Sen. Cantwell explains her position Iraq war in Monday meeting with us April 10, 2006

[ED: Front paged, NM. Update: 6/25/07: Also see: Cantwell Staff Meet with Southend Neighbors for Peace & Justice on Iraq.]

Reporting my perceptions of Sen. Cantwell's explanation of her position on Iraq at scheduled meeting held with her Monday, April 10, 2006.

There were 8 representatives from different organizations and interest groups; each one was there to address Sen. Cantwell's position on Iraq.  I was invited into this meeting to represent Military Families Speak Out - Washington state chapter.  It took a little more than 6 months of persistence, planning and perseverance for this collective to obtain this meeting.  I was invited 2 days before the actual meeting and not part of the 6 months of planning meetings in obtaining the meeting.

 I feel a strong need to express gratitude to the collective for making this opportunity to represent one element of actual stakeholders in this war policy (military families of deployed loved ones who are speaking out)available to me, to present representing Military Families Speak Out.  

Bios of each of the eight representatives was sent to Sen. Cantwell prior to the meeting to help cut down lengthy background introductions at the meeting. This permitted each of us to go around the table with brevity in introduction background and move right to the points.  Sen. Cantwell graciously listened to each person with little in the way of interrupting questions.  

My introduction included an explanation of the national organization Military Families Speak Out as military families with deployed loved ones in Iraq/Afghanistan.  The dispropotionate weight of the war falls on the shoulders of the troops and their families.  I explained the uniqueness of our organization in that within the military culture, it is not typical for the troops or military families to speak in what could be construed as disrespect for the Commander-in-Chief.  There are 3,000 members of MFSO, across the nation, and 60 members in Washington state...membership requirements; military family with loved ones deployed in Iraq/Afghanistan.  We have two returning Iraq veterans in our family facing multiple deployments to Iraq. I explained that I actually did not know her position on war in Iraq, and in the absence of a clear articulation from her, assume she is in agreement with the 'stay the course' line of the Bush administation.  She had a visual expression of discomfort, and to her credit, in keeping with letting each of us have out say, she did not interrupt.

As the introductions and presentations finished, the last presenter, David Edelman, ended our round table of concerns expressed by pointing out Sen. Kerry's new position plan on Iraq war and asked Sen. Cantwell if she agreed with Sen. Kerry's plan.  This was to facilitate opening the discussion for Sen. Cantwell to give explanation of her views and position.

Sen. Cantwell said she agreed with parts of Sen. Kerry's plan, but not in entirety, and had some concerns that if we issue the May 16 deadline and the Iraqi  sovereign government is unable to comply, what do we actually do at that point?  

Sen. Cantwell then spoke to some of our concerns and while we did not bring up the issue of her vote for the war, she did, repeatedly.  Our intent at this meeting was to get clarification on her current position on the Iraq war rather than review the history of how we got there or her vote.  However,  as she explained her position, it became apparant that her own sense of her vote factors heavily into her current position on the war.  She conveyed that since she did vote for the war, she felt a responsibility to that vote and therefore to a responsible plan for stability in Iraq.  

Discussion then ensued on Iraq stability and security (readiness of Iraqi-trained security forces).  She explained her sense of it is based on her own visit to Iraq, and discussion with Iraqis.  (I'm fuzzy here, as she mentioned an Iraqi mayor she talked to and I am unclear on when her last visit to Iraq was, if she visited more than once..it has bearing on the current accuracy of her perception)  At this point in the discussion, the Iraqi-American citizen who was among the eight representing various interests, addressed two things; the ability and capability of Iraqis who are already trained, perhaps not to an American standard, but nonetheless trained to Iraqi standards; yet he did also express concern for what happens come May 16 and US troops are withdrawn.

