About a dozen constituents have refused to leave the local offices of Senator Maria Cantwell and Senator Patty Murray until the Senators make public statements in opposition to war with Iraq.
At between 10-11:30 a.m. this morning, a group of roughly a half dozen citizens entered the local Senate office of Maria Cantwell in the Federal Building at 3rd and Marion, and refused to leave until the Senator made a public statement opposing the war resolution. At roughly the same time a second group of similar number entered the office of Patty Murray and made the same demand. Both groups are dedicated to making this urgent call while observing nonviolent resistance.
In the past month thousands of concerned constituents from all over Washington State have written and called the offices of Senators Cantwell and Murray to insist that each take a public stand opposing a pre-emptive war with Iraq, and still no unambiguous statement has been made by either Senator even as a war resolution is being considered by both houses of Congress.
Cindy Cole, age 54, a mother of three, working as an office manager for a Labor union in the Seattle area explains "No definitive reason that has been given for attacking Iraq and aside from all the suffering of men, women and children it would cause, I am afraid it would only lead to more terrorist attacks on the United States." In a statement presented to both Senate offices, the groups spelled this feeling out in clear and simple terms, stating: "There is no case for a war on Iraq. Iraq has not threatened to attack the US or Europe. Iraq is not connected to al-Qa'ida. There is no evidence that it has new weapons of mass destruction, or that it possesses the means of delivering them."
Jeff Gustafson, a 31 year old Army veteran who lives and works in Bellevue as a computer programmer said what he found "most alarming is how quickly the Bush Administration is willing to throw out centuries of international law to pursue a preemptive war against a country that poses no eminent threat to the U.S." He continued saying, "A war, especially of this magnitude, deserves the full constitutional process. And yet the President and some in Congress are treating this nonbinding resolution as proper authorization for the President to go to war. It is not! And it is apparent that for political reasons the Constitution is not being respected and Congress is not assuming its constitutional obligations. We are about to embark on a war that goes against who we are as a nation and I and my fellow Americans are here to appeal for Congress to take its constitutional responsibilities seriously."
Jean Buskin, age 54, a biochemist from Seattle said "Our nation is rushing to war, rushing to kill untold numbers of Iraqi people as well as U.S. soldiers. As a Jew with relatives killed in the Nazi Holocaust, I have always wished that more Germans spoke out to say 'No' when their nation planned killings. Now it is my turn to say 'No."
This action was organized by the newly formed Sound Nonviolent Opponents of War (S.N.O.W.) a coalition whose members include: University Unitarian Church Peace and Justice Committee (Seattle); Fellowship of Reconciliation (Seattle Chapter); Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility; People for Peace, Justice, and Healing (Tacoma); No Name Affinity Group (Seattle); Wizzards and Clowns for Peace, Plymouth Congregational Church - Peace Action Group (Seattle); Interfaith Network of Concern for the People of Iraq (INOC); and Pax Christi Pacific Northwest.
Plea to Senators Murray and Cantwell: Publicly Oppose War with Iraq Now!
We come to our Senators offices with heavy hearts. Our nation is on the brink of a still wider war with Iraq. Next week Congress will vote on a war resolution proposed by President Bush. We and thousands of Washingtonians have called and written our Senators asking them to take a vocal stand against such a war which will bring tragedy to the people of Iraq and we believe to America. We have sent delegations who have met with aides but never with the Senators themselves. We are still getting communications from the senators which do not make clear where they stand on this critical issue affecting all of us. We call on our Senators to join Congressman Jim McDermott in exerting leadership for peace. We will wait in their offices until we get definitive word from them that they will vote against war and will make their position know to the people they represent.
WE OPPOSE THIS WAR FOR MANY REASONS:
--There is no case for awar on Iraq. It has not threatened to attack the US or Europe. It is not connected to al-Qa'ida. There is no evidence that it has new weapons of mass destruction, or that it possesses the means of delivering them.
--It will cause additional death and suffering to the people of Iraq who have no way to affect their leader. We simply cannot go after a dictator by killing the people!
--It will cause death, injury and distress to thousands of young Americans for no constructive purpose. We have known that tragedy in the past.
--There is a peaceful alternative to assure that President Hussein does not possess weapons of mass destruction. Weapons Inspections, which Iraq has already agreed to without condition.
--We believe this war will greatly hinder efforts to prevent future attacks on the US by undermining international cooperation.
--We believe the way to greater security for Americans and others is to strengthen, not weaken, world institutions such as the UN and the International Criminal Court and to devote our resources to narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor.
--We believe such a war will injure US relations with many countries and destabilize the whole region.
--We believe this war might provoke exactly what the President Bush says he wants to prevent. By announcing he intends to remove Hussein, he removes the deterrent value of the US military. Hussein might, when cornered, attack Israel with whatever weapons he has.
--At the beginning of a new century our young people deserve better that President Bush's gloomy policy of perpetual war. We believe a peaceful and just world is possible.
This statement was delivered on Wednesday, September 24, 2002, to the Seattle offices of Senator Maria Cantwell and Senator Patty Murray by
concerned citizens who hope to stop a terrible war before it starts. We encourage all people who believe in peace and justice to make their voices heard NOW before it is too late!
SOUND NONVIOLENT OPPONENTS OF WAR (SNOW)