War on Iraq - Opposition on Capitol Hill
As to the debate on a new war in Iraq, BLUEPRINT magazine
received an e-mail containing individual statements made by
U.S. congressmen and senators who are not in favor of their
president's decision to launch another attack on Iraq. The
following information could not be counterchecked, but you
are free to enter the cited websites yourself and build up
your own opinion:
Thema: Socio-Political Report: Turning the Tide (part 2 of 2)
Datum: 16.10.02 20:07:00 (MEZ) - Mitteleurop. Sommerzeit
> Turning the Tide * Saying NO To Dubya
> Part 2 of 2
"Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution
(authorizing military force against Iraq). I am deeply
troubled that lives may be lost without a meaningful
attempt to bring Iraq into compliance with U.N. resolutions
through careful and cautious diplomacy."
-- Congressman Pete Stark, (D-California)
from article #2, below
"The bottom line is I don't trust this president and his
-- Congressman Pete Stark, (D-California)
from article #2, below
"How have we gotten to this low point in the history of
-- Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-West Virginia)
from article #3, below
"While some voices clamor for war, a future America
looks for deeper unity of all people worldwide and seeks
not empire but harmony. So to you, young America,
I sing a hymn of praise because while some may want
to send you marching off to fight yesterday's wars,
you are advancing from the future, reminding us that
our nation has a higher calling. Reminding us of the
America that can be. Reminding us that there has to be
a better way. Challenging us to find that better way.
Joining with us to make straight the path of democracy....
So come forth young and old. Prepare for America's future."
-- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio)
from article #1, below
"And what we are dealing with right now in this country
is whether we are having a kind of bloodless, silent coup
or not. ... This president is trying to bring to himself
all the power to become an emperor -- to create Empire
America. ... If you go along like sheep that is what will
happen. ... It is the oldest game in the book. They found
this war very convenient to obscure people's views about
what is happening domestically."
-- Congressman James McDermott (D-Washington)
from article #6, below
"Let's adjourn for one hour and go down to the Vietnam
Memorial before we commit ourselves and our children
to an unknown world in which any president can decide
to go to war as long as he or she determines it is in the
national interest at that moment.... Let us not, in pursuit
of oil or power or the blandishments of empire, be the
ones to lead the world to failure."
-- Congressman James McDermott (D-Washington)
Courtesy of Latifa Amdur
"The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power
to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following
reasons: kings had always been involving and impoverishing
their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always,
that the good of the people was the object. This our convention
understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly oppressions,
and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man
should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us.
But your view destroys the whole matter, and places our
President where kings have always stood."
-- The Last Decent Republican (Can you guess who said this?)
from article #3, below
"The Constitution supposes what the history of all governments
demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most
interested in war, and most prone to it. It has, accordingly,
with studied care, vested the question of war in the legislature."
-- James Madison, 4th President of the united States, 1798
As quoted by Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas)
1) Kucinich: Statement in Opposition to the Resolution
2) The Bottom Line Is I Don't Trust This president and His
3) Congress Must Resist the Rush to War
4) The Last Decent Republican
5) Making Our Voices Heard
6) McDermott Accuses Bush of Plotting to Be Emperor
7) Reward the Heroes
1) Kucinich: Statement in Opposition to the Resolution
Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), leader of the House
opposition to the resolution, gave the following statement
on the House floor today during general debate on the war
Yesterday students held a peace rally on the West front of the
Capitol. It may have been the first rally on the Capitol grounds
in opposition to war with Iraq. I attended and I heard
representatives of America's youth asking: Why:
Why war against the people of Iraq?
Why assert military power which threatens innocent civilians?
Why war to settle differences?
Why separate our nation from the world community?
Why not give peaceful resolution a chance?
I looked at the faces of the young people at the peace rally. Fresh
faces, hopeful, optimistic, and challenging. Soon the voices of our
youth will be heard across the nation. And we should pay them
heed. They will be heard on campuses, in town halls, in marches.
They will be raised to challenge and to confront senseless violence,
mindless war, the death of innocents, the destruction of villages
to save villages. Voices will be lifted up in urgency because the
future knows when the place it needs to build could be destroyed.
The future knows skepticism when promises of peace are wrapped
in fire and brimstone.
Our young people opposing war represent a message from the
future America, the America that can be, and with the upwardly
spiraling aspirations of millions of Americans of all ages, the
America that will be:
The future America works to make nonviolence an organizing
principle in our society.