It was pointed out to her that media reports of three ready trained Iraqi battalions was followed by media reports of that being down now to one ready trained Iraqi battalion.  She seemed to dismiss that as a military language misunderstanding as to what ready-trained means and referenced the 'militia' in Iraq as her understanding of the problem.  My sense is that she has an understanding based on souces she feels comfortable with that is more in line with her own sense of how the progression should go due to her sense of responsibility to her vote.  My suggestion is a much fuller dialogue needs to happen as those of us close to the situation have a different understanding.  I'm not convinced that what Sen. Cantwell understands as accurate in fact reflects the accuracy or fullness of the situation in Iraq now and with regard to what is being required of our US troops.    

Sen. Cantwell explained that she was a proponent of bringing in other Muslim forces per the invitations of other Muslim countries, ie Pakistan.  She explained she was in favor of United Nations and International Community providing oversight as was done in Bosnia/Kosovo with intervention to separate the factions.  She indicated this was her wish, but not shared by the Administration, and that she had early on gone on record with this suggestion.

As the gist of the discussion seemed to be about stability/security and ability of Iraqi forces to take care of their own security, I felt compelled to interrupt and ask her directly how long it takes to train one of our kids fresh out of high school to send to Iraq.  She said she did not know.  I cited it takes 6 weeks to three months and we've been already in Iraq 3 years.  (my point is that if we expect this from our own young, is it reasonable to expect less from Iraqi security forces?)  I also reminded her the Commander-in-Chief has said it would be a future President who would deal with Iraq. It seemed to me that her reaction reflected she did not seem to know what I was referencing.   I asked, rhetorically, if she knew how it felt to hear we could expect another three years of our troops being deployed in Iraq?  While I wasn't expecting an actual response, to her credit, she actually answered, I honestly, I think, in that she said no she did not know how it feels.

She seemed surprised that the group seemed unaware she had a position on the war in that she signed onto the Werner Amendment which addresses transition with benchmarks.  She had her staff give us copies of the document.  The discussion then moved to transition, more talk of security and stabilization and she again addressed her responsibility to her vote.  (I may have the sequencing not in correct order that it occurred here).  

She seemed focused on 'transition' as her position.  In fairness, I was trying to understand what transition means to her and indicated I did want to hear what she had to say.  As near as I can tell, it seems her belief is transition means some kind of assurance that Iraqi security forces can responsibly secure Iraq.  As I was struggling to assimilate her expressed thoughts on transition, earnestly wanting to understand her thinking, David pointed out that if it is to be transition in 2006, we are already well into April 2006 and nothing of progress reports or benchmarks in that transition plan are yet in place.  

To her credit, she did ask of us to state what we wanted if we didn't agree with her position. This  seemed to me to be a way to open further discussion, but given the time constraints, and she knew the time constraints, it also seemed a way to let the conversation drift, having the group problem solve the solution to Iraq, while affording her leeway in not having to expand on her own thinking on her position.  

  I'm not sure she actually believes as much as used for leverage in the discussion, but she did indicate that bringing the troops home now -- by tomorrow -- was not realistic.  The operative word 'now' and her sharing her thinking that now means tomorrow led me to point out to her (and others concurred) that we know 'now' does not mean tomorrow, we know it takes time to pull our troops out as it took time to put them in.  Whether she actually believes the literality of the term 'now', I'm not sure but it gives me grave concerns that her understanding of military operations may be lacking and that is a very grave concern to me.

She began to then address her work with policy on energy to reduce reliance on oil, which she seemed to view as connected to Iraq war and part of her position for resolution for Iraq war.  We did not develop that discussion with her and brought it back to the immediacey of the Iraq war now.  About this time the allotted meeting time was winding down, and we needed to move to a wrap-up in asking her to get together with Senator Murray to hold open forum meetings for public dialogue on war in Iraq.  I'm fuzzy here, but Sen. Cantwell did not disagree to that and I'm not sure that in not disagreeing it then implies she is agreeing to hold open forums.

