Iraq War, local response: ideas?

ChiptownhallBy State Rep. Chip Shields (D-Portland).

Earlier this week, I hosted a Town Hall forum entitled "The Iraq War; a local response" with my colleague Rep. Paul Holvey of Eugene. Paul's son served in Iraq. Close to 100 people came together at Emmanuel Temple Church in North Portland to share what they were doing to end the war in Iraq. I want to hear what you are doing to bring the war to a conclusion, so others can join you if they so desire.

John Calhoun discussed his effort to get the Oregon congressional delegation to unify around a single exit strategy. Some of my neighbors are lobbying Governor Kulongoski and Senator Wyden to continue to be vocal in speaking out against the war. Some talked about withholding a portion of "war" taxes from their federal tax payment. Others talked about attending the upcoming rally on March 19 at 1:30 at Waterfront Park (PDF flyer).

The most powerful part of the evening was hearing from my constituent Jerry Murray, who served with the Marines in Vietnam and earned a Silver Star. He said, “I spent 12 months in Vietnam, all of it in the infantry. This is the same thing we went through 40 years ago. We’re trying to fix something that can’t be fixed.”

In the last legislative session, Rep. Holvey and I, along with several of our colleagues, sponsored HJM 38 -- a resolution urging Congress and the President to develop a timeline and exit stategy for the war in Iraq.

Let's keep the ideas flowing. I want to hear what you are doing to end the war, so that others can join you.

Here are the admittedly modest steps my wife Shelda and I are taking to end the war.

1. I introduced HJM 38 and will do so again if necessary...

2. We are working with vets Mavin Simmons and Bill Bires on a bill concerning exposure to depleted unranium by members of the Oregon National Guard.

3. We are giving to Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to take back the U.S. House and Senate.

4. We will be giving to Ned Lamont, who's running against Senator Joe Lieberman. I believe Democrats should hold Sen. Lieberman accountable for his support of this war and this administration.

5. We will be attending the March 19 rally at Waterfront Park at 1:30 p.m.

Your ideas?

Comments

  • Tenskwatawa (unverified)
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    BOYCOTT MEDIA you have to pay for. Cancel Cable TV, either dish or wire. Cancel newspaper subscription. MASS MEDIA made this invasion -- Congress NEVER declared War -- and are bloody handed in the deaths and violence, and keeps killing humankind with YOUR MONEY.

    Clean Sweep the House. Vote ONLY Write In Candidates. Each congressional district organizing on the internet -- screw Mass Media campaign spending -- voters behind the scenes getting behind one NOT Democrat, NOT Republican, who pledges ONLY IMPEACH.

    Stop this Congress they are GUILTY of War Crimes. Then NEW Congress IMPEACH and stop this fascist nazi-like Executive, and leave them in prison GUILTY of War Crimes. Blumenauer: GONE. Wu: GONE. Hooley: GONE. Walden: GONE. DeFazio pledges to the IMPEACH Party. Smith and Wyden are beneath contempt and so over.

    That stops this invasion, it is War Crimes.

    Sorry, Chip, John, and all federal and state and local office holders, and the newspapers, and the broadcasters, you HAS-BEEN INCUMBENTS had your chance to lead, follow, or get out of the way, and you have individually and collectively dishonored our land and the blood grown and shed in it. Defiling every citizen and defaming yourself.

    Nationwide, all votes can be Write In. Our future Congresspersons are not printed on the ballot that the enemy political parties rig and give us to check an OK. WE CAN WRITE the name WHO WE VOTE FOR. Because we can read and write.

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    Tensk, go find your meds...

  • askquestions1st (unverified)
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    Actually, at least Tenskwatawa's passion is refreshing.

    I personally find Rep. Shield's comments and proposals as articulated here are superficial and demonstrate little in the way of true leadership. However, I won't presume that these are representative of his actual leadership, and so I'm willing to hear what Rep. Shield has to say to some serious questions:

    1) First, do you agree that in fact Iraq is in a state of civil war right now (if not what possible definition do you have for a civil war)? And do you agree that really those in leadership should be framing the debate on this topic in terms of how bad the civil war is and how bad it will get if Americans do not make it clear they want this administration to change course?

