15
Sep
2005

Translating Protest into Persuasion of Congress

FCNL Iraq: Translating Protest into Persuasion of Congress--FCNL

Tens of thousands of demonstrators will gather in Washington in late September to demand an end to the war and U.S. occupation of Iraq. FCNL hopes to mobilize many of these grassroots protesters to become grassroots lobbyists for the Iraq Sensible Transition to Enduring Peace Resolution. We need the help of our supporters in the field to use the energy, press attention, and focus on Iraq generated by the demonstrations to translate protest into lobbying members of Congress to declare that the U.S. will bring home its troops and close all U.S. military bases. In short, the U.S. cannot abandon the people of Iraq, but U.S. forces must leave.

Public opinion on the war in Iraq has shifted significantly in recent months. This summer, a vigil held outside the president’s ranch in Crawford, TX, by Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, helped to focus intense public attention on the rising death toll in the U.S. occupation. The devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina had shone a spotlight on the domestic consequences of the failure to focus federal funding on human needs as policymakers from both parties have poured hundreds of billions of dollars into fighting a war in Iraq. This week president Bush insisted that the U.S. must stay the course in Iraq, but many are beginning to question what it means to “succeed” in this war. Members of Congress from both parties have now cosponsored legislation calling for a change in course in Iraq: //www.fcnl.org/iraq/leg_chart.htm

But a majority in Congress are not yet prepared to call for withdrawal. In this shifting climate, FCNL is working to build a congressional consensus that overcomes the polarized climate that characterizes the debate on U.S. Iraq policy. Lacking agreement on when and how the U.S. military presence should end in Iraq, we can build public unity for the goal of no permanent U.S. military presence in Iraq.

Our job is to persuade Congress to take the next step for a sensible transition to enduring peace in Iraq. The Congress needs to formally declare that: “It is the policy of the United States to withdraw all U.S. military troops and bases from Iraq.” This is the starting point to open further dialogue on when and how withdrawal should happen. Continuing the war is not the answer that the Iraqi people need or want.

We need a strong majority of public voices raised to turn around this ill-conceived war and occupation policy. Here are two things you can do to help build this majority:

1. Reach out to your friends, neighbors, and local opinion makers. Print out copies of the FCNL Iraq STEP resolution and distribute them at your local meeting, church, or community organization:
//www.fcnl.org/issues/item.php?item_id=1375&issue_id=35 . Begin dialogues in your churches and communities on U.S. policy in Iraq. Help break down the “with us or against us” posture that has divided local communities. FCNL has tools available to help you speak out and build unity for a public consensus in your divided communities: //www.fcnl.org/pdfs/iraq/septflyer1.pdf .

2. If you are coming to Washington on September 24. Join FCNL in distributing material to protestors urging them to continue substantive work for peace when they go back home. You can download a PDF flyer that can be reprinted and distributed to march participants: //www.fcnl.org/pdfs/iraq/septflyer1.pdf Consider also joining the lobby day on Monday September 26 if you can stay in Washington. (Lobby training will be provided Sept. 25) For more information see //www.unitedforpeace.org/article.php?id=3074

For more information on the FCNL Iraq program: //www.fcnl.org/iraq

Thinking ahead: The Senate will not be in session the week of October 11. The Senate recess is a perfect time to schedule lobby visits with your senators back in their home states. Call their offices now to ask for a meeting. See the FCNL grassroots toolkit for more information: //www.fcnl.org/getin/indx.htm .


The Next Step for Iraq: Join FCNL's Iraq Campaign, //www.fcnl.org/iraq

Stop New Nuclear Weapons!
Find out how //www.fcnl.org/nuclear

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

Order FCNL publications and "War is Not the Answer" campaign bumper stickers and yard signs:
//www.fcnl.org/newinfo/special_pub.htm //www.fcnl.org/iraq-war.htm


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


We seek a world free of war and the threat of war
We seek a society with equity and justice for all
We seek a community where every person's potential may be fulfilled
We seek an earth restored.


Informant: Martin Greenhut
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