IRAQ TOWN HALL MEETING
At first Rep. Allen would not hold such an event. Rep. Allen maintains that we can't leave Iraq because if we do there might be a civil war and innocent Iraqi people will suffer. It appears that is happening now. His position is the basic Democratic party position, and at one point in the event he suggested we all go and read the statement of Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) who forcefully articulates this position that we must stay in Iraq and stabilize it until the Iraqi government asks us to leave. One Veterans for Peace member reminded the congressman that the Iraqi government, like the one the U.S. installed in Vietnam during that war, is a puppet government and is not likely to ask us to leave.
Two parents of GI's now in Iraq both spoke out strongly against the war calling for the troops to be brought home ASAP. None of the people who spoke up during the event expressed the slightest support for the war.
At least half a dozen of the people who spoke up called for the conversion of the military industrial complex. This, I think, indicates that our campaign to bring that issue alive here in Maine is making progress. People are seeing the common sense of using our tax dollars to build mass transit rail systems, solar power, and wind power at the weapons production facilities in the state that now produce weapons for endless war.
When I spoke I asked the audience what the nation's number one industrial export was. WEAPONS they yelled out. And when weapons are your number one industrial export, what is your global marketing strategy, I asked? WAR they yelled back.
This was a great day for the peace movement in Maine. We showed that we can mobilize people, we got very little help from the mainstream media who basically refused to give any advance coverage to the event. We also showed the growing power of ordinary people who are moving to oppose the war. Rep. Allen continues to say that we can't leave Iraq but he is moving in our direction as he clearly is feeling the pressure to change his position. We will keep working, and building, in order to grow this anti-war movement.
Next month we will again occupy the office of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) where we will read the names of dead GI's and Iraqi civilians. Each time we read them it takes us longer - the last time it took six hours. But each time we read the names our numbers grow.