    2) Do you agree this administration has committed both war crimes and domestic crimes? Instead of the resolution you introduced, which I think honesty demands we admit was more show than substance, if the facts and situation are the same or worse than they are now will you introduce a resolution in the next session of the Oregon Legislature that Congress should begin impeachment hearings (if they haven't already begun them by that time)?

    3) While all of us support the people in the military, and by that I mean emphatically apologize to them for taking them from their families and lives to send them into an illegal war, making sure they get what is needed to take all necessary defensive measures until they are brought home, bringing them home with all due haste, and providing for their physical and emotional rehabilitation, do you support or oppose those in the military who freely choose to identify with and support "the mission" as pursued by this administration?

    4) It has been rumored with informal confirmation --- but the media in a typical demonstration of their ignorance and cowardness has not bothered to authenticate or refute --- that at their recent Dorchester conference Republican party activists engaged in a skit in which the people abused in our prison at Guantanamo Bay were implicitly and explicitly made the butt of jokes. History tells us that the emergence of this kind of depraved behavior by official political groups is an ominous indicator of a far more serious turn in the character of a society than apparently anyone in this state has been willing to acknowledge. Will you introduce a resolution in the Oregon Legislature that the events and at this conference be fully investigated and reported? And if the reports are found to be true, that any person or organization who is responsible or who defends those skits be officially denounced by the Legislature? I also draw your attention to these two recent articles about the situation at Guantanamo Bay in case you missed them:

    US urged to abandon force-feeding at Guantanamo http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyid=2006-03-10T001115Z_01_L09686813_RTRUKOC_0_US-GUANTANAMO.xml

    Cheap Watches Trouble for Gitmo Prisoners http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/09/AR2006030901331.htm

    In direct response to your question Rep. Shields as to what I am doing to help end the war in Iraq, it is speaking out in forums like this and directly to our electeds on these substantive issues. And it is precisely because most of the electeds that are supposedly on the same side as me are in fact resistant and afraid to engage substantively on these issues that continuing to attempt to engage them is a particularly important and effective action. I look forward to hearing the views of Rep. Shields, and those any other elected who cares to comment, on these questions, and I thank you in advance for responding.

  • whattheF (unverified)
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    I guess since Kari, Ted Kulongoski's employee, has completly ignored Pete Sorenson wiping the floor with his guy Kulo at the OEA, isnt big enough news to deserve a post, ill put it in here.

    [Remainder of off-topic post deleted. See note below. -editor.]

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    [Response to above off-topic comment deleted. See note below. -editor.]

  • Mr. T (unverified)
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    I think Tenkskey should boycott whatever he's been smoking.

    If a "write-in" campaign (sans candidate) is the best idea he can come up with, the extreme left is in big trouble.

    As for impeachment, how is President Hastert likely to modify our Iraq/War on Terror strategy? Until you have a response to that question, it seems shortsighted to consider impeachment as an end the war tack.

  • askkquestions1st (unverified)
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    Mr. T - In an environment in which impeach became a reality, it would be at least arguably likely that Mr. Hastert will already be indisposed defending himself against criminal charges in the Abramoff scandal:

    Hastert In The Crosshairs? http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/01/18/hastert_in_the_crosshairs.php

    Hastert donates Abramoff-linked money http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/01/03/abramoff.fallout/

  • Karl (unverified)
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    We have to keep talking about impeachment until it's on everybody's mind. Two more years is way too long. This administration and this war are harming our country and way of life far more than al-kaida ever dreamed of doing. We have to keep pointing out Bush's lies and crimes so they don't slip out of public consciuosness. I, personally will keep on posting, writing letters (to congress people and media),letting people I interact with know where I stand and why, and sometimes demonstrating or marching.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Karl, impeachment won't happen unless the Democrats win a majority in House, Sen. or both and have subpoena power. So put that energy into electing Democrats this year (there are some dandy candidates in 2nd Cong. district who could use contributions of money, time or any other resource) and wait until next year for impeachment. If Bush was impeached and convicted, do you want Cheney, Hastert, or whoever is Sen. Pres. Pro Tem to be the new president?

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    The OEA gubernatorial endorsements stuff is VERY off-topic on this Iraq War post, and I'm deleting it. However, the only reason it's not up is because I've been crazy on a project deadline and only just looked at the paper a few moments ago. Everything isn't a conspiracy people. Settle down.

  • Rep Chip Shields (unverified)
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    Dear "Askquestions1st":

    I’ll try to ignore your insults and get to your few identifiable points and questions. Were you at the event?

