*Call your Congress member in Washington, DC and demand they say NO WAY to another $82 billion for war and destruction.
*Call your Congress member's district office and schedule a meeting during the Congressional recess next week to talk about the endless stream of money that's being poured into Iraq.
Dear CODEPINK activist,
Why is there ALWAYS money when it comes to war and NEVER enough when it comes to people's basic human needs? This Monday George W. Bush asked for another $82 billion (!!!) for war and destruction in the form of an emergency supplemental funding request to Congress. $61 billion of the total is for the Iraq war, which would bring total spending on the war to almost $210 billion! This money is in addition to the $2.5 trillion budget request Bush made to Congress last week, which proposed to slash critical social programs and increase military spending.
If this isn't enough to raise your blood pressure to CODEPINK alert level, consider these tidbits:
* While Bush is claiming that this money is needed to "support the troops", his budget would slash veterans' access to healthcare by increasing fees for prescription drugs and access to VA facilities, even as thousands of injured soldiers streaming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
*The amount of money that's being spent on endless war could easily pay for the community programs -- from public libraries to hospitals to train service -- that are about to be eliminated because of state and local budget shortfalls. For concrete examples of what these war funds could pay for in your state or city, see www.nationalpriorities.org.
*There seems to be no accountability whatsoever for the $153 billion already appropriated for the Iraq war. That money didn't go toward purchasing sufficient body armor and equipment for the U.S. troops, but it did go to line the pockets of Halliburton and its subsidiary KBR. The U.S. also can't account for how it spent Iraq's money -- the Coalition Provisional Authority (the occupation authority in Iraq) "lost" $9 billion during its tenure.
HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
* Call the congressional switchboard right now, and ask to be connected with your representative, 202-224-3121 (9-5 EST). Tell her/him to 1) Oppose new funds: Congress should halt new funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq. Any new funds should be allocated solely for troop withdrawal and interim troop protection. 2) Support amendments to the appropriations bill that call for an end to the occupation and support Iraqi sovereignty. 3) Provide real support for our troops by ending the "stop loss" policy that's the equivalent of a back-door draft and insisting on adequate health care and other benefits for Iraq war veterans and their families.
* Call the district office of your member of congress and schedule an in-district meeting. We want to show Congress members the opposition to war that exists in their home districts. Please call your Representative today and ask for a meeting during recess, between Feb. 21 and 25. We encourage you to collaborate with other peace groups in your community. Check to see if a meeting has already been scheduled in your district by going to http://meetup.radicaldesigns.org/calendar_display.php?caltype=33
If no meeting is listed, please call your district office, make an appointment, and invite other peace groups in your area to attend the meeting with you. Be sure to post the information about your meeting on the United for Peace and Justice website calendar at www.unitedforpeace.org/events (select the "$80 billion/Congressional visits" calendar category). You can find the district office information for your Representative here: www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml.
Whether you get a meeting or not, take a list of questions (on pink paper, of course) to your Congress member's office next week, during the Congressional recess, and demand some answers. Here are some key questions:
Polls show that most Iraqis want US troops to leave. Shouldn't we listen to the Iraqis?
-Is the US building permanent military bases in Iraq? Will you pledge NOT to build permanent bases and oppose any funding for those bases?
-How long will the US troops be in Iraq? What will this occupation cost the US taxpayer?
-Are you planning to attack Iran? Syria? North Korea?
-If we are asking all these other countries to get rid of their WMDs, will the US get rid of its WMDs?
-With this constant drain of our tax dollars for war, what is being sacrificed? Our schools? Hospitals? Affordable housing? Public transport?
How would you respond to Martin Luther King's message that a country that spends more money on military defense than social uplift is approaching spiritual death?
-Why hasn't there been any accountability for the $9 billion lost by the CPA and billions more wasted or lost by Halliburton?
This $82 billion is only going to lead to an ongoing U.S. military presence in Iraq, which is not the solution to Iraq's security problems; it is part of the problem. Our soldiers are dying, Iraqis are dying, and things are much, much worse this year for regular Iraqis than they were at this time last year -- elections or no elections. We can't keep pouring money into this tragic mess. It's time for us to stop the bungling and the interference and let the Iraqis find the solutions to the problems we've created.
Andrea, Carol, Claire, Dana, Gael, Jodie, Medea, Tiffany
February 17, 2005 www.codepinkalert.org