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News We're Making Progress

An emailing record, and a great essay from an MFSO member

People have started sending out the short email I wrote encouraging people to support the City of Portland resolution to withdraw our occupation army from Iraq. Scot wins a special prize though, for finding 260 people in his email address book to send it to! Many of them aren’t in Portland, but have a connection to Portland, and more importantly, have people in their address books that I don’t have in mine. We have to keep up the emailing and getting people to sign onto the petition, which, if you want to go right to the signature page, is right here. Let me know if you manage to send it to more than 260 people… I need to get out more myself.

On another note, over dinner this evening, I got to talk with a dear friend about the whole “we broke it so we have to fix it” argument for occupying Iraq (seemingly indefinitely, since we’re not actually fixing it). A member of Military Families Speak Out has published a lengthy but on-point essay that lays out one argument for withdrawal very strongly: it’s not our country to fix, and if we believe in democracy than we need to defer to the will of Iraqi people, who in an emphatic majority, want occupation troops to leave. (One poll earlier this fall put the figure at about 70% of Iraqis want occupiers out within a year or less). A referendum would be clearer, but of course we don’t allow such things, so we have to settle for polls.
I wish he was briefer, but I think he makes a great point in “The Real Reason to Get Out of Iraq.

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News

It Helps to Have a Cool Graphic

I’ve started giving out copies of the quarter-page flier that the AFSC has made to explain the resolution. First of all, it has a nice design, and the cool logo: an outline of a dove with a photo of Portland in it (see it here). More importantly, it explains the cost of the war to Portlanders (over $400 million) and the sorts of things we are giving up in order to pay for the ongoing occupation. It’s based on estimates from the National Priorities Project, a group that is tracking the hard cost of the invasion and occupation.

We were talking about it the need to end the occupation of Iraq today over brunch at Acadia (while eating beignets) and how the election results have shown that people want it to end. All we need to do is get the petition into public places. It’s just downright bizarre that Portland hasn’t managed to pass an anti-invasion or anti-occupation resolution yet, but at least now is a particularly opportune time to be acting for peace— the next few months will be crucial in terms of ending the occupation and figuring out how we’re going to help Iraq rebuild itself. Of course, it’s awful that the occupation has dragged on for this long, but I’d rather focus on what is possible now than what we should’ve done. After all, I can’t organize people to change the past, only the present and the future.

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Things We Can Do

Sample Message For Your Friends #1

I’ve sent this message to eight people who asked for an email they can forward to others that they know.
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Dear Friends,

Like most people I know, you know that the US occupation of Iraq is a disaster of epic size.

  • People are dying: hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people, close to 3,000 US soldiers
  • International terrorism is on the rise as more people become convinced that they need to make war on the US to stop our empire
  • And the whole thing is so expensive. So far, Portlanders have paid over $400 million towards the invasion and occupation.

We have to let go of the illusion that this occupation is ever going to solve all the horrible problems it has created.

Even though Portland has rallied repeatedly against the invasion and the occupation, the City of Portland has not yet passed a “City for Peace” resolution. But the time has come for Portland to become a “City for Peace.” Later this month, Randy Leonard will propose a resolution stating that Portland is calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq and a re-focusing on local priorities. We need to get thousands of signatures in to the City Council in the next few weeks to make sure that we keep up the momentum from the election, pass the resolution, and get our troops out of Iraq. There will be steps after that (such as reparations) but the resolution is an important first step for us as a city.

If you support this resolution, take two minutes right now to sign the petition online :

http://www.afsc.org/pacificnw/portland/bring-troops-home.htm

Then forward this message, or your own message, to ten Portlanders you know who are against the occupation, who understand that it’s costing too much in terms of human life and public resources for us to continue it. Working together, starting locally, we can make our country do the right thing. If you want to take more action, you can sign up to get ongoing updates about the campaign. When you sign up, you can join the official email list for the campaign or volunteer for the campaign.

Thanks for taking two minutes to act on what your conscience tells you is right. If you want more chances to get involved, if you can spare ten minutes or an hour this month to show that Portland is a City for Peace, my friend Kathleen will be good person for you to connect with. She has committed to mobilizing 1,000 people in support of the resolution. You can check out her progress at her website: www.nov30.org


Inspiring closing and YOUR NAME HERE 🙂

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When I wrote this, it was kind of strange to refer to myself in the third person… but whatever gets people to sign up!

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We're Making Progress

I’ve begun: first email to my friends

Sure enough, my estimate about how many people I could start off emailing was about right: I sent it to 42 people. I had hardly any bounces, and had several exciting replies: from people who were already emailing other people, or were making lists of who to email, or had ideas (such as a t-shirt…). I talked with the lead organizer for the campaign and she told me that she had noticed a small burst of sign-ups online and she’s mailing me handbills. So, keep ’em coming!

In case you’re thinking, oh, how do I sign onto the resolution online? Go to:
http://www.afsc.org/pacificnw/portland/bring-troops-home.htm