The future America works to make war archaic.
It is a nation that lives courageously in peace, working to settle
differences at home and abroad without killing.
The future America comprehends the world as an interconnected
whole. It understands that changes in transportation,
communication and trade have made people throughout the world
The future America believes that each person is sacred. That each
person makes a difference. That each choice we make affects
others. That an injury to one person is an injury to all. That justice
ought to be international and that vengeance is reserved to the
It is an America where human rights, and workers rights and
environmental quality principles are within the ark of the Human
It is a nation where each life is given an opportunity to unfold,
where all have access to health care, to higher education, to jobs
and to a secure retirement. Where the quality of life matters.
Where people build families, build communities, build an American
community of our dreams, where our highest aspirations light
the way to a better nation and to a better world.
The future America is a nation which works to sustain life on
earth. It champions protection of the global environment. It works
with all nations to abolish nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and
It is a nation which preserves the heavens for the restless
human soul. And it rejects putting weapons in space because it
knows the kingdom that will come from the stars should bring
eternal peace, not war.
While some voices clamor for war, a future America looks for
deeper unity of all people worldwide and seeks not empire but
So to you, young America, I sing a hymn of praise because while
some may want to send you marching off to fight yesterday's
wars, you are advancing from the future, reminding us that
our nation has a higher calling. Reminding us of the America
that can be. Reminding us that there has to be a better way.
Challenging us to find that better way. Joining with us to make
straight the path of democracy.
This is a time for caution as we would face war, but it is also
a cause for joy because the same reveille which sounds a battle
cry and clangs the toxins of war, brings forth legions of others
enlisted in a holy cause to relight the lamp of freedom in our
So come forth young and old. Prepare for America's future.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich's Press Releases:
For much more on Congressman Kucinich and his work to stop the attack on
Iraq, to ban space-based weapons, and for a US Department of Peace, and
more...visit this updated page:
Courtesy of Carol Lanchester and
Jonathan Mark/Flyby News
2) The Bottom Line is I Don't Trust This president and His
Not every Democrat has caved to Bush's martial fervor.
Rep. Pete Stark makes it stunningly clear why he voted against the
Iraq war resolution.
Editor's note: Below is the fiery statement delivered on the floor
of the House Wednesday by veteran California Democrat Rep. Pete Stark.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Oct. 10, 2002
"Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this resolution (authorizing
force against Iraq). I am deeply troubled that lives may be lost without
a meaningful attempt to bring Iraq into compliance with U.N. resolutions
through careful and cautious diplomacy.
"The bottom line is I don't trust this president and his advisors.
"Make no mistake, we are voting on a resolution that grants total
authority to the president, who wants to invade a sovereign nation
without any specific act of provocation. This would authorize the
United States to act as the aggressor for the first time in our
history. It sets a precedent for our nation -- or any nation --
to exercise brute force anywhere in the world without regard to
international law or international consensus.
"Congress must not walk in lockstep behind a president who has
been so callous to proceed without reservation, as if war was of
no real consequence.
"You know, three years ago in December, Molly Ivins, an observer
of Texas politics, wrote: 'For an upper-class white boy, Bush
comes on way too hard. At a guess, to make up for being an
upper-class white boy.'
"'Somebody,' she said, 'should be worrying about how all this could
affect his handling of future encounters with some Saddam
Hussein.' How prophetic, Ms. Ivins.
"Let us not forget that our president -- our commander in chief --
has no experience with, or knowledge of, war. In fact, he admits
that he was at best ambivalent about the Vietnam War. He skirted
his own military service and then failed to serve out his time in the
National Guard. And, he reported years later that at the height
of that conflict in 1968 he didn't notice 'any heavy stuff going on.'"
"So we have a president who thinks foreign territory is the
opponent's dugout and Kashmir is a sweater.
"What is most unconscionable is that there is not a shred of
evidence to justify the certain loss of life. Do the generalized
threats and half-truths of this administration give any one of us
in Congress the confidence to tell a mother or father or family
that the loss of their child or loved one was in the name of a
"Is the president's need for revenge for the threat once posed
to his father enough to justify the death of any American?
"I submit the answer to these questions is no.
