SMPA Delegation Presents Petitions to Senator Lautenberg
On Tuesday February 22d a delegation of 13 residents of Maplewood and South Orange presented SMPA petitions to Senator Lautenberg urging him to Speak Out Against the War in Iraq signed by 1,256 people in the two towns.
To view SMPA's four petition presentations click on:
Senator Corzine Senator Lautenberg
Congressman Payne Congressman Pascrell
Senator Lautenberg's deputy director, Lisa Plevin accepted the petitions for the senator.
The delegation included Peggy Auer, Stephanie Bar Am, Ginny Brown, Theo Buklad, Cathy Casriel, Vic De Luca, Maddy Gyory, Dan O'Flaherty, Tom Riordan, Ashley Sawyer, Holly Scalera, Dan Symonds and Paul Surovell.
Columbia High School student Maddy Gyory began the presentation by
reading the names of the 32 New Jersey soldiers killed in Iraq. CHS
students Ashley Sawyer and Dan Symonds asked questions that addressed
war spending and the possibility of a draft.
Tom Riordan commented on the hundreds of CHS students who signed the petition.
Peggy Auer, CHS class of '42, cited the strong support in Maplewood
for the petition, noting that all 5 Maplewood Township Committee members were signatories and she presented a copy of the recent Township Committee proclamation thanking Paul Surovell for his work with SMPA.
Vic De Luca cited the Maplewood Township resolution in 2003 urging the President to refrain from acts of war against Iraq and to allow the UN inspections process to continue.
Delegation members made statements in support of our petition and
asked that Senator Lautenberg take leadership in ending the war.
Senator Edward Kennedy's January 27th speech calling for a UN-led
solution and a timetable for US withdrawal from Iraq was cited as an
example of leadership and a copy of the speech was presentedl
Cathy Casriel read a statement by Andy Gyory asked the senators to read the petition into the Congressional Record, citing the role of citizen petitions in US history.
Cathy also outlined several points made in Senator Kennedy's January 27th speech at Johns Hopkins University.
Dan O'Flaherty talked about the huge economic costs of the war.
Ginny Brown presented a "Be About Peace" lawn sign and a flyer for SMPA's March 1st meeting with Scott Ritter and invited the senator and his staff to the meeting.
Holly Scalera presented a poster for Be About Peace Day on March 19th, and invited the Senator to attend.
A set of written questions for Senator Lautenberg and a request that he
hold a public meeting on the war with their constituents in Maplewood and South Orange concluded our presentation (text of questions below).
South Mountain Peace Action co-chair Paul Surovell is setting up similar meetings with congressmen Payne and Pascrell.
TEXT OF PETITION
Letter from Citizens of
Maplewood and South Orange, NJ to:
Senators Corzine and Lautenberg,
Representatives Payne and Pascrell
We urge you to:
SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE WAR IN IRAQ.
Nearly 80% of Maplewood and South Orange voters and 52% of all New Jersey voters voted for John Kerry, who said forcefully that President Bush's war in Iraq is
"The Wrong War at the Wrong Time, in the Wrong Place."
The war has already cost (as of 12-04):
-- More than 1,300 American lives and 10,000 wounded
-- More than 100,000 Iraqi civilian lives (Johns Hopkins Medical School estimate)
-- More than $150 billion of taxpayer funds
Please end the silence in Congress and work for an international solution led by the United Nations and a rapid return home of US soldiers.
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Questions for Senator Lautenberg
from Maplewood and South Orange, NJ Citizens Presenting Petitions
Urging Senator Lautenberg
to Speak Out Against the War in Iraq,
with Signatures of 1,256 of People in Maplewood and South Orange.
QUESTION: Senator Lautenberg, will you please read our petition, Speak Out Against the War in Iraq, into the Congressional Record and also please mention that it was signed by 1,256 people in Maplewood and South Orange, New Jersey?
PREFACE: Our petition mentions that more than 1,400 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq and that more than 10,000 have been wounded. Our petition also cites the estimate by Johns Hopkins Medical School that more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed as a result of US military action in Iraq.
