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   Antiwar Open Letter Urges Us To Consider Civil Disobedience


Antiwar Open Letter Urges Us To Consider Civil Disobedience

Editor's note: In the last paragraph of his eloquent letter, below, Bill Thomson of Ann Arbor, MI, urges all of us to consider civil disobedience to stop the madness now underway as the Bush Administration seeks to pass a War Resolution before the congress adjourns. During the coming week, elected representatives will be making accommodations with the Bush administration that will determine whether or not they vote in favor of the War Resolution. As a result, this is our last week to defeat the resolution. Please consider planning to walk into district offices of your Senators and Representatives, on Monday and Tuesday, to politely ask that the member publicly declare that he or she will vote against the war resolution. Refuse to leave until you receive that public statement. Bill Thomson's letter follows:

Dear Friends,

Wednesday the congressional "leadership" signalled a complete capitulation to the administration's war-mongering, indicating that there would be a congressional resolution of support before adjournment.

We cannot depend on the UN to prevent this war. France and Russia, who have significant economic interests in Iraq, and in the case of Russia a desire for a similar war against the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, are already indicating that they will go to the highest bidder. And in the case of bidding, nobody outdoes the United States. It is extremely likely that the present administration will purchase an appropriate Security Council resolution, as it did in 1990.

It is imperative that you call the President and your members of the House and Senate EVERY DAY, using talking points that may be found on and other websites. For the first talking point you might mention Rumsfeld's recent quote of Churchill that "Sometimes the truth is so precious it must be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies." (Actually, Churchill's actual quote was "Once you tell a lie, you need to create a whole bodyguard of lies to protect it".--note the difference!!) To those of us old enough to remember Lyndon Johnson and his continuous lying about Vietnam, including the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, this quote is absolutely chilling.

The President can be reached at Email, ph. 202-456-1111, and your members of Congress may be found in the "government" section of your local phone book. You can also call the Capital switchboard toll-free: 1-800-839-5276 (or toll 202-224-3121) and ask to be connected to your member of Congress.

Also, contact the so-called "leadership":

Sen. Tom Daschle Email, ph. 202-224-2321
Sen. Trent Lott Email, ph. 202-224-6253
Rep. Richard Gephardt Email, ph. 202-225-2671
Rep. Dennis Hastert Email, ph. 202-225-2976
The idea will be to express our opinions and to so tie up their phones that it interferes with their work. Apparently the White House comment line was so bombarded yesterday that it was extraordinarily difficult to get through. Call several times each day if possible. It is time to put our beliefs into action.

There are many members of the House and Senate that oppose this war, but they must at this time be feeling completely undercut by those they picked as their leaders. It is critical that we provide them support, and it is critical that we pressure members who are in favor of war.

We all need to be meeting locally in the next day or two and planning significant civil disobedience (including arrests) so as to put a stop to this madness. The interruption of the Rumsfeld hearing Wednesday (with smiles of condescension all around) by three unidentified women provides an inspiring model. There is little time to organize national actions; our best hope at this point is to create sufficient local opposition to make our voice heard. I am guided by Gandhi's comment that "Nonviolence, when it becomes active, travels with extraordinary velocity, and then it becomes a miracle.'

We need a miracle, and we can achieve one.

Bill Thomson    
Ann Arbor, MI   

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This story was published on September 22, 2002.
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