"Aside from the wisdom of going to war as Bush wants, I am
troubled by who pays for his capricious adventure into world
domination. The administration admits to a cost of around
"Now, wealthy individuals won't pay. They've got big tax cuts
already. Corporations won't pay. They'll cook the books and
move overseas and then send their contributions to the
Republicans. Rich kids won't pay. Their daddies will get them
deferments as Big George did for George W.
"Well then, who will pay?
"School kids will pay. There'll be no money to keep them from
being left behind -- way behind. Seniors will pay. They'll pay big
time as the Republicans privatize Social Security and rob the
Trust Fund to pay for the capricious war. Medicare will be
curtailed and drugs will be more unaffordable. And there won't
be any money for a drug benefit because Bush will spend it all
on the war.
"Working folks will pay through loss of job security and bargaining
rights. Our grandchildren will pay through the degradation of our
air and water quality. And the entire nation will pay as Bush
continues to destroy civil rights, women's rights and religious
freedom in a rush to phony patriotism and to courting the
messianic Pharisees of the religious right.
"The questions before the members of this House and to all
Americans are immense, but there are clear answers. America
is not currently confronted by a genuine, proven, imminent
threat from Iraq. The call for war is wrong.
"And what greatly saddens me at this point in our history is
my fear that this entire spectacle has not been planned for
the well-being of the world, but for the short-term political
interest of our president.
"Now, I am also greatly disturbed that many Democratic leaders
have also put political calculation ahead of the president's
accountability to truth and reason by supporting this resolution.
But, I conclude that the only answer is to vote no on the
resolution before us."
About the writer:
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., represents the Fremont, Calif.
Courtesy of Liz Randol
3) Congress Must Resist the Rush to War
re-posted to Truthout:
By Robert C. Byrd
New York Times | Op-Ed, October 10, 2002
WASHINGTON -- A sudden appetite for war with Iraq seems to have consumed
the Bush administration and Congress. The debate that began in the Senate
last week is centered not on the fundamental and monumental questions of
whether and why the United States should go to war with Iraq, but rather
on the mechanics of how best to wordsmith the president's use-of-force
resolution in order to give him virtually unchecked authority to commit
the nation's military to an unprovoked attack on a sovereign nation.
How have we gotten to this low point in the history of Congress? Are we
too feeble to resist the demands of a president who is determined to bend
the collective will of Congress to his will -- a president who is
changing the conventional understanding of the term "self-defense"? And
why are we allowing the executive to rush our decision-making right
before an election? Congress, under pressure from the executive branch,
should not hand away its Constitutional powers. We should not hamstring
future Congresses by casting such a shortsighted vote. We owe our country
a due deliberation.
I have listened closely to the president. I have questioned the members
of his war cabinet. I have searched for that single piece of evidence
that would convince me that the president must have in his hands, before
the month is out, open-ended Congressional authorization to deliver an
unprovoked attack on Iraq. I remain unconvinced. The president's case for
an unprovoked attack is circumstantial at best. Saddam Hussein is a
threat, but the threat is not so great that we must be stampeded to
provide such authority to this president just weeks before an election.
Why are we being hounded into action on a resolution that turns over to
president Bush the Congress's Constitutional power to declare war? This
resolution would authorize the president to use the military forces of
this nation wherever, whenever and however he determines, and for as long
as he determines, if he can somehow make a connection to Iraq. It is a
blank check for the president to take whatever action he feels "is
necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the
United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq." This broad
resolution underwrites, promotes and endorses the unprecedented Bush
doctrine of preventive war and pre-emptive strikes -- detailed in a
recent publication, "National Security Strategy of the United States" --
against any nation that the president, and the president alone,
determines to be a threat.
We are at the gravest of moments. Members of Congress must not simply
walk away from their Constitutional responsibilities. We are the directly
elected representatives of the American people, and the American people
expect us to carry out our duty, not simply hand it off to this or any
other president. To do so would be to fail the people we represent and to
fall woefully short of our sworn oath to support and defend the
We may not always be able to avoid war, particularly if it is thrust upon
us, but Congress must not attempt to give away the authority to determine
when war is to be declared. We must not allow any president to unleash
the dogs of war at his own discretion and for an unlimited period of
Yet that is what we are being asked to do. The judgment of history will
not be kind to us if we take this step.