    Do you agree that in fact Iraq is in a state of civil war right now?

    Yes.

    And do you agree that really those in leadership should be framing the debate on this topic in terms of how bad the civil war is and how bad it will get if Americans do not make it clear they want this administration to change course?

    I think the question is whether our presence there is making things better or worse. It is clear to me that our presence, and lack of timetable for exit, is making things worse. I believe we need an exit plan with a timetable. Rep. Murtha’s plan makes sense to me. Please keep in mind that we introduced HJM 38 in July 2005 to get some momentum behind the idea of an exit strategy and timetable. The original idea was introduced by Rep. Kucinich and Rep. Walter Jones. This was way before Murtha and way before most people were talking about a timetable.

    Do you agree this administration has committed both war crimes and domestic crimes?

    I believe this administration has overseen human rights abuses and fostered the conditions that made these abuses possible, and indeed very predictable. I believe the administration has broken the law by wiretapping without seeking FISA court approval. I believe Sen. Feingold is right to introduce a resolution to censure President Bush.

    Will you introduce a resolution in the next session of the Oregon Legislature that Congress should begin impeachment hearings?

    I believe the President should be impeached and I have been watching closely the efforts in Rhode Island to initiate articles of impeachment. I’m a social worker, not a lawyer, and am not sure of the mechanics of how a state legislature can initiate impeachment proceedings. But if you are willing to help with the legwork, your own state representative would most likely be willing to arrange for you to meet with legislative counsel to determine the feasibility of impeachment through what they call a “note to mother.” If I am your representative, which I wouldn’t know because you haven’t identified yourself as such, or for that matter identified yourself at all, I would be happy to meet with you. All you need to do is ask.

    Do you support or oppose those in the military who freely choose to identify with and support "the mission" as pursued by this administration?

    After having had discussions with veterans, active military and conscientious objectors, I fully support our troops. Our troops are doing their jobs. No matter how one feels about the war, we all support the troops.

    It has been rumored with informal confirmation --- but the media in a typical demonstration of their ignorance and cowardness has not bothered to authenticate or refute --- that at their recent Dorchester conference Republican party activists engaged in a skit in which the people abused in our prison at Guantanamo Bay were implicitly and explicitly made the butt of jokes. History tells us that the emergence of this kind of depraved behavior by official political groups is an ominous indicator of a far more serious turn in the character of a society than apparently anyone in this state has been willing to acknowledge. Will you introduce a resolution in the Oregon Legislature that the events and at this conference be fully investigated and reported? And if the reports are found to be true, that any person or organization who is responsible or who defends those skits be officially denounced by the Legislature?

    I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I suggest you continue to search for the facts and do something about it. Maybe you should submit a guest column here for consideration. Personally, I think torture itself is much more depraved than a skit by a group of morons, but I may be misinterpreting your point.

  • Anonymous Democrat (unverified)
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    Golly! You can tell how angry some folks in the base are when Rep. Chip Shields is taking fire from the left for trying to lead local actions against the war. He's taking issue with DU; He's introducing legislation to pull the troops out; He's backing Ned LaMont; He's participating in, and promoting, peace rallies. Exactly how much more do you expect a State Rep to do on this issue?

    Personally, I wish more Democrats in the U.S. Congress would follow Rep. Shields example.

    Well, put me (anonymous though I may be) firmly in the camp of Rep. Chip Shields on this issue. And let me be the first among the dozen or so responders to thank you, Rep. Shields, for doing something to make a difference on this issue.

  • LT (unverified)
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    All you impeachment fans:

    Russ Feingold on ABC THIS WEEK just now proposed a censure of Pres. Bush for warrantless wiretapping and hopes for the bipartisan support of anyone who says "Hey! I voted for military action overseas, not for warrantless wiretapping at home!".

    Why is that not better than impeachment? It can be done now, there are no questions of succession.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)
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    Rep. Shields - I think the comments about "insults" are a bit gratuitous, and I'll leave it at that.

    That said, I do appreciate you taking the time to answer the questions. I commend you for that. There are a few statements you make in each case, however, which I think bear further comment:

    1) A resolution which directs the adminstration to formulate a withdrawal plan has an unnecessary element of political jockeying because it attempts to shift the responsibility to the adminstration. Congress through it's power of the purse, and since it never declared war against Iraq has direct power to bring this to the end.