Sprinkled throughout the discussions were some intense views, passionate expressions, and there were many statements by the representatives at the meeting that made an impact on me, but I am hard-pressed to remember well enough to quote who said what when.  Others in the meeting took notes, and I hope something from those notes will be made public.  I remember there was discussion with Sen. Cantwell, that this meeting was on record and she did not disagree with that.      When Sen. Cantwell left the meeting, her Chief of Staff, Kurt Beckett, remained behind for a short while as business cards and contacts were exchanged.  I did ask him if her office would be issuing a statement, report, press release within the next week.  He responded that he personally would be willing to do so tomorrow, but....

I would want it known that Sen. Cantwell did indicate a willingness to have referred for case-work anomalies that come up with deployed troops.  She indicated this as reaction when I was explaining how 'stop loss' worked for the 2 Iraq veterans in my family (son-in-law and father to three of my grandchildren and a nephew with two children).  Both served extended (the first of the stop-loss) deployments in Iraq; March 2003 - July 2004.  They were home with their families for a few short months, then under Stop Loss orders by Jan 2005. Both were required to make re-enlist decisions in March 2005 and being already under Stop Loss orders, that meant their limited choices were to not re-enlist and be stop-loss deployed to Iraq anyway without re-enlist bonus; or re-enlist and redeploy to Iraq with re-enlist bonus.  Either way the choice was deployment to Iraq.  Thus the voluntary re-enlist gives the appearance of voluntary but it is just another way for the military to exercise pressure on the troops in involuntary retention.

Sen. Cantwell indicated I could contact her staff for help to explore this situation.  I wasn't there looking for help for that situation which has come and gone already as much as pointing out to her some information she did not seem to know.  I also felt her response was a way to dismiss the larger issue of Iraq as I had been clear in my opening statements I was representing 60 other military families in WA in our chapter of MFSO, some who have loved ones on second and third deployments.  I did explain to her again that I was there not just for the two Iraq veterans in our family, but on behalf of 60 other military families in WA who are members of Military Families Speak Out.

However, I also concurred that I do know that Sen. Cantwell was instrumental in helping one of those families with the situation with their Iraq veteran, so yes, I know her office can be helpful in some individual situations.  While that speaks well of her advocacy in case by case basis, it does not, however, bring us closer to getting the troops home if she maintains her position on Iraq war.

Footnote; see press release Military Families to Hold Press Conference Outside of Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Kerry Reception

 our MFSO - WA chapter planned a silent vigil to be held at Sen. Cantwell fundraiser with Sen. Kerry and his wife as her guests Tuesday, April 11, 2006.  That was already in the works before I received invitation to represent MFSO at this Monday meeting with Sen. Cantwell.  On Tuesday I received phone call from Sen. Cantwell's Chief of Staff, Kurt Beckett, with a concern about what action MFSO was planning.      After I explained the action to him, he seemed relieved as was concerned our action was a planned disruption at her fundraiser (apparantly there was disruption at her fundraiser at Garfeild school when Sen. Obama was a guest).  I reminded him these would be military families from Washington, with deployed loved ones, our message is our message and woulbe be a visible message 'bring the troops home' and that our conduct in speaking out as military families is one of dignity not unlike the dignity of our deployed troops.    

 I would wrap this up by sharing my inconclusive conclusion based on this meeting.  I have deep concerns that Sen. Cantwell's current position seems in her mind to be tied to her vote for the war.  What was history in the vote of Congress more than 3 years ago, and while that vote may be very important to Sen. Cantwell, what I need is for her to be in the 'present' with regard to the current situation in Iraq and feel the freedom to adjust her position accordingly, state it publicly and if there is backlash to her electability in the upcoming re-election, that is a secondary concern to sacrificing more of our young in what this Commander-in-Chief has called the 'long war' in Iraq - Middle East.   I have immediate concern that the information on which she is forming her position is, in fact, part of the picture of conditions in Iraq, but there seems to me to be other parts of the picture in which she does not seem to have awareness.  Or if she does, she did not express or acknowledge it at our meeting.  

