Monday, September 10, 2007


Starting with war resistance, Laura K (We Move To Canada) offers some basic needed steps to support the war resisters who have gone to Canada:
Here are some practical ways you can help.
Buy the video. "Let Them Stay" was produced by the War Resisters Support Campaign. It's an excellent introduction to the issue, and can help educate you and others about what US war resisters are facing in Canada. The Support Campaign is an all-volunteer organization. 100% of your $20 will go towards legal and material aid for war resisters.
Contact the federal government. Write your MP. Write Stephen Harper. Write the Immigration Minister. Tell them this is the Canada you want to live in. Tell them: let them stay.
Sign the petition. If you haven't done so already, join 14,000 of your countrypeople in asking the government to let them stay.
Spread the word. How many Canadians don't even know there are US war resisters seeking refuge in Canada? Among those who know, how many mistakenly believe the former soldiers can just live legally in Canada? Talk to your friends, your co-workers, your running buddies, the folks at your dog park. You can help raise awareness, and help create support for those three words.
October 27, 2007 is an International Day of Action Against War. Join your neighbours to protest the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. There will be simultaneous protests
in Canada and the US. Resisters will be there. Let them stay.
These steps and others are needed because, though unreported (big suprise), the number of US war resisters in Canada continues to grow.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Zamesha Dominique, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Carla Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko,Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, forty-one US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters.
As Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted today "the Bush administration's top two officials in Iraq are set to give Congress their long-awaited progress report on the Iraq war.  The expected outcome is more of the same."  In August, a CNN poll found 53% of Americans "suspect that the military assessment will try to make it sound better than it actually is" (Wally's "THIS JUST IN! US SAYS: 'PETREAUS WILL BETRAY US!'" and Cedric's "Petreaus wet & wild moment haunts him" noted the reaction as well) with the Polling Director, Keating Holland, for CNN saying that he didn't "think the mistrust is directed at Petreaus as much as it is what he represents."  That was in August.  Today, Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted a Washington Post - ABC News poll just released that found . . . 53% say "they believe Petraeus will try to sugar-coat the situation on the ground." The poll was reported by the Post on Sunday and also found 64% disapprove of the Bully Boy's "handling his job," 62% declaring that the Iraq War was "not worth fighting," 60% say the US "is not making significant progress toward restoring civil order in Iraq," 58% say the escalation "hasn't made much difference," 54% do not believe "the security situation" in Iraq will improve "over the next few months," 58% want to see the number of US service members in Iraq decrease," 55% support setting "a deadline for withdrawing U.S. combat forces from Iraq by next spring" and 62% say the US should withdraw "right away".  Let's repeat that: 62 percent of those polled said the US forces should begin leaving Iraq "right away."  When you add in the portion for "By the end of the year" (27%) the percentage leaps to 89%.  89 percent of Americans support US troops beginning to leave Iraq by the end of 2007.  Not 2008, not 2009. CBS and the New York Times poll released Sunday (by CBS) found 45% of those survey saw "no impact" from the escalation.  That poll (with a 3% plus/minus margin) found a six percent increase in the number supporting the escalation since August.  On ABC's This Week Sunday, it was the never ending Dinasour Tour as Cokie Roberts, George Will and Sam Donaldson (on tamborines) joined George Stephanopoulos for the roundtable and Cokie Roberts pimped (from apparently the CBS poll) the tiny increase as big news until Stephanopoulos corrected her by pointing out just how small the increase in this one poll was. Stephanopolous also noted the 62% figure in the CBS - New York Times' poll who stated the US "made a mistake getting involved in Iraq."  That figure matches up with the 62% in the Washington Post - ABC poll who stated that "the war with Iraq" was not "worth fighting." (If Stephanopolous was referring to the Post poll, he should have noted the six percent increase in the escalation making things "better" -- also a margin of +3 or -3 -- that "no difference" also had an increase.  Guests or moderator stating "a poll by ___" would also clarify which poll was being cited.)
In both polls, 62% of Americans declare the illegal war a mistake.  The Washington Post - ABC News poll, again, has 89% of Americans wanting the US forces to beginning withdrawing "right now" or by the end of 2007.  We could go to Congress, but let's go to the peace movement instead because it's not pretty.  This weekend, Common Dreams posted Tom Hayden's strategy for . . . "Ending the War in 2009."  2009.  2009?  It's 2007 and people are yet again be encouraged for two more years.  Tom Hayden is hitting the snooze button when America needs to be waking up.  Rabbi Micheal Lerner, on Friday, posted a transcript of various members of the peace movement participating in a dialogue with some members of Congress.  In a news article (link goes to Common Dreams, we don't link to the original site), Lerner states that "even the people in the anti-war movement don't have - a coherent alternative world view from which to base a strategy."   My "world view" sees him beating the hell of his "inner child."  If that does something for him, more power to him.  However, there is no "world view" needed to end the illegal war (if a "world view" is indeed missing currently).  Nor is there a need to wait for 2009 to end the illegal war.  And you have to wonder why US House Rep Lynn Woolsey even bothered to participate in the dialogue that Lerner later posted if no one's going to listen to her? 