Senator Edward Kennedy, in his speech at Johns Hopkins University on January 27, 2005, also cites the American and Iraqi casualties as follows:
"Nearly 1400 Americans have died. More than 10,000 have been wounded, and tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and children have been killed."
Senator Lautenberg, thank you for having acknowledged those American soldiers who have given their lives in Iraq.
QUESTION: Senator Lautenberg, when and how do you think the United States Government should acknowledge the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed by US military action and how should the United States Government take responsibility for this tragedy?
PREFACE: Senator Lautenberg, in our petition, we quote Sen. John Kerry's central Presidential campaign slogan on the war in Iraq as:
"The wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Senator Kennedy, in his Johns Hopkins speech, also refers to the fact that our involvement in Iraq is wrong and he says we must not allow the wrong to continue. He says:
"Error is no excuse for its own perpetuation. Mindless determination doesn't make a better outcome likely. Setting a firm strategy for withdrawal may not guarantee success, but not doing so will almost certainly guarantee failure."
Senator Kennedy further says:
"We need to rethink the Pottery Barn rule. America cannot forever be the potter that sculpts Iraq's future. President Bush broke Iraq, but if we want Iraq to be fixed, the Iraqis must feel that they, not we, own it."
Senator Kennedy has courageously gone beyond mere recognition of the errors of our policy by publicly calling for specific steps to end that policy.
QUESTION: Senator Lautenberg, will you take leadership to end our mistaken policy in Iraq, by supporting our petition's call to heed Senator Kerry's campaign slogan and call for concrete steps to end the war, as Senator Kennedy has done?
PREFACE: Senator Lautenberg, our petition urges you to work for an international solution in Iraq, led by the United Nations, to allow a rapid return home of US troops.
Senator Kennedy also urges an international solution under UN leadership and also involving the Arab League.
Senator Kennedy says: "The United Nations, not the United States, should provide assistance and advice on establishing a system of government and drafting a constitution. An international meeting, led by the United Nations and the new Iraqi Government, should be convened immediately in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East to begin that process."
Kennedy further says: "While American troops are drawing down, we must clearly be prepared to oppose any external intervention in Iraq or the large-scale revenge killing of any group. We should begin now to conduct serious regional diplomacy with the Arab League and Iraq's neighbors to underscore this point, and we will need to maintain troops on bases outside Iraq but in the region.
"The United Nations could send a stabilization force to Iraq if it is necessary and requested by the Iraqi government. But any stabilization force must be sought by the Iraqis and approved by the United Nations, with a clear and achievable mission and clear rules of engagement. Unlike the current force, it should not consist mostly of Americans or be led by Americans. All nations of the world have an interest in Iraq's stability and territorial integrity."
QUESTION: Senator Lautenberg, as one who has supported the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of peace and security in the world, will you support the call of our petition, as echoed in Senator Kennedy's speech, to make the United Nations, not the United States, responsible for achieving a solution in Iraq?
PREFACE: Senator Lautenberg, our petition cites the fact that more than $150 billion of our national treasure has been squandered on "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." Additional requests totaling an estimated $300 billion have been made, including the immediate call for $80 billion to continue to perpetuate the errors of our policies.
As Senator Kennedy says: "Another $80 billion bill for the black hole that Iraq has become has just been handed to the American people."
QUESTION: Senator Lautenberg, as one of our nation's leading experts on finance, will you respond to our petition's reference to the more than $150 billion dollars spent on the war in Iraq, echoed by Senator Kennedy, and take leadership in the Senate to end the war and the enormous waste of taxpayer funds and American resources that is not only contributing to a potential financial disaster, but is depriving our nation of needed resources for education, health care, jobs and the environment?
QUESTION: Senator Lautenberg, given the serious and urgent nature of the issues raised by our petition and the large number of citizens in Maplewood and South Orange who have signed the petition, would you be willing to schedule a public forum in Maplewood or South Orange to discuss your responses to the petition and the questions herein?
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