Sunday, May 13, 2007

Support Our Troops. End The War. Edwards to Ask Antiwar Stand of Americans

The New York Times
Edwards to Ask Antiwar Stand of Americans

Stepping up his antiwar stance, John Edwards said yesterday that he would call for Americans to “raise their voices” on Memorial Day against the Iraq war and would say that patriotism required supporting the troops by bringing them home.

Mr. Edwards said in a telephone interview that, in a commencement speech to be delivered today at New England College in Henniker, N.H., he would call on Americans to “come together and speak out in a way that will end the war.”

Mr. Edwards, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2008, said he was not calling for rallies or antiwar protests, but rather for Americans to come up with their own ways of opposing the war.

“During the weekend, let us gather as patriots,” Mr. Edwards will say in his speech, according a statement released by his campaign. “Wherever you are — with your family, with your friends, at a barbecue, at a parade, wherever you are — let us raise our voices.”

In addition, the Edwards campaign suggested that opponents of the war print signs saying “Support the troops — End the war” and take them to Memorial Day parades.

In recent weeks, Mr. Edwards, a former senator from North Carolina, has been positioning himself as firmly opposed to the war. He has called for a withdrawal of troops from Iraq and has said that Congress should use the power of the purse to end the war.

But in his speech, he will challenge individual Americans to take action.

“As patriots, we call on our government to support our troops in the most important way it can — by ending this war and bringing them home,” he will say, according to the statement.

He said yesterday that he wanted to “reclaim ‘patriotism’ ” from the Bush administration’s use of that term.

“George Bush has used patriotism as a moniker to justify what he has done,” Mr. Edwards said, adding, “It is abundantly clear that no American can stand on the sidelines anymore.”