Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ask Questions, Seek Answers, Keep Iraq an Election Issue – FCNL

Legislative Action Message

Ask Questions, Seek Answers, Keep Iraq an Election Issue – FCNL

Ask Questions, Seek Answers, Keep Iraq an Election Issue

Printer-friendly version of this alert
Read this alert online at:

Thousands of you have responded to our appeal to raise the Iraq war and occupation as an issue during this election season. This week we’re writing to ask you to keep up this work because we believe that the war in Iraq is a critical issue, and this is a critical time when you can have an impact on your representatives in Washington. Talk to your neighbors, talk to people in your meetings, churches, and community. Urge incumbents and candidates for Congress to help stop the killing in Iraq. Find out more about what you can do.

The news from Iraq is sobering. This week Mary Trotochaud, our former senior fellow who spent two years in Iraq after the U.S. invasion, was back in our office describing telephone conversations where she is hearing from friends in Iraq the growing desperation about the violence and escalating civil war.Last week we talked about a new survey documenting 420,000 to 790,000 civilian deaths in Iraq since the U.S. invasion. Today we learned the one-day death toll in Iraq is the highest for U.S. troops in many months.

This is a tragedy for the people of Iraq that is also reverberating throughout the region and the world. “America's image is at a low ebb: where once it was considered the champion of democracy, America is now seen as a self-absorbed, militant hyperpower,” reports an opinion survey conducted by the Pew Center for Politics and the Press. The report concludes that the war in Iraq has inflamed the Muslim world, enlarged the rift between the U.S. and Western Europe and intensified fears about U.S. unilateralism.

The conclusion that the Iraq war is making the world less safe was reinforced last month when U.S. intelligence agencies released a report that states the Iraq war and occupation is a principle le factor behind the growth in violent, anti-U.S., extremist groups. This is not the conclusion of just one intelligence analyst or agency, this is the consensus position of 16 different intelligence agencies. That is why we are urging Congress to develop a strategy to end the war in Iraq.

One first step is for the U.S. to begin real talks with the people of Iraq and the governments of neighboring countries – particularly Syria and Iran. The war and occupation of Iraq have resulted in hundreds of thousands of people being displaced internally – more than 365,000 people have fled their homes just since February – and generated an huge flow of refugees into neighboring countries. The U.S. needs to begin working with the countries of the region toward a strategy to end the civil war. Read an analysis by Col. Dan Smith (USA, Ret.).

Another step is for the U.S. to set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The presence of 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq is fueling the conflict and is an obstacle to any political settlement. One opinion poll published last month found that 61 percent of Iraqis believe violent attacks on U.S. troops are justified and 71 percent of Iraqis want the government to ask foreign troops to leave within a year.

Finally, U.S. troops must leave, but the U.S. cannot abandon Iraq. More than three years after the U.S. invasion, many Iraqis still do not have a steady supply of electricity and water, and projects to rebuild infrastructure damaged by ten years of sanctions and then war have ground to a halt. The U.S. should provide resources for reconstruction by the people of Iraq through appropriate multinational, national, and Iraqi agencies.

Take Action

The period before the November 7 congressional elections is a critical time to talk with incumbents and candidates for Congress. This one month period is a time when members of Congress are listening intensely to the perspectives of people in their districts. We at FCNL urge you to:

1. Write a letter to your representative urging him or her to speak out against the Iraq war. You can use our website to send this letter. We also encourage you to send the same letter to other candidates.

2. Join the public conversation before the elections. Campaign signs are already sprouting. Add some War is Not the Answer signs and bumper stickers to your neighborhood's public conversation

3. Ask questions. Talk to your friends and neighbors about the war in Iraq and, most importantly, talk to the candidates and their supporters. FCNL has prepared a list of questions to ask the candidates about the war in Iraq.

Find out more on Iraq.

Background Resources

FCNL’s Questions for the candidates.

Questions for candidates on Iraq.

Read Executive Secretary Joe Volk’s article “Baseless Baghdad” on

British Officers Call for Withdrawal of Troops.

Find out how much your own community is contributing to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – how many dollars, how many military recruits – from the National Priorities Project.

No comments: