The following is a series of letters that I wrote to the city council regarding the troops home resolution that was put forth by the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center. I intended to give the council something to think about. Apparently 6 of 7 were either unwilling or unable to think.
Regarding anti-US protestors push for resolution to bring troops home from Iraq
I just read an opinion letter in the Herald today that said your council will be presented with a petition and resolution for bringing our troops out of Iraq.
This is a portion of a letter:
To this end, a Troops Home resolution is being presented for approval by the Bellingham City Council, which would urge our federal representatives to begin an orderly troop withdrawal now, take care of our vets when they return, and leave behind no permanent bases. Please read the resolution at whatcompjc.org or at the Peace and Justice Center, 1226 Cornwall Ave., sign the petition of support, and contact your council member to let him/her know that you support this resolution. We have the power to end this war. Eileen Herring Birch Bay
First let me say that I am from Ferndale and not Bellingham, but the writer of the letter appears to be from Birch Bay so I guess my opinion about the proposed COB resolution is as valid as hers. As Bellingham is on national maps and Ferndale & Birch Bay are not then I guess at a national level, any COB resolution would tend to speak for us also.
I have read the proposed resolution and let me say that there are too many areas of contention for me to count.
Our nation is at war. Agree with it or not, our military is overseas fighting. Our elected President, our Commander in Chief, is carrying out a military operation that he and our other elected officials deemed the best course of action for our nation. I do not believe that the war in Iraq is in any way under the he authority of the Bellingham City Council and therefore a resolution would just be a token message and nothing else. The message I read is one of undermining the authority of our government.
At its heart, this resolution labels its supporters as traitors. If this small group wants this label, then let them stand alone. They do not stand with me and I don’t stand with them. They don’t speak for me and I don’t think they speak for this region.
I urge you to reject any form of this petition or proposed resolution in its entirety.
Addition to email sent 9-14-06
1. No matter how many resolutions and sign waving protest there are, the President must get up every morning and do the job for which he was hired. And similarly, no matter how many people are in the room supporting this proposal, the council still has an obligation to do the job for which they were hired.
2. I do not believe that adopting resolutions regarding national foreign policy is in the job description of the council.
3. Even if it were, I believe that neither national foreign policy, nor global military strategy is in any council members areas of expertise.
4. Validity of the proposal arguments: I don’t think that the council drafted this resolution but if you sign your name then the words become yours. Please consider the following:
1. I too want the troops out of Iraq; I too want to see them come home; I too hate to see suffering; I too want peace around the world.
2. But, it is not human nature to follow all laws. We have police and other law enforcement. On the global level there is the UN among others.
3. The UN has made their own resolutions regarding the conditions in Iraq. I think more than 20 of them in the last couple of decades. We liberated Kuwait from Iraq as a result of a UN resolution.
4. We are now in the Middle East fighting to enforce UN resolutions aimed at making the whole world a more peaceful place. There is risk, and people suffer physically, emotionally, financially and spiritually. We agreed to the risk and potential loss when we signed on with the UN mission.
5. Our President and Congress agreed to commit our nations resources when they approved
i. Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq
ii. Public Law 105-235, 105th Congress – Joint Resolution
iii. Public Law 102-1. Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution
6. Shall I assume that all council members have reviewed pertinent UN resolutions, the US Joint Resolution, and both Public Laws?
7. I should hope you have read and understand them, including supporting documents before you make any decisions regarding a city resolution against them.
4. Rather than signing this proposal, support our troops by:
1. Not interfering with efforts of our President and Congress to take the actions they feel are best for our nation. Our military is there to do a job. When the job is done the troops can come home.
2. Praising returning veterans and their families for their valuable sacrifices.
3. Providing injured veterans and their families with an excellent local health care facility. They deserve it.
5. So if the council believes that they are more qualified to handle national and global military decisions, than the President, Congress and the United Nations, then let me say that I am impressed. And, by all means approve this resolution.
6. Also remember an apt quote by Jesus Christ, or Abe Lincoln, you pick.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand”
Letter to the Herald regarding troops home now.
FYI. Here is a letter I fired off to the Herald today for the opinion section as it is my personal opinion.
Start of Letter:
As the Bellingham City Council ponders a proposed Troops Home Resolution I think we as local citizens should ponder how such a resolution came into existence.