Members of Congress should take time out and go home to listen to their
constituents. We must not yield to this absurd pressure to act now, 27
days before an election that will determine the entire membership of the
House of Representatives and that of a third of the Senate. Congress
should take the time to hear from the American people, to answer their
remaining questions and to put the frenzy of ballot-box politics behind
us before we vote. We should hear them well, because while it is Congress
that casts the vote, it is the American people who will pay for a war
with the lives of their sons and daughters.
Robert C. Byrd is a Democratic senator for West Virginia.
Courtesy of via John Steiner
4) The Last Decent Republican
ON THE MEXICAN WAR
TO WILLIAM H. HERNDON.
WASHINGTON, February 15, 1848.
Your letter of the 29th January was received last night. Being
exclusively a constitutional argument, I wish to submit some reflections
upon it in the same spirit of kindness that I know actuates you. Let me
first state what I understand to be your position. It is that if it shall
become necessary to repel invasion, the President may, without violation
of the Constitution, cross the line and invade the territory of another
country, and that whether such necessity exists in any given case the
President is the sole judge.
Before going further consider well whether this is or is not your
position. If it is, it is a position that neither the President himself,
nor any friend of his, so far as I know, has ever taken. Their only
positions are -- first, that the soil was ours when the hostilities
commenced; and second, that whether it was rightfully ours or not,
Congress had annexed it, and the President for that reason was bound to
defend it; both of which are as clearly proved to be false in fact as you
can prove that your house is mine. The soil was not ours, and Congress
did not annex or attempt to annex it. But to return to your position.
Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem
it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he
may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow
him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his
power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If
to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to
prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say
to him,--"I see no probability of the British invading us"; but he will
say to you, "Be silent: I see it, if you don't."
The provision of the Constitution giving the war making power to Congress
was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: kings had
always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending
generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object.
This our convention understood to be the most oppressive of all kingly
oppressions, and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one
man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us. But your
view destroys the whole matter, and places our President where kings have
always stood. Write soon again.
Courtesy of Elaine Shinbrot
5) Making Our Voices Heard
By Paul Rogat Loeb
For those of us who think Bush's pending war against Iraq is
reckless madness, it's tempting to retreat into bitter despair
after the Senate vote giving him a blank check to attack.
Like Dickens orphans pleading for gruel, the Democratic
leadership politely requested that Bush consult them, work
with the UN and other allies, and exhaust all diplomatic
means before going to war. Then they caved and gave Bush --
and men like Richard Perle, who believed in winnable nuclear
wars, and Dick Cheney, who opposed the freeing of Nelson
Mandela -- the power to lead us into a war that will fuel rage
and resentment throughout the Islamic world and beyond.
So what to do other than nurturing bile and resentment?
Or writing angry emails and letters to those who've once
again shown no moral courage? Or thanking the 23 Senators
and 133 Representatives who found the strength to resist
all the lies and threats?
We might start by recognizing that we've made some
progress. A few weeks ago, the press reported that a mere
19 House Democrats would vote against the resolution.
Only two Senators opposed the Tonkin Gulf resolution that
opened the door to our full-scale war in Vietnam. Those
who stood up now did so knowing they would be attacked
and baited for their stands. (And Bush timed this vote to
fracture and demoralize the Democratic base and drive all
other issues off the table for the November elections.)
Yet they found the courage to vote their conscience -- and
did so in part because so many citizens like us made clear
their opposition to this war.
Now, in a time when Bush audaciously claims that "America
speaks with one voice," we must make our voices heard even
more. This means continuing to speak up, preferably in ways
that reach out as much to our fellow citizens as to our
elected representatives. If enough of us take public stands,
we may yet avert going to war with Iraq -- or at least limit
the power of this administration, whose backers speak
blatantly about the virtues of empire, to wage further wars
to come. We never know the full impact of our actions.
One case in point happened in 1969, when Henry Kissinger
told the North Vietnamese that Nixon was threatening to
escalate the Vietnam war massively, including potential
nuclear strikes, unless they capitulated and forced the
National Liberation Front in the South to do the same.
Nixon was serious. He'd had military advisers prepare
detailed plans, including mission folders with photographs
of potential nuclear targets. But two weeks before the
president's November 1st deadline, there was a nationwide
day of protest, the Moratorium, during which millions of
people took part in local demonstrations, vigils, church
services, petition drives and other forms of protest.
