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VIEWS AND VOICES
Democrats leave us out in the cold

May 27, 2005 | Page 8

IF WE think that the Democrats think of us at all (I grant you that they think about us, to borrow a line from All About Eve), then we deserve what we get.

A little from my own experience: Leading up to the war resolution vote in 2002, Western Massachusetts activists tried in vain--many times--to get Sen. John Kerry to meet with them about Iraq. Traprock Peace Center organized hundreds of faxes to Kerry, urging him to include Scott Ritter as a witness about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. No response.

Who did Congress hear as a witness? Not Ritter, who had led inspection teams in Iraq well into 1998. Ritter was speaking publicly and making the point that there were no WMDs, that the case for war was a big lie and that the administration was going to war no matter what. Rather, Congress heard from David Kay, a friendly witness to the administration who hadn't led an inspection team since 1992.

We worked with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and many organizations--the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, Peace Action and others--on Lobby Day to bring the truth to members of Congress. The citizen lobbyists visited hundreds of senators and representatives.

The lobby packet had as its centerpiece "The Counter-Dossier" by Labour Against the War (Glen Rangwala and Alan Simpson, a British Labour Party MP) and "Counter-Dossier II" by Rangwala (Traprock published these as booklets in the U.S.). Kerry got all these materials, plus War on Iraq by William Rivers Pitt, and Hans von Sponeck's "Eight Questions." If it were not so tragic, it would be amusing that Kerry later claimed he had been "misled" by the administration.

The citizen presentations (most, if not all, of which happened with Congressional aides, as our "elected representatives" had other pressing business) and literature blew apart the fraud that was being committed against the American people and the world.

Democrats are not stupid. They knew the truth--they did not want to hear it publicly. They did not want to be accountable to the truth (Some, though hardly enough to make a difference, did take principled stands).

On the day of the vote, Kerry locked his office in Springfield, Mass. His constituents were left outside, literally knocking on the door.

Western Massachusetts activists continued to ask him to come and speak on the war. He did, when it was public knowledge that most area activists had already committed to a regional conference in another part of the state. He refused to change the date. Is there a pattern here?
Charles Jenks, Deerfield, Mass.

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