On Friday, we officially launched our campaign, No Soldier Left Behind: Rebuild Iraq, Rebuild America, with a conference call featuring special guests Dan Spokojny and Darcy Burner.
Dan Spokojny works for Rep. Maxine Waters, chair of the Out of Iraq caucus and a congressional leader who has worked tirelessly to end the war in Iraq. Dan talked about the need for progressives to offer a solution-oriented vision for ending the war in Iraq, as embodied in legislation Peace Action West supports like HR 5507. HR 5507 is a bill that outlines a plan including complete, fully-funded withdrawal of US troops, and diplomatic initiatives. He encouraged us to keep the pressure on Congress. Hearing from constituents helps keep the war at the forefront for staff and members of Congress, which helps push Congress to take stronger action.
Darcy Burner is running for Congress in Washington’s 8th congressional district and is one of the primary authors of A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq. Darcy discussed how she was inspired to write the plan while campaigning in the 8th district and constantly being asked HOW (not IF) she was going to end the war in Iraq. She emphasized the decision to not have a residual force in Iraq, pointing out that her consultations with experts showed that there is no sound military rationale for leaving behind a smaller force in Iraq once “combat” troops have been withdrawn.
Many thanks to Darcy and Dan for being on the call and answering questions from our supporters. It was interesting and helpful to hear their insights on moving our agenda in this critical election year. It is also encouraging in the midst of much frustration to interact with people who are working very hard within the halls of power, or aspiring to be there, and are committed to bold action to end the occupation of Iraq and implement a political and diplomatic solution.
On the call, I mentioned these important ways you can get involved in our campaign:
• Join one of our meetup groups to take locally targeted actions to end the war in Iraq. Click here to see if there’s a meetup in your area. If there isn’t one and you’d like to start one, click here to e-mail me and we can get one set up.
• Visit our website and download the activist toolkit. This gives you guidelines and resources on actions like birddogging, direct lobbying, letter writing, phonebanking, web 2.0 activism and more.
• Participate in our July 4th action. Between now and November, we are working to gather as many signatures as possible on our open letter to the president elect calling for a proactive plan to end the war in Iraq. You can sign the letter here, and download a pdf to print out and gather signatures here. We will have groups across the country bringing the letter to barbecues and public events to get their friends, family and neighbors to sign on. Click here to let me know if you plan to participate.