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Fwd: Join us in Iraq meetings with Congress

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  • valerie Werner
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    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 8, 2003
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      >
      >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:
      >
      > http://www.moveon.org/inspectionsmeetings/
      >
      >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
      >the inspections.
      >
      >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:
      >
      > http://www.moveon.org/inspectionsmeetings/
      >
      >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
      >our petition.
      >
      >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:
      >
      > http://www.moveon.org/inspectionsmeetings/
      >
      >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.
      >
      >Sincerely,
      >--Eli Pariser
      > International Campaigns Director
      > MoveOn.org
      > 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
      >describes
      >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
      >to
      >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)
      >the
      >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
      >Bush."
      >
      >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.
      >It
      >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
      >seek
      >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
      >electronic
      >with the personal, such as we have with MoveOn, was taking the right
      >approach."
      >
      >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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