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Responding to President Bush with Next Steps For Iraq


February 6, 2005
Friends Committee on National Legislation

The elections in Iraq are an important step along the long road toward returning real sovereignty to the Iraqi people. But the greatest obstacle to peace in Iraq right now is the continuing violence and uncertainty fueled in large part by the lack of clarity about US intentions in that country.

http://www.envirosagainstwar.org/edit/index.php?op=edit&itemid=2343

President Bush in his State of the Union address last night described the elections in Iraq as a key step on the road toward freedom for the Iraqi people. He argued the vote demonstrates the US military can be a force for freedom across the globe.

But President Bush is drawing the wrong lessons from Iraq. The president argued last night that "The peace we seek will only be achieved by eliminating the conditions that feed radicalism and ideologies of murder."

Yet the military policies of the US government are fueling that radicalism and putting freedom at risk in Iraq and around the world.

The elections in Iraq are an important step along the long road toward returning real sovereignty to the Iraqi people. But the greatest obstacle to peace in Iraq right now is the continuing violence and uncertainty fueled in large part by the lack of clarity about US intentions in that country.

Now is the time for the US Congress, as the ultimate authority on the intentions of the people of this country, to clarify this policy. The next step would be for the Congress to approve a non-binding resolution stating simply "it is the policy of the US to withdraw all military troops and bases from Iraq."

Background:
President Bush used his televised State of the Union address last night to argue his unilateral, military policy is spreading freedom and democracy across the world. The elections in Iraq, he said, are the latest proof of this thesis.

But the militarization of US foreign policy is putting freedom at risk. The long term peace that we seek can only be accomplished by addressing the root causes of this violence.
The elections in Iraq were an important first step toward returning full sovereignty to the Iraqi people.

But the lack of an explicit declaration that it is the policy of the United States to withdraw all military troops and bases from Iraq is contributing to the violence and uncertainty that is endangering the transition in that country. There is a growing belief among Iraqi that the US has imperial ambitions in that country and in that region, and this impression has been fueled by reports that US troops are building 14 permanent military bases.

Several voters going to the polls last Sunday in Iraq suggested to reporters that they believed they were voting to have US troops leave.

Now is the time for Congress to take the next step. Urge your members of Congress to support a resolution declaring that "It is the policy of the United States government to withdraw all military troops and bases from Iraq."

Advocates of an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq will argue that this is too little, while supporters of the current policy may argue that such a statement reduces US options and could undermine security at a delicate moment.

But FCNL believes that this congressional statement, if approved by both the House and the Senate, could reconcile these positions, help unify our divided nation, and send an important signal to the people of Iraq.

Click here to read a commentary on the president’s State of the Union address by Col. Dan Smith, the FCNL senior fellow on military affairs.

Action:
• Organize a Delegation to meet with Your Members of Congress in Your State

• Members of Congress will be returning home to their districts from February 19 to 27 to meet with constituents and hear their views about Iraq and other key issues. Members of Congress tell us that three voters meeting with them in their home district is more important than 50 people meeting with them in Washington.

• Join FCNL’s interfaith lobby days, meet with your members of Congress while they are in your area in late February.

• For more information on how to request a meeting with your member of Congress, for talking points, and to learn about others in your area who may want to participate in such a meeting go to the new FCNL web site at www.fcnl.org. Follow the first link under "Get Involved in the Campaign" to sign up for the lobby days.

Contact Congress and the Administration: http://capwiz.com/fconl/dbq/officials/.

Friends Committee on National Legislation
245 Second St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-5795
fcnl@fcnl.org * http://www.fcnl.org/
phone: (202)547-6000 * toll-free: (800)630-1330

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