The next month came a major march in Washington, D.C.
of over a half million people. Publicly, Nixon responded to
the protests by watching the Washington Redskins football
game during the D.C. march and declaring that the marchers
weren't affecting his policies in the slightest -- sentiments
that fed the frustration and demoralization of far too
many in the peace movement. Yet privately, Nixon decided
the movement had, in his words, so "polarized" American
opinion that he couldn't carry out his threat. Participants
in the Moratorium had no idea that their efforts may have
helped stop a nuclear attack.
This example of our actions having more power than we
know came to mind as I marched with ten thousand others
on an October Seattle Sunday, the weekend before the
Congressional vote. Marchers paraded huge puppets of
black-clad mothers holding children and George Bush as
a global sheriff with pistols marked Exxon and Mobil. Others
carried a giant inflatable earth and a 50-foot Trident missile.
A community anti-smoking project brought their 20-foot
cloth eagle, adorned with a large black peace sign. Signs
"Drop Bush Not Bombs,"
"Iraq Didn't Attack Us Sept 11,"
"Another Vet For Peace,"
"How Much Blood For George?"
"The U.S. Needs A Regime Change,"
Families marched with their children. Onlookers waved in
support. A lawyer for the Seattle prosecutor's office said
he'd reluctantly supported the Afghan war, but not this one.
My neighbor from across the street, an electrician and military
vet, put a "No War" sign in his window and marched with his
wife -- both unusual for him. I talked with students and
grandmothers, skateboard punks and doctors, carpenters
and software designers. Some had been active for years.
Others were just beginning. This was the first demonstration
for one woman in her 43 years, "because I've had it up to here
with Bush's bogus leadership. If we get in this war, we'll never
see the end."
A cluster of African drummers propelled marchers forward
with their beat. Their friend had posted a notice on their
drumming website. Further back in the parade that stretched
for blocks, two saxophonists and a trumpeter played a
mournful St. Louis blues, which merged into a high-stepping
cakewalk, and then a long plaintive version of "America the
Beautiful." The drummer's tie displayed an American flag
and a picture of the World Trade Center towers. A friend
passed on a joke from Los Angeles singer-songwriter
"Satan wears a button asking 'What Would Cheney Do?'"
People marched for different reasons, but all feared that
attacking Iraq would inflame the Muslim world, help Bin Laden
recruit a new generation of terrorists, and kill thousands of
innocent Iraqis, not to mention our own young soldiers. They
mistrusted Bush's lies on a host of other issues and
wondered why he was ignoring the many generals who were
urging restraint. They asked whether the rush to war had
less to do with Saddam Hussein than with wanting to control
key oil supplies, or distracting November voters from a
melting economy, strip-mined environment, and runaway
corporate greed. They asked why so few other countries
supported our stand, and what would happen after Saddam
Hussein fell. They wanted to do more than watch the news
in pained silence.
Since Bush took office, I've seen plenty of personal dissent:
conversations with friends, endless emails, bitter comments.
But visible public outcries have been strangely absent. They
were barely present as Bush cut every conceivable social
program, worked to gut core environmental protections,
and enacted a tax cut transferring $1.2 trillion to the
wealthiest one in a hundred Americans. Dissent dropped off
even more in the wake of Sept 11, though many of us felt
uneasy with Bush's simplistic framing of a war of good versus
evil. Yes, many of us have endlessly called, emailed, and faxed
our elected representatives, pleading for them to show more
courage and spine. We've signed petitions and statements,
written letters to local papers, and emailed article after
article to friends. What we might call virtual politics can
matter immensely. We pass on critical contexts and
perspectives through the electronic equivalent of the Soviet
This virtual politics can matter. Coordinated phone calls,
emails, and faxes have blocked destructive policies, like Bush's
proposal to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and
some of his regressive court nominees. Our recent efforts
gave strength to Senators and Representatives who've
opposed Bush's war. But when we forward political emails or
contact our representatives, these actions remain invisible
to our fellow citizens. It's hard to build engaged community
in the process of taking them (though groups like MoveOn.org
and the Working Assets network have done their best to bring
people together through virtual networks). Our actions don't
publicly express our outrage in ways that other citizens can
To march with others, in contrast, feels richer, more human,
more empowering-and more of a visible challenge. Publicized
largely through the ubiquitous emails and through fliers at
related events, this particular march was the fruit of a small
group of mostly younger activists who'd begun meeting six
months earlier. They linked themselves with a national
campaign, Not in Our Name
that's been circulating a pledge of resistance and running
newspaper ads challenging Bush's right to wage war without
limit. Our group of 10,000 complemented rallies, marches,
and vigils in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco,
Portland and Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Houston, Austin, Buffalo,
San Diego, Salt Lake City, Tulsa, Brattleboro, Boston,
Anchorage, Kansas City, and several hundred other cities
and towns, including 2,000 in conservative Cincinnati, the
night Bush made his war pitch. Had we equaled the huge
recent European anti-war rallies -- 400,000 people in London,
1.5 million throughout Italy -- who knows how many other
votes we would have swung. But it was a start.