I would like to hope that as a result of this meeting, Sen. Cantwell would be open to further dialogue, public forum discussion on Iraq war.  I would like to believe that she believes she is playing it politically smart but unfortunately, and as I said to her, this is life and death for us every day.  I would like to hope that Sen. Cantwell is receptive to shifting her position with more and perhaps more accurate information on conditions in Iraq put into her lap.  

Lastly, Andrew of NPI blog ,  has enthusiastically made a report of Sen. Cantwell's statement at the fundraiser event last night, it implies Sen. Cantwell does have a position on the Iraq war and has shifted her position and all is well now for those who've had concerns about her position on Iraq.  I'm not ready to buy that yet, after this Monday meeting, but I'm willing to be hopeful.  I'm still waiting for firsthand reports from the members of Military Families Speak Out who were in attendance inside at that fundraiser.  There were at least three of our members who purchased tickets, and one returning Iraq veteran who purchased a ticket. Early reports from people who were also there are not nearly as optimistic about what Senator Cantwell said as Andrew has reported.

One member was able to convey her concern about her deployed son in Iraq to Senator Kerry.  Another member was able to convey her concern about her deployed brother in Afghanistan to Sen. Cantwell without criticism, and as a constituent who voted for her, and asked her to support Kerry and Murtha plans.  When Sen. Kerry stepped outside   before the fundraiser began, he was introduced to Joe Colgan and they chatted briefly.  Joe Colgan of Kent, WA son Lt Benjamin Colgan was killed in Iraq in 2003 and Joe is himself a veteran.  Joe has spoken out publicly of his personal experience and I recently co-presented with Joe in Tacoma rally in March (third anniversary Iraq war event).

There was press (all three tv news stations) at the fundraiser event last night, and several of our members of MFSO along with Joe Colgan were  interviewed.  I haven't seen that coverage yet.  Not to go on and on as I most certainly have done, but I am taking exception to Andrew's reporting as a finality of Sen. Cantwell's statement and/or intent last night. Early reports I am receiving indicate while she did say transition and 2006, their reports are more guarded than Andrew's report.


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Thanks for writing this; it's a very reasoned look at a real conversation (we do enough griping about perceived views or putting words in Maria's mouth around here, it's nice to hear from someone who actually spoke to her and listened to her).  Just a couple observations:

I wouldn't read her silence on the public forum to be agreement to hold such a thing; I'd be shocked if she did.  I'd read it more as choosing to not say yea or nay and leaving her options open.  

As far as the literality of "now", I don't think it shows a lack of understanding of military strategy so much as not being clear what activists mean when they say "now".  YOU know that you understand now is an objective thing in relation to pullout; all she knows is that she's got people yelling "troops out now" at her wherever she goes.  So I'd think she was making an (incorrect) assumption about YOUR understanding of military strategy.  

Finally, Andrew is a bit of a cheerleader who sees Democrats as always good, so his reports are always shaded a bit towards the overly optimistic.  I think you're closer to the truth; she does have a stance on Iraq, but she isn't leaning towards that stance involving an immediate drawdown as some of us would prefer.  The change is not so much that she "suddenly" has a position on Iraq, as that she's beginning to talk about it publicly.  

Thanks again for the great report, Lietta!

Switzerblog'll knock you out!

by switzerblog on Wed Apr 12, 2006 at 12:47:24 PM PST

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Here is my synopsis:

I've been trying to figure out how I can write about the meeting that ten of us had with Sen. Cantwell on April 10th. I don't want to quote anyone without his or her permission. But because the meeting was "on the record," I feel I have a right to summarize what took place there. And I don't need anyone's permission to quote myself.

So the diary I'm writing here is necessarily subjective and skewed. I'm counting on Lietta Ruger to correct and amplify my impressions of the meeting. Other accounts and follow-up statements may come from other people at a later date. You can take the following for what it's worth.

