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Jan 7th: Out of Iraq Events Planned Nationwide

Dear friend,

It’s time to get Congress to act to end the Iraq war! Toward that end, local organizations have planned over 70 Out of Iraq events around the country on or about January 7th. Most of the events are town hall forums, and several will feature members of Congress, including Bobby Scott, Diane Watson, Jim McDermott, Adam Smith, Bob Filner, Martin Sabo, Jim Moran, and John Murtha. Several other events will feature congressional staff, congressional and senatorial candidates, local elected officials, and leaders of the peace movement, including Gold Star Families for Peace founder Cindy Sheehan, and After Downing Street Co-Founder John Bonifaz.
 
Global Exchange is proud to be involved with these events, along with organizations like Progressive Democrats of America, After Downing Street, Cities for Peace, United for Peace and Justice, Hip Hop Caucus, Democracy Rising, World Can't Wait, Gold Star Families for Peace, PeaceMajority Report, Bring Them Home Campaign, 20 20 Vision, Impeach Bush Coalition, Peace Action, CODEPINK, and others. We strongly encourage you to attend the Out of Iraq events or to organize similar events in your own community to send a strong message to members of Congress as they go back into session: it’s time to end this war!

Below is a list of the January 7th events, as well as an article by Global Exchange’s Ted Lewis about the Iraq debate that finally broke out in Congress at the end of 2005 and what we need to do to move Congress to action in 2006. 

Thanks as always for your hard work on behalf of peace and justice,
Global Exchange
 
P.S. For a preview of what CODEPINK has planned for how to end the war in 2006, see http://www.womensaynotowar.org

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Iraq Debate Breaks Out in Congress
Public Opinion and Grassroots Pressure Prove Key
By Ted Lewis, Global Exchange Newsletter, Winter 2006
 
The week before Thanksgiving, while President Bush was out of the country, the Congressional debate over the US occupation of Iraq finally broke into the open. It started with a Senate vote of 79 to 19 to call 2006 a year of “transition” in Iraq. The language was cautious, but the message was clear: The, lies, indictments, scandals, and sheer incompetence have finally sent public confidence in the war plummeting along with Bush’s poll numbers. Mid-term elections are looming next year and even conservative legislators are getting worried about being too closely identified with the Bush administration’s failures.
 
Later that week, influential and reliably pro-war Congressman John Murtha (D) of Pennsylvania called the Iraq war “a flawed policy wrapped in an illusion” and introduced a bill mandating the rapid “re-deployment” of US troops out of Iraq. Murtha’s dramatic, but highly reasoned about-face triggered panicked denunciations from Bush, abroad in China, and Cheney, who circled the wagons at home. Murtha’s bill also discomfited “moderate” Democrats who seek to appear critical of the war without providing active leadership to end it. Worried House Republicans quickly wrote a sham bill–one sentence long–aimed at stifling legitimate discussion. They forced a bogus vote late on Friday night before flying home for the holiday.
 
By temporarily scuttling Murtha’s bill, Republicans won a parliamentary skirmish and took advantage of the moral and political disarray of the Democrats. Nevertheless, it is clear that war partisans of both parties have lost the hearts and minds of most Americans. Grassroots truth-telling in thousands of local and national actions have lead to this sea change that now opens the way to win the debate and force a humanitarian withdrawal. We are not there yet, but successes that seemed impossible during earlier phases of the Bush presidency are now within reach. 
 
Both the people of Iraq and the United States agree the occupation must end. This has been demonstrated in poll after poll in both countries and was underlined again the weekend before Thanksgiving when about 100 Iraqi Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders attending a reconciliation conference in Cairo organized by the Arab League issued a joint statement demanding the withdrawal of all foreign forces on a specific timetable.
 
What We Need to Do: Build Grassroots Pressure and Move Congress

The current makeup of the Congress presents daunting challenges. At least until November 2006, pro-war Republicans will control both the House and Senate. And the Democrats who advocate a common sense withdrawal policy are still a minority within their own party—though House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s recent statement in support of Murtha’s bill is an auspicious sign of a potential sea change. The peace movement has momentum, the facts, and the majority of Americans on our side. Nevertheless, it will take sustained and strategic citizen pressure to make Congress live up to its constitutional duty to check an unaccountable president. 
 
The first thing we need to do is build support for Murtha’s bill, to redeploy US Forces out of Iraq (H.J.RES.73). This bill is alive in Congress despite the smokescreen thrown up by Republicans to deter honest debate on it. Right now you can: 
 
• Send a letter to your local newspaper supporting the bill and calling on your member of Congress to support it. 
 
• Call your member of Congress with your views at (202) 224-3121.
 
• Organize a broad group from your community and request to meet with your representative to talk about active support for Murtha’s bill.
 
• Let us know about what you are doing so we can learn from your successes and challenges, and help locate allies for you as we build up this effort. 
                                                
Join the growing Legislative Network on Iraq

Global Exchange is especially active in California, where we are working together with allies like Progressive Democrats of America, CODEPINK, and California Peace Action to support and encourage those members of Congress who are already providing initiative to end the war. For those members dragging their feet, we can help you organize visits, town hall meetings, public forums, media events, and other strong and visible actions to convince, cajole, and, if need be, pressure, embarrass, and oblige them to take our message into account. To get involved, contact Ted Lewis at (415) 255-7296 x236 or ted@globalexchange.org.
 
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January 7th Out of Iraq Events List

To locate or list additional events, see http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/event

Jan 5 Arlington, Va.: Town Hall, Congressmen Jim Moran and John Murtha, Democracy for America
 
 Jan 6 Everett, Wash.: Vigil, Everett Peace Action
 
 Charleston, W.Va.: Protest at office of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia Patriots for Peace
 
 Kingsport, Tenn.: Protest at office of Rep. William Jenkins.
 
