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Let your representatives know how you feel about the war in Iraq
Fauquier Times Democrat (Virginia)
By Bill Day, Warrenton
There are times when an issue facing our country is so significant that writing a letter to an elected official is not sufficient.
Leaving a message with the official's staff and becoming a tick on a list of "pros" or "cons" is also inadequate. There are times when a face-to-face meeting is necessary.
On July 28, I joined a group of citizens from Virginia's 10th Congressional District to meet with Rep. Frank Wolf in his Capitol Hill office.
Congressman Wolf had been invited to come to Warrenton the previous Saturday evening to meet with a larger group of which this delegation was a part, but he had been unable to attend or to provide a statement addressing the group's concerns about information revealed in the Downing Street Minutes (see the Aug. 20 and Aug. 27 issues of the Democrat, or http://www.afterdowningstreet.org).
Primary in the minds of those who met with Rep.Wolf last Thursday was the war in Iraq.
Since the war began, 1,795 individual Americans have perished there. Of that number, 1,658 died after the president made his "Mission Accomplished" speech.
The official count of Americans wounded in Iraq is now 13,559, though the actual total is may be between 15,000 and 42,500. The web site http://www.iraqbodycount.org states that the number of innocent civilians killed is at least 23,140. We don't see those Iraqi bodies because the U.S. media don't show them, just as they don't show the caskets of American casualties or the broken bodies coming into Walter Reed Army Hospital under cover of darkness.
All of those lives lost or damaged have been the result of what I believe to be lies told to the American people by our president and other elected and non-elected officials. But there is one way to determine if I am right.
Rep. Barbara Lee along with 40 (to date) co-sponsors have introduced a Resolution of Inquiry, HR 375, which simply asks that the President and Secretary of State be directed to produce all "communication with officials of the United Kingdom between January 1, 2002, and October 16, 2002, relating to the policy of the United States with respect to Iraq."
If there were no lies, why should the President or his party be afraid to produce those documents?
Rep. Wolf told us that even though he had not previously heard of HR 375, he felt certain that he would not be signing it. This judgment appeared to be based entirely on the fact that it had been introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee.
It was his opinion that she -- along with other unnamed officials -- could doom a bill by being associated with it. This may or may not be true, but for Rep. Wolf to reject a bill that his constituents felt passionately enough about to come to his office when he had not even read it was very disappointing to us all.
Mr. Wolf had apparently heard of the Downing Street Minutes, but had not read them. We left him with a copy of the Minutes as well as a copy of HR 375 and invited him to come to Warrenton to discuss these extremely serious issues with citizens of all viewpoints.
He said he would not be coming to such a meeting. He said that he comes to Warrenton regularly, and that we were invited to attend his town hall meetings when they happen to occur.
He did extend another invitation to us to return to talk with him. He reiterated that his door is always open. This group is in the process of trying to schedule a meeting for September.
If you believe that it matters whether our President and other officials deceived us and took us into a war that has been devastating for millions of people around the world, that has destroyed the high regard of America in world opinion, that is bankrupting our country -- with the exception of the war profiteers -- and for which there is no end in sight, schedule a meeting with your member of the House of Representatives and with your two Senators.
Let them know that if they do not act to end this violence and investigate the possible lies that took us there, they are complicit.
They represent you. They represent me. They need to hear from all of us. They are our public servants, our voices in the greatest deliberative body in the land. If we do not speak out to them, we too are complicit.
Their doors are open. Walk in and speak your mind.