Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Mandate for Peace

Huffington Post
Tom Hayden
The Mandate for Peace

To: the Incoming 110th Congress
From: Tom Hayden
Re: The Mandate for Peace

We call on you to adopt an exit strategy to bring our troops home and end the Iraq War in 2008. The peace movement may not be a player in power politics, but surely we represent a mandate for peace after the November 2006 election.
A majority of Americans, including three-quarters of Democrats, favor setting a deadline for bringing the troops home in the coming year. Our military presence only deepens the hostility of the 80 percent of Iraqis who are against the occupation. Setting a deadline should be accompanied by political negotiations and a diplomatic offensive to best manage the difficult transition ahead.

It is shocking that the Bush Administration should defy the will of the voters by considering a so-called "surge" in Baghdad, which only means more bloody house-to-house carnage.

* The peace movement will call on Congress to deny any funding for such a "surge".
* We support a diplomatic peace initiative based on declaring a timetable for withdrawal, peace talks with the Iraqi opposition, and diplomatic engagement with the international community, including countries in the region.
* We oppose continued funding of the status quo through the $100 billion supplemental request.

Congress now has the opportunity to fund a transition to peace, not further war. We expect the Congress to launch open, thorough and critical hearings on the supplemental request for funding of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

We believe that differences about the speed of bringing our troops home should be publicly debated and put to up-or-down floor votes so that the public can know where its representatives stand. The different approaches should include:

* an immediate cut off of supplemental funding;
* funding contingent on a six-month or one-year withdrawal;
* funding contingent on beginning withdrawal in six months;
* funding contingent on implementing the Baker-Hamilton proposals.

No more should die in what everyone recognizes as an unwinnable war. While we believe a deadline for speedy withdrawal is the most responsible approach, we demand that Congress begin 2007 by the funding of peace, not a rubber stamp for another year of pointless killing.

We will be marching and lobbying in Washington on the weekend of January 27, representing new mandate for peace. We will be requesting that our voices be heard in Congressional hearings. We will throw ourselves into grass-roots organizing and outreach in every corner of every contested Congressional and Senate district in 2008, and into the presidential primary states to insist on leaders who will end this war. Those who ignore the November 2006 mandate by continuing the killing will face an even greater wrath of the voters in the coming election.