 Cottage Grove, Ore.: Rally
 
 Jan 7 Seattle: Town Hall, Progressive Democrats of America, Backbone Campaign, Congressman Jim McDermott
 
 San Diego, Calif.: Town Hall, Congressman Bob Filner
 
 Tacoma, Wash.: Town Hall, Congressman Adam Smith
 
 Norfolk, Va.: Film and Town Hall, Congressman Bobby Scott , Mayor James Holley of Portsmouth
 
 Norfolk, Va.: Town Hall, Progressive Democrats of America, Congressman Bobby Scott
 
 Montgomery County, Penn.: Town Hall, U.S. Senate Candidate Chuck Pennachio
 
 Asheville, N.C.: Town Hall, Clyde Michael Morgan, U.S. Congressional Candidate.
 
 Murrieta, Calif.: Town Hall, Jeeni Criscenzo, U.S. Congressional Candidate
 
 Courtland, N.Y.: Launch of the Les Roberts for Congress campaign
 
 Santa Barbara, Calif.: Protest at office of Representative Lois Capps
 
 Arlington, Texas: Protest at Congressman Joe Barton's office
 
 Cambridge, Mass.: Town Hall, John Bonifaz, Co-Founder of After Downing Street
 
 Sacramento, Calif.: Town Hall, Cindy Sheehan
 
 Mount Shasta, Calif.: Peace Rally, Mount Shasta For Peace
 
 Oklahoma City, Okla.: Peace Rally, Peace House OKC
 
 Daytona Beach, Fla.: Town Hall, Central Florida/Central Florida East Veterans for Peace
 
 Morristown, N.J.: Town Hall
 
 Alice, Texas, Town Hall, Alice Peace And Justice Coalition
 
 Kingston, NY: Code Pink, Event in front of US Army Recruiting Station
 
 Worcester, Mass.: Concert and Discussion
 
 San Anselmo, Calif.: Town Hall, Social Justice Center of Marin
 
 West Palm Beach, Fla.: Rally Richmond, Ind.: Town Hall
 
 Madison, Wis.: Town Hall, Veterans for Peace, South Central Labor Federation, Stoughton Area Peace Coalition.
 
 Ramona, Calif.: Town Hall
 
 Colorado Springs, Col.: Town Hall, Citizens for Peace in Space, Colorado Springs Action, Colorado Springs Camp Casey
 
 Wilsonville, Ore.: Vigil, Oregon House District 26 Democrats
 
 Owosso, Mich.: Town Hall, Shiawassee County Veterans For Peace
 
 Denton, Texas: Film, Peace Action Denton
 
 Montgomery County, Md.: Town Hall, Progressive Democrats of America, Montgomery County Peace Action, Democracy for America
 
 Inverness, Fla.: Town Hall
 
 Washington, D.C.: Town Hall
 
 Libertyville, Ill.: Town Hall
 
 Lakemoor, Ill.: House Party
 
 Salida, Col.: Town Hall
 
 Peoria, Ill.: Town Hall
 
 Highland Park, Ill.: Town Hall, Tenth Congressional District Democrats, North Suburban Peace Initiative and The Democracy Cell Project.
 
 Denver, Col.: Town Hall, Progressive Democrats of Colorado
 
 Parkersburg, W.Va.: Rally on Wood County Court House steps
 
 Maplewood, N.J.: Film and Discussion, South Mountain Peace Action
 
 Charleston, S.C.: Rally
 
 Lexington, Ken.: Town Hall, Peace Action Task Group of the Central Kentucky Council for Peace and Justice.
 
 Kalamazoo, Mich.: Town Hall
 
 Provo, Utah: Town Hall
 
 Palm Beach, Fla.: Town Hall, The Palm Beach Democratic Club and The Progressive Leadership Council of Palm Beach County (Progressive Democrats of America)
 
 Albuquerque, N.M.: Town Hall, Military Families Speak Out of New Mexico, Bring our Soldiers Home NOW, Veterans for Peace, Stop The War Machine, Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice, Another Side, What If You Knew....
 
 Anderson, Ind.: Rally
 
 Corvallis, Ore.: Vigil
 
 Orlando, Fla.: Rally, Code Pink
 
 Rutland, Mass.: Town Hall
 
 Hayward, Calif.: House Party
 
 Napa, Calif.: Town Hall
 
 Highland, Ind.: Rally, Northwest Indiana Coalition Against the Iraq War, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace
 
 San Francisco, Calif.: Impeach Bush and Out of Iraq Protest
 
 Brooklyn, N.Y.: Rally
 
 Watertown, S.D.: Prayer Service for Peace in Iraq, The Sisters of Mother of God Monastery
 
 Jan 8 Anaheim, Calif.: Town Hall, Patrick Henry Democratic Club
 
 Ventura, Calif.: Town Hall, Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions
 
 Watertown, S.D.: Rally and Discussion
 
 Jan 9 Everett, Wash.: Meeting, Everett Peace Action
 
 Jan. 10 Simsbury, Ct.: Town Hall
 
 Arlington, Va.: Town Hall, Virginia Grassroots Coalition
 
 Jan 13 Los Angeles, Calif.: Town Hall, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, Robert Blumenfield, District Director for Congressman Howard Berman.
 
 Jan 14 Vancouver, Wash.: Democracy for Vancouver and Vancouver for Peace.
 
 Toms River, N.J.: Rally, OCDFA and The Unitarian Church Jan 17 Los Angeles, Calif.: Town Hall, Democracy for America, SoCal Grassroots and Progressive Democrats of America, Congresswoman Diane Watson, Tom Hayden.
 
 Jan. 24 West Hartford, Ct.: Town Hall, Scott Ritter


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