Two things stood out amongst all the heartfelt testimonies I heard at the council’s forum the other night. They were that local victim’s families were the impetus for the resolution and that the group agonized over every word of the resolution as they wrote it.
Ponder this: http://www.citiesforprogress.org Cities for Progress has toolkits for proposing this same resolution to city councils. Kits include how to start the process, very familiar looking sample resolutions, sample letters to the editors, how to involve media and other groups, techniques for getting resolution in front of the council and how to “plan actions to target the member” when they are not in favor. Ponder also that the parent group of Cities for Progress is http://www.tni.org/ Transnational Institute. They are an international activist organization funded by Samuel Rubin Foundation that is dedicated to communism.
So is the Council really speaking for Bellingham and the United States by voting for this resolution? Call and/or write the council and urge them to vote no on this resolution. firstname.lastname@example.org (360)676-6970
End of Letter
An additional link between the organizations is the Institute for Policy Studies http://www.ips-dc.org/. But I only had 200 words with the Herald. You can dig around for all the connections if you want. My point is that the council was targeted with an external agenda, not a ground swell within Bellingham.
Read before you vote on “Troops Home Now” resolution
And maybe after you read it you could print a nice copy and hang it on your wall
“Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the constitution which at any time exists till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.”
September 17, 1796
As a founding father and also president, George Washington had a very good understanding of what was needed in our nation.
You have a vote in a little over a week which sends a message to our nation that Bellingham does not respect the authority of our government, does not hold sacred its laws nor process of establishing them, and does not feel obligated to obey them.
Don’t sign the Resolution against America
You may be thinking of signing the Troops Home Now resolution which says:
“WHEREAS, this war was based on the false premise that Iraq had nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction, and that, according to the United Nations Charter, a pre-emptive war against a sovereign nation is illegal; and,”
Read the attached document.
Check out this video Saddam Hussein – Defying the World from the WCLS. Watch it to see Saddam flaunting nuclear triggering devices in front of reporters, streets littered with the bodies of Kurds massacred with nerve agents, Iraqi soldiers in special gear deploying chemical weapons against Iranian forces.
Hmmm? There seems to be some question as to the existence of WMD. Are you so sure you should commit yourself and the City of Bellingham to this resolution?
Please also read this before you vote on troops home resolution
WHEREAS, 70% of Iraqis favor setting a timeline for U.S. withdrawal, half within six months, stating that it is offensive for their country to be occupied, with U.S. forces attracting more attacks and making violence worse and,
Program on International Policies, University of Maryland (January 31, 2006)
Again, have you read the poll?
* Would it surprise you to know that that it also says that in spite of the hardships they have suffered since the the US/British invasion 91% of Kurds and 98% of Shia Arabs still think that ousting Saddam was worth it.
* Would it surprise you to know that it also says 76% of Kurds and 84 % of Shia Arabs feel that Iraq today is generally headed in the right direction?
* Would it surprise you to know that it also says 50% of Kurds want us to only reduce our forces as the security situation improves?
* Would it surprise you to know that it also says 73% of Kurds and 55% of Shia Arabs and 58% of Sunni Arabs feel that even 6 months from now, Iraqi security forces will still need the help of military forces from other countries
Is it sound research to look at only one item from a 16 page report? Is it sound judgment for the council to act on only one item from a 16 page report without proper analysis of the whole report?
And again, is the City Council qualified make this type of decision?
Read this and don’t approve the resolution.
WHEREAS, a family in Whatcom County has suffered the tremendous loss of their son, Corporal Jonathan Santos, while many other mothers and fathers live in daily fear for the safety of their children who are serving in Iraq; and,
I am sorry for the loss of her son and the daily fear that these other mothers feel. I also have sons in Whatcom county. They are special to me, but they are only 2 of many other young sons of Whatcom county. I am entrusting the lives of my sons to the informed decisions our Commander in Chief. He has the tough job of making decisions for all of our nations children. We are a nation of millions and he must make decisions that will no doubt lead to the loss of life, but not millions. He can’t make our nations policy based on 1 or even 100 mothers.
I don’t believe that you should sign this resolution and set a tone, if not a policy, that puts the current needs of Bellingham ahead of the future needs of our nation.
