Peace Pledge

Michael:

Sorry it has taken me a few days to join this conversation.

The language of the pledge: ""I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."

I don't think a George Bush Hawk or a Rahm Emanuel Hawk could sign the peace pledge in good conscience. For example, neither of these pro-war wings of their parties will oppose military action against Iran. There is no doubt that an attack on Iran would be a war of aggression under international law. As we note, "The basic definition of a war of aggression is 'any war that is not in response to an invasion or attack on a nation.'" And, we provide more detail about the history of this language and what it means at: http://www.votersforpeace.us/warsofaggression.html. This may be the more important clause of the pledge because we are not only working to end the Iraq War, but we are also trying to prevent similar unnecessary, unprovoked wars in the future.

Cutting the funding of the war has become the very clear short term mission of the anti-war movement. That was not as clear when we developed the pledge almost one year ago. But, that is the focus of Voters for Peace and the allied lobbying group that I head, DemocracyRising.US. We will be overtly kicking off our stop the funding of the war campaign on January 4th (the day Congress returns) as part of a build-up to the vote on the Iraq War supplemental that will be held in February.

When you go to the pledge page readers are told that our mission is to "end the occupation of Iraq." And, on the about us page we say we are empowering "voters to take a stand and demand withdrawal from Iraq." The word in the pledge is "speedy" when describing the withdrawal from Iraq. Yes, that is slightly weaker than "immediate" but it is not something the Rahm Emanuel/Bushies could sign on to either -- at least not if they were honest ( a big "if"!). Once we get people signed on then we spend a lot of time educating them about the need for getting out of Iraq as soon as possible. So, it is important to draw in people who oppose the war and want it ended -- then we can educate them about the nuances -- how to get out rapidly.

The key for me, is the goal is to form a large political movement that is significant in size and cannot be ignored by elected officials. Since March, Voters For Peace has gotten 170,000 signers making it one of the largest anti-war groups in the country. Also, we have tested various methods of growing and have developed an approach that is much less expensive than others. The Washington Post estimated it cost $5 for every web signer/email to a group -- we've got the price down to .65. So, with about $600,000 in funding we could have one million signers and tens of thousands of regular activists. That would be a significant political force that could hold an on-line peace primary or take other actions to influence the next elections through a 527 or other allied group.

The potential is significant to respond to the militaristic foreign policy that we see from the leadership of the two parties.

Kevin

Trina Zahller wrote:
  Dear Michael,

  The pledge language has been a topic of considerable debate ever since the focus groups were done to determine the language. For a better discussion on the evolution of the pledge language, I want to introduce you to Kevin Zeese, whom I mentioned to you the other day in regards to his recent Senate run in Maryland. Kevin is a co-founder of VotersForPeace and was intimately involved in crafting the pledge. You may also recognize his name from his decades of leadership in drug policy reform.

  While I will let Kevin tackle the details of the pledge language, I want to clarify the purpose of the Voters' Pledge. The Voters' Pledge was developed primarily as a voter organizing and education tool-not a tool by which a candidate's position on the war should be measured. The pledge was useful as a way to identify new peace voters/activists, build get-out-the-vote efforts, and get the message sent to candidates and the press that American voters want a withdrawal from Iraq-and they're willing to vote according to that issue. As a 501c3 organization, it was not in our realm to ask candidates to sign the pledge, nor did we promote those who did on their own accord. For the most part, we relied on resources such as the Peace Majority Report (which is a scorecard of Congressional votes) to provide an accurate assessment of incumbent candidates' positions on the war.

  I hope this helps clarify the pledge for you. I'm sure that Kevin will further elucidate the nuances of its language.

  Many thanks,

  Trina

  Trina Zahller
  Outreach Coordinator
  VotersForPeace
  Tel: 301.270.2355
  Trina@...

  Have you signed the Voters' Pledge for peace? "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not make a speedy end to the war in Iraq, and preventing any future war of aggression, a public position in his or her campaign."

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