reluctant to challenge the President to commit to the United
>Nations process and let the inspections go forward.
>The authority to declare war resides with Congress and Congress alone.
>Congress authorized the President to use force only as a last resort.
>We are not at that point -- the weapons inspections are working. It's
>up to Congress to insist that we let the inspections work, and it's up
>to us to see that they do. Constituent meetings may be the single most
>powerful tool we have for doing that.
>You can sign up right now at:
>In these meetings, we'll be talking to members of Congress or their
>senior staff. A team of hard-working MoveOn volunteers has been
>contacting each office; not all of the meetings are
>confirmed yet, but by the end of the week they will be. Please DON'T
>contact the members' office about this -- we're trying to coordinate
>this so that it's easy for them. After you register, you'll be given
>contact info for the volunteer coordinating your meeting.
>These meetings come five months after a hugely successful
>round of constituent meetings convened by MoveOn on August 28. I've
>attached our final message on that round below -- you can read it to
>get a sense of what it's like to participate in these meetings and
>what kind of impact they can have. This time around, it's likely that
>we'll be pushing Congress to sign onto a "Dear Colleague" letter,
>circulated by Representatives who voted for and against the Iraq
>resolution, asking the President to let the inspections work. In
>other words, there's a good likelihood that Congress will be taking up
>We're organizing these meetings in conjunction with Win Without War, a
>coalition of major mainstream membership organizations like the Sierra
>Club, NOW, the NAACP, and the National Council of Churches. Together,
>these organizations represent tens of millions of Americans. It's
>going to be huge. We'd love to see you there. Please sign up today:
>The Bush Administration has indicated that it will make a firm statement
>regarding the war on Iraq on January 27th. It's critical that
>we get Congress to reach out to the President and ensure that he
>lets the inspections work. We don't have much time, but by meeting with
>Congress, we could make the critical difference. Please sign up now.
> International Campaigns Director
> January 8th, 2002
>P.S. Here's an abbreviated version of the report from last time:
>Dear MoveOn Supporter,
>Here's a quick report on the progress of our "No War on Iraq" campaign.
>As August 30, 2002, just ten days after the meetings were launched, more
>than 160,000 people around the country have signed the online petition.
>And on Wednesday, thousands of us delivered the first batch of these
>petitions through meetings in Senate offices in each and every state.
>I've been scrambling to stay on top of the reports as they come in from
>meetings across the country. I'm receiving emails from Utah, from Hawaii,
>from New Hampshire, and from Georgia. The experience each message
>is different, but on one point they're nearly all the same: the meetings
>that occurred yesterday with Senators' offices were an enormous success.
>Local TV stations broadcast interviews with participants in close to a
>third of the meetings. And newspapers from the Austin-American Statesman
>the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times to the Indianapolis Star have printed
>or are writing stories. Since Senators watch the media closely, this
>coverage has made the meetings even more impactful.
>The following comment from a meeting participant in Florida has been echoed
>again and again in the letters in my inbox:
>"As Senator Nelson's aide said at the end of our meeting, I came with no
>expectations today. But I left amazed at the eloquence and passion
>expressed by so many of you today. It gives me hope . . . I just wanted to
>thank you for your time, the mileage you put on your cars, but most of all
>for speaking out when so many people keep quiet under the false guise of
>patriotism. Our actions display true patriotism and love of country."
>As I read through these reports, as I look at (and listen to, and watch)
>press coverage that we've generated, and as I hear descriptions of the
>reactions of Senators' staff, I know that through our meetings and our
>petition, we've made a lasting and positive impact.
>But the reports speak for themselves:
>From David Keppel, Indianapolis, IN:
>"The meeting with Leslie Reiser, [Senator Richard] Lugar's State Director,
>went extremely well. . . . We had an impressive group of delegates and an
>even more impressive portfolio of letters (including some prominent people
>we had invited who couldn't make it but were supportive). Ms. Reiser was
>highly receptive. . . . I think we have a real chance with [Senator Lugar].
>And he's as well positioned as anyone in Congress to put the brakes on
>From JoAnn Perry in Reno, NV:
>"It was an excellent meeting, and everyone there was glad to attend.
>[Senator Ensign's aide Verita] Prothro said it was the largest and best
>organized that she had had in that office!"
>From our local leader in Boston, MA:
>"We had about 150 people show up for support. We held a vigil outside. Six
>of us went into the meeting.
>We met with Tom Crohan (one of Sen. Kennedy's) aides) for about an hour.
>was very friendly, constructive conversation. He didn't say it directly,
>but it sounded like Sen. Kennedy would definitely be against a war. Tom
>mentioned that when Sen. Kennedy mentions this topic, he remembers his
>brother and the Cuban missile crisis. He said his brother was right to
>a diplomatic solution first before a military solution. He feels that the
>Bush administration should do the same in this instance."
>From our leader in Madison, WI:
>"Given the short notice, we were delighted that 72 people gathered, and 3/4
>of them were eager to speak. The wonderful thing about the gathering was
>that people came from all walks of life, from University professors and
>graduate students, to blue-collar laborers and Vietnam vets -- all speaking
>in unison about their concerns regarding the war on Iraq and urging their
>Congressman to ask the questions that they were asking."
>From our leader in Boise, ID:
>"We met with staff of Senator Crapo and Craig together. Very large, diverse
>group of participants including four Benedictine sisters and members of
>Lutheran Peace Fellowship as well as Idaho Peace Coalition and Snake River
>Alliance and independents. Everyone was very articulate and heartfelt and
>respectful. . . . We were also asked exactly what questions we wanted
>answered and folks gave great and pretty comprehensive responses."
>From Sue Regan, Atlanta, GA:
>"We were extremely fortunate to have, in our group, Democratic State
>Representative, Nan Grogan Orrock, Elizabeth Chestnut from WAND, and a few
>retired Armed forces personnel . . . who very eloquently told of the
>warnings given to her squad of going to war with Iraq. 'Too bloody,' they
>said, 'a big mistake. Do not go to war with Iraq.' The entire Gluck family
>was present to admonish Zell Miller that if the US went to war with Iraq it
>would be the children who ultimately would suffer those consequences."
>From an attendee in Seattle, WA
>"[Mr. Thompson, Senator Cantwell's aide, said] that combining the
>with the personal, such as we have with MoveOn, was taking the right
>From Joan Wile in New York, NY:
>"Today I was part of a delegation of 10 people who met with Hillary
>Clinton's NYS Deputy Director, Basil Smikle, at her offices on Third Avenue
>to lobby against the war on Iraq. . . . Among my delegation was our
>spokesperson, a Rabbi who heads a Jewish peace group; a minister who has
>been to Iraq several times distributing medical supplies; a young professor
>of Middle East studies who has spent a lot of time recently in Iraq and
>other Middle East countries and who speaks 8 languages in that area; a
>documentary film maker who was recently in Iraq making a documentary, and
>ordinary citizens like me who feel strongly that it would be a disaster if
>we launch a preemptive strike against Iraq. . . . My feeling was that [Mr.
>Simkle] took our views very seriously and will try to persuade [Senator
>Clinton] to attend to the issue."
>Thank you all for being part of something big.
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