Iraq Summer Turns Up the Heat

NOTE FROM JOHN: Let me welcome another August guest blogger to AMERICAblog (hey, when we shake things up, we shake em up big). My friend Tom Matzzie is going to be checking in each week over the next month or so to update us on the Iraq Summer campaign – i.e., the campaign to put make congressional war supporters feel the heat. Tom is the Washington Director for MoveOn.org Political Action, and is campaign manager for Iraq Summer and Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. He’ll be writing about the legislative and political fight over the war in Iraq. And with no further ado, here is Tom’s first post:

Don’t you wish there was somebody out there in the face of the pro-war politicians every day? Well, now there is.

Over the last 7 weeks, over 100 organizers have been working in the hometowns of more than 41 senators and members of Congress who are standing between the American people and an end to the war in Iraq. These organizers—working with committees of local constituents—have been attending town hall meetings, organizing press conferences, stopping by office hours for members of Congress, holding vigils, going door-to-door, posting yard signs and more.

The Republicans they are targeting have been sticking with George W. Bush while Americans are dying in Iraq’s religious civil war. A war Americans can’t win for the Iraqis. In fact, our presence is making things worse every day.

The U.S. occupation in Iraq is a moral outrage—America is arming, training and protecting some very bad people who are conducting ethnic cleansing campaigns against Iraqi civilians. (Check out a soldier’s letter-to-the-editor on this topic.)

While we have to be witnesses to these moral tragedies, we shouldn’t remain silent. The work of ending the war is not in Iraq. And it isn’t even in Washington. We can responsibly end the war by creating a toxic political environment for the war’s supporters in their hometowns. Working to organize millions of Americans who have had enough of Congress’ complacency creates pressure on the whole system and will lead to the political collapse of support for the Bush policy.

Here is a sample of Iraq Summer. One of the organizers caught up with Rep. Jon Porter (R-NV) and asks him the tough questions.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yut8tBzAi6s]

In the 18th district of Pennsylvania—my hometown—a group of constituents for Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) were locked out of their congressman’s office after delivering a cake that read, “Rep. Murphy. Welcome Home, bring ’em home.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUT3BEfcl-s]

And here is a press clip from Iowa where they are holding Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) accountable.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZZQH79UsaM]

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be blogging on AMERICABlog and elsewhere to tell the story of Iraq Summer. I’m not a veteran blogger like John, Joe, Pam and AJ—so bear with me. But I think it is important that everybody sees what is going on. I’ll check the comments frequently and answer questions as much as I can.

Tonight I’m off to Iowa. I’ll send in a dispatch.

Tom Matzzie is Washington director for MoveOn.org Political Action and campaign manager for Iraq Summer and Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. Visit http://www.iraqcampaign.org/ for more information.

P.S. August 28th is Take A Stand Day. Stay tuned for more on that.

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