Our Representative in Congress, Chet Edward (D), had made statements supporting Bush's proposed escalation of the Iraq war. Therefore, about 12 of us assembled outside Chet's office in Waco at noon. Four of us entered his office with signs "no more troops,
no more $$" and requested a conference call with the Congressman. Although his office was very polite, we were told Mr. Edwards was on the floor of Congress and could not talk with us. We were also told a meeting would be arranged; we will see if that does happen. We presented a letter to Mr. Edwards signed by about 30 of his constituents which was faxed to the Washington office (see below.).
Our main points were: 1)the Iraq invasion and occupation are illegal and immoral, 2) over 650,000 Iraqis and 3000 Americans have died as a result of Bush's lies 3)the proposed escalation is opposed by the American people, the Iraq Study Group, and most U.S. generals , 4) we called on Mr. Edwards to vote for resolutions against the escalation, and to vote only for enough funds to rapidly bring our troops home from Iraq.
The action was very successful in our view. 3 of 4 major local media outlets provided some coverage. AND, one television channel showed a statement from Edwards that seemed to address our presence on Friday. Hopefully, it will plant a seed in his mind to reconsider his continued hawkish support of Bush's disastrous course in Iraq.
Thanks to every peace activist who gave their time and energy to the action, and to all those who could not be present but support the effort in many ways.
United States Representative Chet Edwards
17th Congressional District of Texas
Dear Honorable Representative Edwards,
As your constituents from the Waco area, we request that you work toward rapidly removing our troops from Iraq. Seventy percent of Americans and 78% of Iraqis support redeployment of American troops from Iraq. The polls clearly show that the public’s rejection of the Bush Iraq policy is the main reason for the Democratic Party’s takeover of Congress in November 2006. Therefore, it is time for you and the entire Democratic Party to heed the wishes of the majority. Although a just domestic agenda is admirable, extracting the U.S. from Iraq remains the number one priority of Americans. Furthermore, 88% of Americans and most generals are opposed to another escalation of the war as now proposed by Mr. Bush.
The Iraq war has been a disaster for the United States:
The invasion and occupation are illegal, a violation of the UN charter against invasion of a sovereign country without Security Council approval or an imminent threat.
The war has been waged for U.S. oil companies, revenge and hegemony, not because of WMD or an Iraqi connection to 9/11 or terrorists.
Legitimate efforts to combat terrorism have been harmed. Our own National Intelligence Estimate has reported that the war is creating more terrorists.
The massive human cost is approximately 650,000 Iraqis dead, over 3.000 Americans dead, about 50,000 Americans injured, about 1.7 million Iraqis displaced.
At an estimated cost to taxpayers of $500 billion, the U.S. will spend $1 million for each Iraqi death.
The reputation of our country has been damaged throughout the world. We are viewed as aggressors and torturers.
Mr. Edwards, you recently stated support for Mr. Bush escalating the war and sending “whatever number you believe is right,” and that this would be “the last real chance to win Americans’ support for a strategy to stabilize Iraq.” No—the voters spoke definitively in November that they want the U.S. military withdrawn from Iraq, and they reject yet another escalation. Therefore, we call on you to heed the wishes of the people and:
· Vote against escalation of the war, and approve only sufficient funds for redeployment of our troops.
· Establish a timetable for orderly, rapid withdrawal of our troops.
· Utilize funds to help reconstruct the damage that has resulted from our occupation.
· Vote to end all torture, secret and illegal detention, extraordinary rendition and illegal surveillance.
We realize that you are a strong supporter of the military. Ending this unnecessary war will also be beneficial in restoring the morale and strength of the armed forces.
HAND DELIVERED TO MR. EDWARD’S OFFICE, 600 AUSTIN AVE. WACO, TX, JANUARY 12, 2007.