Maplewood Resolution and Proclamation 01-16-07
TOWNSHIP OF MAPLEWOOD
RESOLUTION URGING THE WITHDRAWAL
OF UNITED STATES TROOPS FROM IRAQ
Be it resolved by the Township Committee of Maplewood, County of Essex, State of New Jersey, that:
1) The Maplewood Township Committee urges the Federal Government to immediately commence a planned, orderly, and rapid withdrawal of all military personnel from Iraq; and
2) A copy of this resolution is to be forwarded to President George W. Bush, Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez and Congressmen Donald Payne and William Pascrell.
WHEREAS the Maplewood Township Committee recognizes the long and proud history of current and former residents of Maplewood in defending our nation during times of war and crisis and;
WHEREAS the Township Committee honors the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women now serving in the United States armed forces and;
WHEREAS more than 3,000 United States servicemen and servicewomen have lost their lives in the current war in Iraq and;
WHEREAS more than 20,000 United States servicemen and servicewomen have sustained serious injuries in that war and;
WHEREAS tens of thousands and by some estimates hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the war and;
WHEREAS the war has cost US taxpayers nearly $400 billion, New Jersey taxpayers more than $17 billion and Maplewood taxpayers more than $70 million and;
WHEREAS the bipartisan Iraq Study Group headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton reached consensus that all US combat brigades not necessary for force protection could be out of Iraq within a year and;
WHEREAS numerous efforts by Maplewood citizens have raised awareness of the human, economic and security costs of the war in Iraq and;
WHEREAS the petition signed by more than 1,100 local citizens, co-authored by South Mountain Peace Action and by Paul Schroeder and Rosemary Palmer, parents of Marine Lance Corporal Augie Schroeder, a Columbia High School graduate who was killed in Haditha, Iraq in August 2005, reads as follows:
Petition for a Responsible Withdrawal from Iraq
to Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez
Congressmen Donald Payne and William Pascrell
The undersigned residents of New Jersey, noting that 72% of US troops in Iraq wanted all United States troops to be withdrawn in 2006*, urge you to work for legislation in the Senate and House to implement a responsible US withdrawal from Iraq as follows:
(1) The US commits to ending its military deployment in Iraq and disavows any desire for permanent military bases there;
(2) The US immediately offers to negotiate with all Iraqi factions, including the insurgents but not Al-Qaeda, to reduce US troop levels to zero in stages, in exchange for reduced levels of violence, and to increase US economic assistance in exchange for protection of Iraqi minority rights;
(3) After six months if such negotiations fail to take place or do not achieve reduced troop levels and reduced violence levels, the US will then proceed to end its military deployment in Iraq as soon as practicable.
* Zogby poll http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1075; and
NOW, THEREFORE, the Township Committee of Maplewood NJ recognizes said petition as an important contribution to the quest for a just and fair conclusion to United States military involvement in Iraq and agrees to circulate this proclamation to the towns and cities of New Jersey and to our Governor and Senators and Congressional Representative and;
WHEREAS the Township Committee of Maplewood NJ recognizes the importance of ongoing efforts by local citizens to promote the goals of peace and security, and that one of those efforts is the holding of an annual Be About Peace Day in Maplewood and South Orange;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Township Committee of Maplewood NJ proclaims Saturday March 24, 2007 as Be About Peace Day in Maplewood NJ and will so inform the towns and cities of New Jersey, our Governor and Senators and Congressional Representatives.
Letter to Township Committee from Paul Schroeder and Rosemary Palmer
To the Maplewood Township Committee:
We are very pleased and grateful that the Maplewood Township Committee is considering a Proclamation that recognizes our work in co-authoring with South Mountain Peace Action the "Petition for a Responsible Withdrawal from Iraq," which was circulated and signed by more than 1,100 residents of Maplewood and South Orange this spring, and presented to Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez and Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Donald Payne, and also to Congressman John Murtha.
As you know, since Augie's death in August 2005, we have dedicated ourselves to finding an honorable end to the war in Iraq not only to avert similar tragedies for other families, but because we believe that continuation of the war is contrary to American values and national interests.
It is very gratifying to know that our work is being recognized by a Town where we have strong roots and many friends. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for this effort.
Paul Schroeder and Rosemary Palmer
Maplewood takes official stand, calling for pullout from Iraq
Thursday, January 18, 2007
BY PHILIP READ
Daniel Ellsberg, whose leak of the Pentagon Papers revealed the government had deceived the public about the Vietnam war, once found a receptive audience in Maplewood.
It's also the home of an annual "Be About Peace Day."