Planning for this meeting took place over the course of at least five months. Original planners constituted a sub-committee of Sound Non-violent Opponents of War (SNOW), an umbrella organization based in the Seattle area. The original planners defined the goals of a meeting with Sen. Cantwell, received help from Alice Woldt in setting up the meeting, and recruited the delegates and alternates to attend the meeting.

Once the delegates and alternates were settled, they essentially constituted the working group which further refined the strategies and goals of the meeting. This group consulted people who'd had previous experiences in meeting with the senator. While this group met and exchanged email, Alice Woldt worked with Kurt Becket, ex-officio Chief-of-Staff, from December 4th to April 9th to set up the meeting. Many delays and frustrations were encountered along the way, and it's a testament to the wise patience of Alice Woldt that she stuck with the project for months.

On Friday, April 7th, Kurt Beckett suddenly decided upon April 10th as the meeting date. Because of the short notice, some delegates and even alternates couldn't attend, and we had to recruit replacements on short notice. Although I'd been involved with this process since November, I didn't learn about the meeting date until Sunday afternoon, and at the planning meeting a couple hours later, I was asked to join the delegates for a very specific but limited purpose, which I'll explain later.

The meeting was scheduled for 1:45 pm, at Dan Merkel's law office in the Puget building. The conference room was small, almost entirely filled with a long wooden table that barely accommodated the twelve chairs we needed for participants, the senator and Kurt Beckett. One long wall included a screened window looking out into the office entrance. The other wall included a window with a stunning view of the Puget Sound.

We arrived about 1:00 or 1:15 and prepared final strategies until the senator arrived at about 2:00. The meeting lasted until approximately 3:30. The participants were the following:

Alice Woldt (Washington Association of Churches, 36th District Democrats, etc.); Carl Schwartz (5th District Democrats, Korean War veteran, former machinist union local President, military family member); Judith Shattock (Washington State Progressives, 45th District Democrats Executive Board member, etc.); Lietta Ruger (Military Families Speak Out); Mike Dedrick (Veterans for Peace, Vietnam veteran); Yousef Harjo (sp. ?) (Iraqi-American architect); Bert Sacks (Voices in the Wilderness, etc.); Dan Merkel (attorney at law, with experience in social justice issues); John Repp (34th District Democrats, King County Labor Council, West Seattle Neighbors for Peace); and David Edelman (36th District Democrats).

Alice Woldt specified in advance the format of the meeting. Each us would speak, and after the ten short presentations, the senator could address our questions and engage in dialogue. We specified this format in order to control the meeting and make sure we stayed on point. Alice was the moderator of the meeting and did her job exceedingly well.

Here is my summary of what each speaker said. I am merely summarizing content; nothing I write below should be taken as a direct quote, except in my own case. Everything I say is, again, based on subjective recollection and is subject to correction and amplification.

Alice Woldt emphasized we wanted to help the senator. She spoke-- as a Democrat, a mother, a person of faith and as a member of the human race--about the criticality of Iraq to future generations. She talked about how we wanted the senator to take a public position on Iraq; we wanted her to hold public forums on Iraq in Washington State; and we wanted her to respond to Sen. Kerry's recent withdrawal proposal.

Carl Schwartz and Judith Shattock spoke from their perspectives as Party regulars. They spoke about divisions within the Party over the senator's Iraq vote and lack of a position. They talked about how she was losing support among the Party faithful. They talked about how she was causing schisms within our district organizations.

Lietta Ruger spoke from the perspective of someone who has two close relatives serving in Iraq. She talked about the impact on her family of multiple tours of duty. She talked about how her two relatives are having to return to Iraq and how she's concerned for their safety.

Mike Dedrick spoke about what the war is doing to soldiers and to the military as a whole.

Yousef talked about the grim reality of Iraq on a daily basis. He talked about how the U.S. occupation was making things worse. He said the Iraqis are a diverse people, but they are almost all united in believing that the U.S. needs to leave Iraq in the near future.

