Rabbi Michael Lerner of the Network of Spiritual Progressives recently released a transcript of a private conference call with members of Congress and leaders of the anti-war movement. Lerner says he posted the transcript to show leaders in the peace movement that they need “some fundamentally new thinking.”
Many of the recommendations made by supportive members of Congress reinforce the work that Peace Action West has been doing in our grassroots and direct lobbying:
Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey: Let’s start with what it’s going to take. It’s going to take some courage to not fund continuing the occupation. But we have to make sure that ending the war is not perceived as abandoning the troops. So what the triad (Congresswomen Woolsey, Waters, and Lee), are proposing ( H.R. 508 by Barbara Lee) is that we only fund a safe and orderly redeployment, including bringing the big equipment out of Iraq.
So that’s what we’re focusing on. Now, what’s it going to take for the Democratic leadership to do something bold? I don’t know.
I promise you that we’re not going to stop pushing. But there’s still a lack of understanding that the reason we’re in the majority is that the people of this country wanted us to lead in bringing our troops home.
So your role (the NSP and the other organizations represented on this conference call) is to keep on doing what you’re doing. Help people change the conversation from “abandoning the troops” to funding orderly redeployment. I’m telling you, that’s going to take six months to a year. If we don’t get started…and they don’t want it to happen, the Republicans. Then we have Senator John Warner (R-VA) saying, “Start [redeploying the troops] by Christmas.” I think we should build on that, by the way, even though he doesn’t mean it with the same intensity we do. But we have to make it look like this is the beginning of something that could happen so that Democrats could get some courage.