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Senate to Vote on Iraq War Funds -- Take Action Now

Jeff Leys
April 7, 2006

The U.S. Senate is set to vote to approve the supplemental spending package for the current fiscal year. This includes an additional $67.5 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Click here for an analysis of the funds contained in the supplemental spending bill)

This vote is scheduled to take place the week of April 24th. Between now and then, the Senate is in recess and U.S. Senators are back in their home states.

You are urged to take one or more of the following actions to halt funding of the Iraq war:

  • Visit your Senators’ offices to tell them to vote against all war funding. Bring as many people with you as possible. Don’t let their staff tell you that you need an appointment and don’t call ahead to try to schedule an appointment between now and April 24. It normally takes weeks to schedule an appointment with a staff member (let alone a Senator)—there is no time to wait this long. It is infinitely more important that Senators know that there is a steady stream of constituents coming to their offices to demand an end to the war than it is to follow proper protocol.

Never Ending Funding for the Never Ending Iraq War:

March 26, 2006

A Discussion of the Pending Supplemental Spending Bill

By Jeff Leys, Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org)
March 26, 2006

Once again, Congress is poised to approve “emergency” funding to prosecute the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The House already approved $67.5 billion on March 16, 2006-rushing the bill through the Appropriations Committee and the House floor in order to get home in time for St. Patrick’s Day. The Senate Appropriations Committee held hearings on the Bush Administration’s supplemental spending request on March 8, though it is yet to vote to send it to the full Senate. The full Senate is expected to vote by the end of April, and quite probably much sooner. Now is the time to call your Senators to tell them in no uncertain terms to vote against the pending supplemental spending bill (call the Congressional switchboard at 1-866-340-9281; they will connect you to your Senators’ offices).

Speaker of House Not Responsible for War Funding

March 20, 2006

By Mike Ferner and Scott Blackburn

Washington D.C. — By a vote of 348-71, the U.S. House of Representatives voted March 16 to spend 67,000,000,000 dollars more for open-ended wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the fact that a growing majority of the people they represent believe the war is wrong.

In an eleventh hour effort on March 15 to appeal to the conscience of the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, six peace activists took their case to his office on Capitol Hill where they read the names of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians killed in the war, and negotiated with Hastert’s staff for a meeting with the Illinois congressman.

Why We Fast

March 15, 2006

By Jeff Leys

On February 15, four of us began a liquids only fast at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Two of us are consuming only water; two of us are consuming juice. We intend to fast through March 20, as the U.S. enters its fourth year of occupying Iraq.

We began our fast on February 15 to recall the massive global mobilization against the impending U.S. led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Three years ago, millions of people took to the streets around the world in the largest mobilization ever to try to prevent a war from starting. At that time, talk was that a new global superpower had emerged to challenge the growing U.S. military empire.

The Legislative Quandry

By Jeff Leys
March 15, 2006

Vigiling and fasting in front of the Capitol these past 3 weeks, it is apparent that a noxious disease has overtaken the U.S. public and those professing to be opposed to the war. It’s a disease of disdain for one’s own rights and responsibilities which come from living within a democracy. With the few exceptions of those who refuse to give up the legislative struggle, the refrain is: “I’ve marched. I’ve vigiled. I’ve voted. I’ve written letters to Congress. And still the war goes on. There is no reason to lobby or act anymore.”

Hungering for Justice in The House

March 14, 2006

By Mike Ferner

Washington, March 14 — Last Wednesday evening, the House Appropriations Committee voted to throw another $67,000,000,000 at the murderous work in Iraq and Afghanistan. That night members of the committee, righteously indignant and nearly unanimous, gave President “Bring ‘Em On” Bush a loud slap in the face.

Flowers of Evil, Flowers of Peace

February 2006

by George Capaccio

Can you truly understand what it feels like to watch in the darkness as your husband, loaded with weapons, chemical antidotes and somber anticipation, boards a bus to an airfield where he will board a plane that will take him to war? For those of you who have never been there – please don’t say you understand. You never will.

Monica Benderman wrote these words about her husband Kevin who served one tour of duty in Iraq before declaring himself a conscientious objector. Sgt. Benderman is now serving a 15-month sentence at the Ft. Lewis, WA stockade for seeking CO status and refusing to return to Iraq. As I read Monica’s account of watching her husband board a military bus, I remembered what it was like for me each time I got ready to go to Iraq. I remembered what I carried and how I felt when the plane finally lifted and I knew I was on my way. Mostly I felt elated, so elated I would spend hour after hour not reading or watching in flight movies but rather taking great pleasure in imagining what lay ahead. Unlike Sgt. Benderman, I wasn’t going to war. I was returning to a land and a people I had come to honor, to cherish, and to love. More importantly, I was returning to my family—not my family of origin but to a web of relationships of which I had become an integral part. And I knew, the way Sgt. Benderman and every other American soldier could never know, that when I arrived in Baghdad I would be truly welcomed as a friend, as a brother, as part of the family.

There Are Lives in the Balance

February 22, 2006 Washington – 2/22/06. Today is day eight of our 34-day fast for peace at the U.S. Capitol, the Washington component of the Winter of Our Discontent campaign organized by Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

The four of us in D.C., Maureen Foltz, Jeff Leys, Ed Kinane, and I are doing a liquids-only fast. Maureen and Ed are drinking juice; Jeff and I are trying the water route. So far, everyone reports they’re in good shape and not feeling any serious side effects.

Countering War with Works of Mercy: Liberation and Deliverance

January 24, 2006

Barely a week goes by when I don’t think about the nuns who were so much a part of my childhood.

I grew up in a working class neighborhood on the Southwest side of Chicago where most families identified closely with the nearest Catholic parish. Ours, St. Daniel the Prophet, was centered in the standard church, school, convent, and rectory buildings. The convent was home for several dozen religious women sent to us by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. Father Mulligan, the pastor, said Mass, heard confessions and paid attention to the Sunday envelope collection, but essentially the nuns ran the parish. They taught our classes, directed the choirs, organized church events, and supervised parish functions. We’d never heard of feminism, but we certainly knew that the nuns were in charge.

The West, Quietly, is Pillaging Iraq

When Saddam Hussein grabbed power in 1979, Iraq had no long-term foreign debt. Cash reserves were $36 billion. Iraq had high literacy and public universities; it had extensive socialized health care. It was becoming a “first world” nation.

Soon, however, this violent, cunning despot began squandering that wealth. Borrowing tens of billions of dollars, he built up a vast military and security apparatus. In 1980 - with the United States’ blessing - Saddam invaded his neighbor, the Ayatollah Khomeini’s oil-rich Iran. To Saddam’s utter surprise, that war wasn’t over in a few weeks. It became an eight-year long quagmire. Hundreds of thousands on each side were maimed and killed.