Bert Sacks talked about his nine visits to Iraq and what the conditions were in the past and are now. He talked about the illegality of the war. He talked about how Democrats enabled the Bush administration to violate international law. He talked about our fears that Iran was next and that the Democrats would let Bush get away with using nuclear weapons in Iran. He talked about living in Israel and his belief that our Iraq and Iran policies were not making Israelis safer.

Dan Merkel talked about how the war is undermining her positions on world poverty and energy.

John Repp talked about the senator's need to take principled positions on the war. He spoke about permanent military bases and about how unions were undermined in Iraq. He spoke about how she needed to have clear, public positions on Iraq.

I went last. My presentation--the shortest--was limited to introducing the Kerry proposal. I memorized what I wanted to say, so I can quote myself accurately. After a brief introduction, I said:

Senator, right now, very serious policymakers are discussing how to get our troops out of the Iraq civil war. Brian Katalis, Lawrence Korb, Zbignew Brezinski--these are serious policymakers who are discussing how to get out of the Iraq civil war. But they are currently outside the government. Serious policy discussions need to move inside the government, inside Congress.

With few exceptions, members of Congress have not been doing serious policy work on how to get our troops out of the Iraq civil war. One exception is Senator John Kerry, who recently proposed, as you know, a plan for withdrawing our troops from the Iraq civil war.

Senator, do you support Senator Kerry's plan?

Compared to the other presentations, mine was abrupt, and the senator seemed a little unprepared when I popped the question. She smiled and said something like, "Do I get to speak now?"

Speak she did. She said she agreed with aspects of his proposal, specifically this paragraph:

For this transition to work, we must finally begin to engage in genuine diplomacy. We must immediately bring the leaders of the Iraqi factions together at a Dayton Accords-like summit meeting. In a neutral setting, Iraqis, working with our allies, the Arab League and the United Nations, would be compelled to reach a political agreement that includes security guarantees, the dismantling of the militias and shared goals for reconstruction.

She also said she wasn't familiar with his proposal. I quoted from it. She equivocated about whether she could accept Sen. Kerry's deadlines:

Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 to put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military. If Iraqis aren't willing to build a unity government in the five months since the election, they're probably not willing to build one at all. The civil war will only get worse, and we will have no choice anyway but to leave.

If Iraq's leaders succeed in putting together a government, then we must agree on another deadline: a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year's end.

She agreed the Iraqis should form a government by May 15th. She's for a transition plan. But she claims the Democrats have had a transition plan since last year. She is very proud of the Senate Democrats' having convinced the Republicans to sign onto what became the Warner-Frist amendment in December 2005. She is also proud of having signed onto the letter the Senate Democrats sent to Bush in October 2005.

I pointed out that the current Democratic plan--authored by House and Senate Democrats--is contained in the recent "Real Security Plan." The Iraq portion of that plan "boils down to two bullet points and sixty-three words." I said the Democrats' "2006 will be a year of transition" was vacuous when the Democrats cooked it up last fall and now it's just plain absurd--we're ⅓ of the way through 2006, and the transition has been to civil war.

I emphasized how bad things are in Iraq right now. She kept emphasizing the need to train Iraqi troops. She kept coming back to that. Yousef and Mike challenged her view in concrete ways. Lietta kept talking about the effects of that policy on our troops. Bert kept talking about how the Iraqis want us to leave. Others kept pressing her to define her position on Iraq in public.

She said she thought that maybe she could do a better job of communicating and that maybe we wanted her to be more effective. I said, "Senator--I would love it if you were more effective!" We both smiled at that.

Lietta pointedly asked her how long it takes to train an American high school graduate to be combat-ready. She said she didn't know. Lietta answered "six weeks to three months. And we've been in Iraq for three years!" That stopped the room. The senator, as I recall, mumbled something about the need to press Gen. Casey on this.