I think you’d be committing treason. Vote NO on troops home resolution
The “Troops Home Now” resolution is not a grassroots effort. This resolution is funded by and promoted by organizations with financial and political ties outside the U.S. The local promoters of this resolution are encouraging citizens and council members to act outside proper legislative system to disrupt the actions of our nation during a time of war. These actions are a willful violation of their allegiance to our country and become acts of treason by the fact that our nation is at war. Willfully promoting or assisting in these actions would then also be treasonous. I believe local media such as KGMI’s Liberal Outpost show and the Bellingham Herald’s editorial board have already crossed the line. Does the Bellingham City Council wish to take that step also?
Don’t sign the resolution. It is not the will of the people.
BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of Bellingham, on behalf of the citizens of Bellingham, shall urge the United States Congress to immediately commence an orderly and rapid withdrawal of all military personnel from Iraq now; and,
This group cites only portions of polls to bolster their point. Although I think this practice can be divisive I thought I would try it here to highlight my position. Here is another portion of a poll often quoted by those in support of this resolution.
Here are four different plans the U.S. could follow in dealing with the war in Iraq. Which ONE do you prefer?
Withdraw in 12 months’ time
Withdraw, take as many years as needed
Send more troops
2006 Mar 10-12
It looks like 4 of 5 people polled don’t support immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Should you? This resolution is brought to you by a minority faction asking you to sign it as though it is the will of the majority. Is it?
Don’t sign the resolution. It is not the will of the people.
Read Bellingham Heralds Our view from 10/8/06 and then vote NO on the Troops Home Now resolution.
Following is from the Bellingham Herald 10/8/06
> OUR VIEW
> City Council should say no to Troops Home bid
> The Bellingham City Council should reject a resolution demanding Congress do something to immediately bring U.S. troops home from Iraq.
> We understand the sentiment behind the resolution – the growing frustration by many people in our community with what has happened in Iraq since U.S. troops invaded that country in 2003 and overthrew dictator Saddam Hussein. The war in Iraq has cost billions of dollars, and thousands and thousands of lives. But withdrawing all U.S. troops immediately would be a fundamental abandonment of our moral responsibilities to the people of Iraq following our invasion.
> We believe the City Council would do better to follow the lead of people in Congress who understand that obligation and are pushing for a more logical and temperate end to the U.S. occupation.
> RESOLUTION’S POINTS DEBATABLE
> The Troops Home resolution the city is considering was offered up by members of the well-organized and active Whatcom Peace and Justice Center.
> The resolution makes strong political statements, some of which are clearly arguable. For example, among the “Whereas” statements the city would be agreeing to is one that states “environmental damage to Iraq has been catastrophic, the destruction of Baghdad and Fallujah and the use of uranium-hardened bomb shells being prime examples.”
> Another “Whereas” states: “this war was based on the false premise that Iraq had nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction, and that, according to the United Nations Charter, a pre-emptive war against a sovereign nation is illegal.”
> We know that many people in our progressive, anti-war community consider the war illegal. But the legality of the war is certainly not a settled point, and it’s not clear any court would agree with them, nor with the City Council should it adopt this as part of its resolution.
> A third “Whereas” states: “the number of documented Iraqi civilian deaths exceeds 100,000, with increasing incidents of torture and atrocities such as those at Abu Ghraib, Haditha and Mahmoudiya.” Is there truly evidence of “increasing incidents” of torture and atrocities at the hands of the United States?
> The resolution says that the city of Bellingham urges a “planned, orderly and rapid withdrawal of military personnel from Iraq now,” and resolves that the U.S. should not enter an agreement that would lead to permanent U.S. bases in the country, that the U.S. “assist with Iraqi reparations,” and that money being spent on the war be redirected to help veterans and “provide health care, housing and education for those citizens of our own country who are less fortunate and most vulnerable.”
> The resolution is to be sent to Gov. Chris Gregoire, all of the Washington state congressional delegation and the president.
> THE COUNCIL’S PLACE
> Some citizens have argued that the City Council has no place passing such a resolution.
> But we believe council members have the ability to pass any kind of resolution they want, understanding, we’re sure, that it will likely have little effect on what happens in Washington, D.C., and Iraq.
> We would caution council members, though, that when they make demands of our federal representatives and the president, they are representing all of Bellingham’s citizens. This is not the same as making decisions on local issues, where we want and expect our City Council to provide leadership and make tough decisions – some of which are bound to upset some citizens. If council members pass this resolution they are telling people throughout our nation and the world that the people of Bellingham believe the United States should immediately withdraw its troops from Iraq.
