Brooklyn Peace Delegation "Disappointed" With Senators Clinton and Schumer

 
Peace advocates repeatedly emphasized the need to use the "power of the purse" to rein in a Chief Executive, who seemed increasingly reckless. A particular concern was the mounting tension with Iran. Would the two Senators support the Byrd amendment, requiring President Bush to seek Congressional authorization before attacking that country? The staff members would make no commitment. Brooklyn Parents for Peace|| The Occupation Project || Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Members of Brooklyn Parents for Peace who met with staffers from the Clinton and Schumer offices earlier this week, were dismayed by the unwillingness of the two Senators to challenge the White House on the war. Five members of the organization were part of a national Lobby Day, sponsored by United for Peace and Justice in Washington DC.

On Monday, January 29, over 1,000 concerned citizens from 48 states held meetings in Senate and House of Representatives offices to press their elected officials to act decisively against the war.

Brooklyn Parents for Peace, a local peace and social justice organization, also met with staff from the offices of Congressmembers Wiener, Fossella, Towns, and Clark. While staff members from Congressman Fossella's office claimed that the Bush war in Iraq was "succeeding," the others seemed open to new legislation that would curb the military presence in Iraq.

Most discouraging was the joint meeting conducted by staffers, who were working for Senators Schumer and Clinton. More than fifty people from across New York state participated, including military vets, union representatives, members of religious organizations, a group of school children and the 9-11 Families for a Peaceful Tomorrow.

While praising the willingness of Senators Clinton and Schumer to criticize the President's policy, many wondered what actions they were prepared to take to force an end to the war. Andrew Shapiro, Clinton's foreign policy aide, explained that the Senator would be introducing her own bill to cap the number of American soldiers in Iraq. However, she was not willing to support restrictions on funding, such as that contained in a bill introduced by Senator Ted Kennedy.

Peace advocates repeatedly emphasized the need to use the "power of the purse" to rein in a Chief Executive, who seemed increasingly reckless. A particular concern was the mounting tension with Iran. Would the two Senators support the Byrd amendment, requiring President Bush to seek Congressional authorization before attacking that country? The staff members would make no commitment.

Molly Nolan, Board member of Brooklyn Parents for Peace, attended the session and was “disheartened by the absence of courage and seriousness displayed by the NY Senators.”

“We are facing a national emergency," Nolan pointed out, and "our two Senators seemed oblivious to the need for effective action." Noting that on the campaign trail, Senator Clinton was insisting that the President end the war, Nolan emphasized that "President Bush is not going to end the war. The real question is whether Senator Clinton will act responsibly to stop it. Words are not enough."

Schumer's staff assured the delegation that he was on the same page as Clinton and opposed escalation, but was non-committal about signing any bills that would force a change in policy.

In departing the meeting, members of Brooklyn Parents for Peace reiterated their determination to press the two Senators to represent the "vast majority of New Yorkers, who want a rapid end to the war."

For photos please see:
 http://dianelent.com/27janlobby.htm

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