Now, Maplewood's governing body again has thrust itself into the forefront of the anti-war movement in New Jersey, adopting a resolution calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
"It's pretty easy to conclude that the war is a fraud based on a lie that weapons of mass destruc tion existed. In my mind, the war is illegal," Mayor Fred Profeta, an at torney, said yesterday of the township committee's 4-1 vote Tuesday night.
The committee's quick action surprised Paul Surovell, who, as chair of South Mountain Peace Action, was expecting only an official endorsement of his group's peace proclamation.
"It's a rare day when the governing body takes action that was more than was asked for by the local peace organization," Surovell said. "I was only anticipating a proclamation, which is not as forceful a document."
Yesterday, last-minute word changes debated before the resolution's adoption were still being drafted into a final document, which is to be delivered to New Jersey's U.S. senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, and President Bush.
The nonbinding resolution, which peace activists think might be the first in New Jersey, is largely symbolic but could have a ripple ef fect.
"As far as I know, it is in fact the first," said Madelyn Hoffman of New Jersey Peace Action, which has chapters stretching across the region north of New Brunswick. "This is something that I am sure will spur other towns to do the same."
At the Coalition for Peace Action, which covers the southern part of the state, the Rev. Bob Moore, director, said he hadn't heard of similar resolutions. "Not that I'm aware of," he said.
Vic De Luca, a Maplewood township committeeman, said the resolution is modeled after one adopted by the governing body of Bellingham, Wash., last fall.
That resolution, in October, cited 2,737 American soldiers killed and 20,687 wounded, as well as 100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq; it, too, cited the war's launching on a "false premise" and the United Nations charter's condemnation of a pre-emptive war against a sovereign nation as illegal.
On Feb. 18., 2003, Maplewood joined other New Jersey communities when it adopted a resolution calling on President Bush to "refrain from acts of war against Iraq" without the authorization of the United Nations Security Council. "If more towns had done that," De Luca said, "maybe we would not be where we are today."
On Tuesday night, only committeeman Ken Pettis voted against the latest resolution, but said he had personally signed a petition for a troop withdrawal. "I encourage anyone else to do so," he said. "I just don't feel that's what we were elected to do."
Yet Profeta said the war has had local implications. "This illegal war has resulted in taking a lot of money away from municipalities, which has had a direct impact on the people of Maplewood."
Committeeman David Huemer, who advanced the idea for a resolution for a troop pullout, described the administration's pursuit of an Iraq buildup as a "perverse" interpretation of the November elections.
"It's time to rebuild the pressure," he said.
Maplewood's right to speak
Friday, January 19, 2007
The Maplewood municipal committee is responsible for the suburban Essex County community's streets and public works, its police department, its parks and many other matters. U.S. foreign policy isn't one of them.
So the committee's resolution this week calling for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq has raised some eyebrows and prompted a small but lively debate among residents and outsiders.
Critics say that town officials have no business weighing in on national policy, that such votes are merely empty symbolism. We disagree.
Maplewood's vote was a proper expression of local senti ment on a serious issue, something that small towns have done since Colonial times in America.
Yes, such votes are symbolic -- but meaningfully symbolic. These resolutions demonstrate to national leaders that local, individual sentiment has risen to a level deserving of official notice and of formal transmis sion, whether to the county seat, the state capital or to Washington.
Maplewood's anti-war resolution will be delivered to New Jersey's U.S. senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Me nendez, and to President Bush. The community's governing body also spoke out four years ago, calling on Bush to avoid going to war with Iraq without the authorization of the United Nations Security Council.
Bush went to war anyway despite the objection of the Maplewood committee and of several hundred other local governments that went on record against a conflict. That doesn't mean the earlier resolutions were a waste of local time.
Politicians do take notice, just as they do of polls or letters and e-mails from voters. Municipal resolutions over the years have influenced the political calculus on issues ranging from the Patriot Act to federal regulations limiting the roads that can be used by hazardous waste haulers.
The Maplewood committee adopted its latest Iraq resolution by a 4-1 vote. The lone dissenter, committeeman Ken Pettis, noted he had signed a petition for troop withdrawal and encouraged others to do the same. He said he voted no on the township anti-war resolution because "I just don't feel that's what we were elected to do."
True enough, in general. But usually it takes an exceptional controversy to get a local council to chime in on national business. Iraq is one of those issues.
Agree or disagree on whether troops should come out of Iraq and how fast, but Maplewood's official voice is appropriate and welcome. Especially during the tenure of a president who thinks so poorly of official opposition that he criticizes Congress for considering the same action.
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