Public courage can be contagious, much like public cowardice.
Seattle congressman Jim McDermott made national news
by journeying to Iraq and challenging Bush's actions. He went
in part because so many citizens asked, again and again,
that he take a stand. In turn, McDermott helped inspire
opposition from other Washington Congressmen, and one
of our Senators, Patty Murray. When citizens convince
previously silent political leaders to speak, their words of
questioning ripple out.
We need to do more than march, of course. We need
discussion and debate, teach-ins and vigils. We need to
reach out in our local churches and temples, PTAs, city
council meetings, Rotary Clubs, colleges, high schools and
with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. We've already seen
strong peace statements from major Catholic leaders and
the heads of major Protestant denominations like the
Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalian, Lutherans,
American Baptists, United Church of Christ, and even the
Mormons. The challenge now is to extend the discussion into
the pews, and into our communities. Lobbied by members,
the Washington State and San Francisco Labor councils
recently came out against going to war, as did the Seattle
City Council and Washington state Democratic Party. So far,
most of the national labor and environmental groups have
been silent. We'll need to keep broadening the discussion
and remember that even Richard Nixon was constrained by
public opinion. We'll need to continue even if Bush goes
ahead to war, and refuse to let ourselves be marginalized.
That means listening carefully to those who disagree with us,
and try to find common ground. It means continuing to speak
out, whatever names we're called by the power-hungry and
cynical zealots now leading our country, even if our fellow
citizens initially seem to support them. As Catholic nun said
at a 3,000-person religious vigil three days after the Seattle
Sunday march, those working for peace cannot fold up our
prayer tents and go home, just because history does not
instantly and visibly go our way.
For we march not only to stop Bush's war on Iraq, but the
wars that will follow from his defining America as sole global
policeman, sole arbiter of freedom, sole nation with the right
to unleash preemptive attacks on whomever we decide to
take down. Whatever policies Bush undertakes, we need to
keep raising the real questions. We don't want to recruit
another generation for future Bin Ladens. We don't want
more innocents to die. However our actions play out, we're
far better voicing our beliefs than staying silent.
Paul Loeb is the author of Soul of a Citizen: Living With
Conviction in a Cynical Time
and three other books on citizen activism
Individuals and nonprofit, activist, and educational groups are
encouraged to circulate this essay (forward it, reprint it,
translate it, post it, or reproduce it) for nonprofit uses.
Please do not change any part of it without permission.
Courtesy of John Steiner
6) McDermott Accuses Bush of Plotting to Be Emperor
By David Postman
Seattle Times political reporter
Monday, October 07, 2002
After holding a town-hall meeting on Beacon Hill, U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott
arrives yesterday at Westlake Plaza with anti-war marchers protesting
against President Bush's request to Congress for permission to attack
U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott broadened his attack on George W. Bush's war
plans yesterday, saying the president is threatening military action in
Iraq as part of a plot to crown himself emperor of America.
Criticized for saying on a trip to Iraq early last week that Bush would
mislead the American public, McDermott, a Seattle Democrat, was back in
his district yesterday telling cheering supporters that Bush is planning
a war to distract voters' attention from domestic problems.
He said Bush is trying to "submarine" efforts to restart weapons
inspections in Iraq to give him a pretext for starting a war -- a war
McDermott said is being planned in part to bolster U.S. oil interests.
"And what we are dealing with right now in this country is whether we are
having a kind of bloodless, silent coup or not," McDermott said at a
town-hall meeting at the Jefferson Park Community Center on Beacon Hill.
The event was sponsored by local Democrats and other groups in his
At the heart of the debate, McDermott said, is whether Congress or the
president has the power to declare war.
"This president is trying to bring to himself all the power to become an
emperor -- to create Empire America," he said.
And he warned his supporters, "If you go along like sheep that is what
will happen." [...snip...]