    2) Your passive framing in the wording this "adminstration has overseen human rights abuses" contrasts with the active framing that "the administration has broken the law" with regard to illegal wiretaps. I think sufficient informed analysis exist in the public domain that a credible case exists that this administration has committed war crimes. Feingold seems to be making it clear that his resolution is a minimal first, and perhaps last ditch effort, to get some action to hold this administration accountable. He seems to be suggesting he is taking this step because too many of our elected representatives are not willing to be as forceful as he has been too date in speaking out and attempting to act against this criminal administration.

    3) Of course your general implicit assertion that a state legislature has no legal power to compel impeachment proceedings is correct. The most the state legislature can do is mobilize irresistable moral suasion of our Federal representatives. As the duly elected state representatives of the people, the state legislature can communicate to in forceful terms that the people of Oregon want the Congress to undertake impeachment proceedings. You can pass a resolution calling on behalf of the people for our Federal Congressional delegation to take all possible steps to cause the commencement of impeachment proceedings. Imagine the situation if states accounting for the necessary majority of the House membership called on their delegations to begin impeachment proceedings in this way, much less if states accounting for 2/3 of the Senate membership did it.

    With regard to anonymity - we see that posting on blogs is, to a large extent, an egotistical exercise in popular culture. Since I do not "report" nor represent facts myself, only direct folks to facts elsewhere and construct questions and arguments, identity is irrelevant and the focus should be on the substance of the argument. In this regard, the courts have consistently affirmed the salutory effect of anonymity in public political discourse with the Federalist Papers as the paradigmatic example. You can rest assured I have addressed comments of this nature to my electeds at all levels. And here you have the basis of what your staff could pursue with regard to impeachment.

    4) I am left with the conclusion that apparently you haven't read BlueOregon. This is troubling since you have chosen to use this forum to solicit opinion and the story was on the front page of the blog at the time you posted (and still was at the time of this posting). Here is the thread so far on BlueOregon:

    Racist skit at Dorchester? http://www.blueoregon.com/2006/03/racist_skit_at_.html

    Since you apparently haven't read this or other reportage on the matter, in generosity nothing would be served by taking up the rest of what your comment.

    To LT - Before we adopt the blind position of just electing Democrats, we need to make sure the ones we are electing in fact would represent a change since most seem to be running solely on the message "elect us because we aren't them". Otherwise we will have simply legitimized the corrupted state of our democracy much as DeWine has introduced legislation to ex post facto de-criminalize what this criminal administration has done. And as I have already noted, at the point that sufficient popular sentiment has been mobilized to actually make impeachment proceedings happen, we won't be worrying about the current veep or Liar of the House because they will be tied up fighting their own battles. The task is to get "elite" thinking in line with the 52% or so who have already said that they would like to see some movement on impeachment and other actions to hold this administration and the Republicans who hold all power accountable.

    And to Anonymous Democrat - this post started and has continued with an inquiry into the actual meaning and substance of what Rep. Shields has done in response to his direct solicitation for input. In short, the input was that a closer examination of some rather conventional center-left actions is in order first, along with some specific recommendations how to sharpen and redirect some of those actions. That is hardly unreasonable, and that you seem unable to understand that suggests exactly why we progressives have been unsuccessful in holding power, much less regaining it.

  • activist kaza (unverified)
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    (side comment to administrator/Kari: it looks like the italix are running wild again, please fix!!!) Dear Chip:

    Once again, I appreciate your leadership at a local level on an issue which should be dealt with at a national level. The logical response to your question is thus: time to lobby our DC delegation (gang of 7) until the cows (er, troops) come home! As legislators, perhaps you and a few of your like-minded colleagues would find a more receptive audience with milquetoast Dems like Hooley and Wu, who thusfar have refused to take a real stand on Iraq (unlike Blumenauer and DeFazio). Getting a few Rs who might be brave enough to back a timetable for Iraq withdrawal could lead to a meeting with Smith or Walden.

    Don't give up - Iraq is sucking the lifeblood out of Oregon in disproportionate fashion. We need ALL the leaders we can find right now...

  • Ron (unverified)
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    Chip, As a constituent of yours, let me just say that you're doing us proud. I appreciate your public stance agains the Iraq fiasco and your willingness to discuss the issues even with bloviators like askquestions1st.
    Regards

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