When Bert pressed her on how the invasion of Iraq was a violation of international law and, according to the Nuremburg Tribunal, the supreme international crime, she responded that it wasn't a violation of international law because there'd only been a cease-fire after the first Gulf war. In other words, the second Iraq war was operating under the Congressional and U.N. authority of the first Iraq war. Bert challenged this by saying that only the U.N. had the authority to decide, in the end, what was a violation of international law. And some months after the war, Kofi Anan admitted that it had been.

We went around and around on the aforementioned issues. Alice tried to get her back to talking about the forum we wanted with serious policymakers who could discuss serious withdrawal proposals.

She talked a lot about what she was doing for the troops. The meeting sort of fizzled out from there.

After the senator left, we continued to meet with Kurt Beckett. Participants gave him copies of their presentations. I gave him a copy of the Korb-Katulis redeployment proposal because Kurt said they were interested in any specific withdrawal proposals we might have.

We then debriefed and agreed that Alice would follow up by asking the senator to clarify some of the things she said in the meeting. Then everyone slowly filed out of the conference room. Alice went off to the march. John, Bert and I went to the Federal building to await the marchers.

Lietta--could you correct and amplify what I've said here? What did I leave out? What were your impressions?

Any questions from the general audience?

by DWE on Wed Apr 12, 2006 at 12:54:33 PM PST

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If Cantwell does shift to a more reality-based instead of an ideological position, it'll be partly because of persistant pressure from SNOW coalition members--not because of Democratic cheerleaders who say: "We've got your back, Maria, no matter what"

Although you were right to avoid focusing on the future rather than her pro-IWR vote, it seems her refusal to acknowledge it was a mistake is at the core of her dancing around disturbing facts about the war. Like how we all were deceived from Day One...apparently she has no problem with that.

I expect she will eventually be in the "We did these people a favor, and they just couldn't get it together, so frustrating" camp like Kerry, thus saving face for herself and the U.S.

Thanks for the excellent recap.

by dinazina on Wed Apr 12, 2006 at 01:42:40 PM PST

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This is the kind of discussion on a difficult topic that I only can seem to wish for with our local media.  

Very, very well done, both Lieta's story and the comments.

I would really like to see this become a series of conversations with Senator Cantwell, in hopes that mutual education of each side, about the worlds in which each lives, can continue and lead to worthwhile resolutions.

by palamedes on Wed Apr 12, 2006 at 03:08:46 PM PST

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This post is so helpful.

A thank you is due to SNOW and all the people who set this meeting up -- and to Lietta and David for posting on it, reporting it to the public.

This is a very moving collaborative account on that meeting and on the circumstances that US soldiers and their families and the people in Iraq are facing.

by noemie maxwell on Wed Apr 12, 2006 at 05:03:52 PM PST

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Lietta and David and all !

Thanks all for keeping the heat on.

Thanks David and Lietta for letting us all in on your impressions.

This is invaluable community service.

IF you help move her towards positions she should have had years ago, postitions WITHOUT prodding from citizens since she is hired to be a Leader, you've done great service with hopefully sooner rather than later impact.

IF she still waffles and wanders, you've provided great community service because with this diary, we have a real record of politician who obviously learned the wrong lessons from losing to Rich White Guy in 1994.



by rmdSeaBos on Wed Apr 12, 2006 at 06:23:42 PM PST

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Hmm. Let's see.

2 months ago, Cantwell wouldn't give you the time of day. All of a sudden, she meets with you and pretends to listen.

I wonder what has changed in the past 2 months. Maybe it is that we have a TRUE ANTIWAR candidate in the race, one that can't be brushed aside on primary day, one that filled the Garfield Community Center gym on his campaign kickoff day on April 8 -- and he didn't need no Barak Obama to do it either!

In short, you can all thank Aaron Dixon for giving her a swift kick in the butt and making her realize that she has to EARN your vote, even if some of you have already given it away.

by Aram on Wed Apr 12, 2006 at 09:56:51 PM PST

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Yes, I'm sure Cantwell will be able to provide very well for her kids. And naturally, because of that she should be allowed to continue bombing the hell out of as many Iraqi kids as she wants. Plus I'm sure she wont want to pass up killing as many Iranian kids as possible.
Doug Nielson

by indolin on Thu Apr 13, 2006 at 03:08:00 AM PST

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excerpt from David's account..think about this as it points to Sen. Cantwell's perception and likely not a few other Congressional legislators thinking.  I did hear this exchange at the meeting and didn't key in on it.  I am grateful to David for his careful notes!