He said that Bush is using the memory of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
to fuel a war with Iraq.
"One of the dilemmas we've had since 9/11 is that this country has been
continuously terrorized by the government," McDermott said. "Every week
they announce a new threat. 'Today is a code orange.' 'Today is a code
"Granted it was an awful day. It was a heinous act. Nobody has anything
but horror over what happened that day.
"But the message to draw from that day is not that we should suddenly go
to war with the whole world, which is what the president is saying."
McDermott is convinced that Bush is bent on war with Iraq to distract
voters' attention from a collapsing stock market and other problems at
"It is the oldest game in the book," he said. "They found this war very
convenient to obscure people's views about what is happening
McDermott said he and two other Democratic members of Congress went to
Iraq to see firsthand the effect of economic sanctions on the country, as
well as to tell Iraqi leaders that if they didn't agree to weapons
inspections there would be a war.
He said the demand for inspections was delivered to 15 or 20 government
officials, but not to Saddam, who they did not ask to see.
"We knew there was no point in getting into a situation where we're
shaking hands and smiling with somebody we don't really think is doing
the right thing by the country or the world, and we knew that message
would get to him."
Connecting the dots
McDermott's comments went much further than his television interviews
from Iraq, in which he said Bush would mislead Americans in order to
build support for a war.
When someone asked him if the war was meant to bolster U.S. oil
interests, McDermott talked about what oil companies could gain from a
war and said, "I'm not going to connect the dots exactly, but I think a
dotted line certainly seems within the realm of possibility. ...
"Oil is certainly a part of it but I don't think it's the underlying
issue." The underlying issue, he said repeatedly, is a fight over the
Constitutional power to declare war.
"People that I trust say if we don't derail this coup that is going on,
we are going to wind up with a government run by the president of the
United States and all the rest of us will be standing around just
watching it happen."
David Postman: 360-943-9882 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2002 The Seattle Times Company
Courtesy of hypatia popol
7) Reward the Heroes
From: Eli Pariser, MoveOn PAC, email@example.com
In the wake of last Thursday's vote on Iraq, the Bush Administration
and the Republican far right are going on the offensive. The
President would like nothing more than to demonstrate that when
Democrats speak out against the President's endless war, they
Senator Paul Wellstone's predicament is typical. Wellstone is in the
political fight of his life -- slightly behind in the polls to a
far-right candidate flush with cash and hand-picked by Karl Rove to
remove him from office. Wellstone knew that if he voted against the
resolution, his opponent would seize on the issue, unleashing a
barrage of attack ads and accusations. But despite the enormous
pressure to capitulate, Wellstone spoke his conscience and voted
against the war: "A pre-emptive go-it-alone strategy towards Iraq is
wrong. I oppose it."
For taking a stand under the most difficult of circumstances, Senator
Wellstone is nothing less than a hero. In the House, three heroic
Representatives in tight races also did the right thing. They deserve
our strong support. You can make a contribution directly to their
After Thursday's unexpectedly divided House vote, the President must
be fuming. His political allies will do everything they can to take
revenge on the dissenters. If he can demonstrate that Representatives
and Senators who ask the hard questions don't get re-elected, Congress
will be even more equivocal when faced with hard choices in the
But the electoral sword cuts both ways. Paul Wellstone, Jay Inslee,
Rick Larsen and Rush Holt are in extremely tight races. A little more
money could easily put them over the top. And Wellstone's race is
being watched very closely -- it's a key to the Republican plans to
take over the Senate. If Wellstone wins because of an outpouring of
support for his stand on Iraq, it will signal to the right that their
electoral ploy on an Iraq war backfired. And it'll demonstrate to
Democrats that when you take a stand of conscience, your
constituents will reward you.
We've worked long and hard to stop a tragic war on Iraq. After a
difficult vote, rewarding the heroes who listened to our voices is
the right thing to do. It may also be the most important next step in
our campaign. We need to show the President that if he pursues Iraq,
he and his party are going to lose.
Give whatever you can. In these tight races, every dollar makes a
difference. You can support Paul Wellstone and the other
Congresspeople who took a stand right now at:
As strategists look back at this election over the years to come,
either they'll say, "President Bush manufactured a war and won at the
polls" or they'll say, "President Bush manufactured a war and lost at
the polls." Your gift today can make the difference.
-- Wes Boyd and Eli Pariser
October 14, 2002
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