In the dialogue Tim Carpenter, of Progressive Democrats of America, discusses how his group and UFPJ have "been working hard" and "doing email blasts during the recess and Congressional visits.  We've generated a little over 9,000 of those emails blast into the [Speaker's?] office . . ."  No offense to Carpenter but did he, Lerner or anyone else participating follow what Woolsey replied?
Lynn Woolsey: That's all very useful, Tim, and it's very meaningful.  Because people aren't in the streets, because they're electronically communicating, it's easier for the Congress or the media to pretend that it isn't happening, but it isn't visible.  Now people start asking: "Why aren't people on the streets?" And I say that they are on the streets, they're on their blog, and they're communicating.  We get 3000 emails sometimes in a day, and other members are too, and you cannot pretend the public's not interested in this.
Woolsey is a nice person so it would be a smart thing to strip away the kind words and zoom in on: "Because people aren't in the streets, because they're electronically communicating, it's easier for the Congress or the media to pretend that it isn't happening".  I know several people participating in that dialogue and am not trying to beat any of them over the head, but what Woolsey is saying should be loud and clear to everyone.
Leslie Cagan (UPFJ) notes that the strategy that's been pushed (by has been target Repubes and notes that she feels (I agree with her) that "a lot of their strategy is geared towards the Presidential elections and the Congressional elections next year."  What does Woolsey respond?  "Well, maybe you folks should go after the Democrats."  Woolsey is a nice person, she's also very smart.  Now maybe in a conversation, those statements can drift over heads.  When they appear in the transcript, there should be no confusion. 
Medea Benjamin (CODEPINK -- whom I have tremendous respect for) is focused, in her first two sentences, on the fact that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi won't meet with activists.  Pelosi won't.  Benjamin's correct.  Benjamin (far smarter than I) should be able to grasp Pelosi is NOT GOING to.  If she's forced, she might.  Pelosi talks it up when she comes home but what does she ever do when she's in DC?  What has she ever done?  (Disclosure: I have donated to Pelosi's campaigns -- all of them -- in the past.  I have already stated I am behind Cindy Sheehan in this race.)  Pelosi plays a cute little show when she comes home.  She's all grins and spins.  Her final townhall (apparently -- though it hadn't been billed as the "Farewell Townhall" to those of us attending) had her getting a taste of reality at the same time members of district eight got a taste of reality.  Pelosi insisted that she would oppose the construction of any permanent bases in Iraq.  When confronted with the fact that permanent bases were already being constructed, Pelosi tried to finesse the term "permanent" and actually said, "Nothing last forever."  In that moment, Pelosi, who's been treated with kid gloves for the most part, demonstrated just how great the gulf between her and the citizens who put her into office is.  Pelosi grasped the startled reaction and she's not done another townhall.  I don't remember if Medea was at that townhall but I know she's heard of it.  Peace activists need to grasp Pelosi wrote them off then.  It's been a slow estrangement ever since.  So the point here is, forget Nancy Pelosi.  She doesn't represent the district.  She's made that very clear on every issue.  Target others.  (In DC work.  I'm not saying call off any vigils outside Pelosi's office.  She needs to be made uncomfortable.  But realize that's all that's going to help.  She's got her eyes on the 2008 elections and she doesn't give a damn about ending the illegal war.)  After noting Pelosi's refusal to meet with the activists (Pelosi should be written off and so should Joe Lieberman -- nothing is achieved by meeting with either), Benjamin asks the money question: "Can't she [Pelosi] decide that we're not going to keep funding this war?"  Lerner (rightly) points out, "Pelosi could simply not bring up any funding bill for the military.  She could not bring it up, and then say: 'We're only going to bring it up if you agree to end the war'." -- to which Woolsey adds, "That we're only going to be spending our money to bring the troops home.  And that's what we're [the Progressive Caucus] going to be pushing for, I promise."
As I'm reading Woolsey's remarks three things are needed (out of many) right now.  (1) Physical mobilization (not e-activism).  (2) Democrats needing to be targeted.  (3) Support for the Progressive Caucus made clear.
RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"

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