> We don’t believe the majority of Bellingham’s citizens feel that way.
> In addition, the statement that money being spent on the war now should be spent providing “health care, housing and education” for less fortunate Americans is a political statement clearly not in line with all of the citizens’ priorities for government.
> A MORAL OBLIGATION
> The biggest point of the resolution is that the City Council demand that the troops be brought home “now.”
> We urge the City Council to reject such a shortsighted and morally questionable demand.
> Throughout the current campaign season our editorial board has met with many elected officials and candidates for elected offices, including U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen and U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell.
> Larsen and Cantwell, both Democrats, have been to Iraq since the war. Larsen has visited several times. Both are very realistic about the death and destruction that is currently an everyday occurrence in that country. But neither of them favors an immediate removal of the troops.
> Why? Because they know it would be wrong for the United States to invade a country, depose its dictator, and then leave behind people who have no stable government, no rule of law, and who are on the brink of a civil war. Whether or not you agree with the invasion in the first place, the disorder now in Iraq was of U.S. making and it would be wrong to leave the people there in chaos – still without running water and electricity in many parts of the country – created by our own hands.
> Said Larsen: “The only glue holding that country together is the U.S. military and I believe we have the responsibility now to try and get things right.
> “The solutions in Iraq don’t fit on bumper stickers.”
> Cantwell is a solid Democrat and no fan of the Bush administration. She votes against Republican-backed plans much of the time. She is highly critical of how the administration is currently handling Iraq and can outline many detailed changes she thinks need to be made to push Iraq toward a stable future.
> Yet she too refuses to believe that abandoning Iraqis is the right solution to the problems our troops, and Iraqi citizens, currently face.
> “To me it’s really important for us to do our job,” she said. “We need to focus on the things that will stabilize Iraq … on the pragmatic things that will help us get the job done sooner.”
> COUNCIL SHOULD VOTE NO
> We understand and recognize the passion of our community’s organized and vocal anti-war community. We especially want to honor those voices coming from citizens who lost family members in Iraq and now have become convinced that leaving Iraq is the best option. We are glad that the City Council took the time to listen to them.
> But even if you believe going to war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do, two wrongs don’t make a right. The situation in Iraq today is messy and painful. Too many people are dying, Iraqis and Americans. Too many are injured and maimed. But bringing U.S. troops home tomorrow will not clean up the mess. And the Bellingham City Council shouldn’t go on record supporting the idea.
Thank you & remember to vote no on the troops home resolution
Thanks for the time you’ve taken to read my emails and any attachments. I hope they have given you something to think about in addition to what the promoters of this resolution have provided you.
Concerning your passing of the troops home resolution
Let me say again, you do not have the right, and you are not the elected official in this matter. The minority factions you are supporting with this resolution were heard, the legislators just didn’t agree with them. They are the part of our government that was charged by our voters to understand and speak to our national government on these matters.
What are people to think when their city officials refuse to support our nation by following the rules of our type of government?
I think that council members who voted for this resolution are not fit for their job.
Question regarding what is public information?
I sent, and received acknowledgments for, several emails regarding the troops home resolution during the period of time between 9-26-06 to 10-9-06. Why are none of these present in the packets for the 10-9-06 meeting, especially in light of more public comment regarding the proposed resolution being heard at that meeting. Are email comments not part of the public record whereas the audio and video comments are available on the web for public viewing?
Just to clarify. This is not a comment. It is a question.
10-12-06 reply to email sent also on 10-12-06
Re: Question regarding what is public information?
It is not the normal practice to include public comments in the packet
except for Public Hearings. Public Hearings are a formal and well
publicized process. There is a clear invitation made in a formal Public
Hearing Notice for the public to provide written comment for this meeting
together with the information regarding the instructions and deadlines for
having the comments included in the published material. Both sides, pro and
con have a level playing field for fairness.
Additionally, I would not want to chill public comment directly to Council
by publishing letters that people did not know ahead of time would be
printed and distributed to others.
I hope this answers your question. City Council appreciate those who take
the time to voice what is important to them. Thank you very much.
J. Lynne Walker
210 Lottie Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
(360) 738-7418 Fax
Re: Question regarding what is public information?