Has anyone else heard this in the public dialogue addressing war in Iraq?  It is the first time I've heard it and I think it's important in it's relevance to the continued public discussion.

invasion of Iraq was a violation of international law and, according to the Nuremburg Tribunal, the supreme international crime, she responded that it wasn't a violation of international law because there'd only been a cease-fire after the first Gulf war. In other words, the second Iraq war was operating under the Congressional and U.N. authority of the first Iraq war.

General Paul Eaton video, May 2007If Pres. Bush Won't Listen, Congress Must

by Lietta Ruger on Thu Apr 13, 2006 at 07:12:27 AM PST

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  • ODS vs. OIF by DWE, 04/13/2006 08:28:10 AM PST (none / 0)
of this meeting, see DKos.

by DWE on Fri Apr 14, 2006 at 11:59:01 AM PST

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Whidbey NewsTimes
South Whidbey Record
Stanwood/Camano News
Vashon Beachcomber
Voice Of Vashon
KLKI 1340 AM

North Puget Sound
Bellingham Herald
The Northern Light
Everett Herald
Skagit Valley Herald
Lynden Tribune
The Enterprise
Snohomish County Tribune
Snohomish County Business Journal
The Monroe Monitor
The Edmonds Beacon
KELA 1470 AM
KRKO 1380 AM

Central Puget Sound
King County Journal
Issaquah Press
Mukilteo Beacon
Voice of the Valley
Federal Way Mirror
Bothell/Kenmore Reporter
Kirkland courier
Mercer Island Reporter
Woodinville Weekly

Greater Seattle
Seattle PI
Seattle Times
UW Daily
The Stranger
Seattle Weekly
Capitol Hill Times
Madison Park Times
Seattle Journal of Commerce
NW Asian Weekly
West Seattle Herald
North Seattle Herald-Outlook
South Seattle Star
Magnolia News
Beacon Hill News
KOMO AM 1000
KEXP 90.3 FM
KUOW 94.9 FM
KVI 570 AM

South Puget Sound
The Columbian
Longview Daily News
Nisqually Valley News
Lewis County News
The Reflector
Eatonville Dispatch
Tacoma News Tribune
Tacoma Weekly
Puyallup Herald
Enumclaw Courier-Herald
The Olympian
KAOS 89.3 FM
KOWA FM 106.5
UPN 11

Ellensburg Daily Record
Levenworth Echo
Cle Elum Tribune
Snoqualmie Valley Record
Methow Valley News
Lake Chelan Mirror
Omak chronicle
The Newport Miner

The Spokesman-Review
KREM 2 TV Spokane
KXLY News 4 Spokane
KHQ 6 Spokane
KSPS Spokane
Othello Outlook
Cheney Free Press
Camas PostRecord
The South County sun
White Salmon Enterprise
Palouse Boomerang
Columbia Basin Herald
Grand Coulee Star
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Yakima Herald-Republic
KIMA 29 Yakima
KAPP TV 35 Yakima
KYVE Yakima
Wenatchee World
Tri-City Herald
TVEW TV 42 Tri-cities
KTNW Richland
KEPR 19 Pasco
Daily Sun News
Prosser Record-Bulletin
KTCR 1340 AM
KWSU Pullman
Moscow-Pullman Daily News



Democracy for Washington tool to email legislators by committee
WA House
WA Senate


Photo courtesy of photographer/thankyoult.org




Inspired by Rob McKenna's Fake Attorney General Letterhead
GIF of Letter




Medicine Takeback Program
Return unwanted and expired medications for free and safe disposal.