National Council of Churches – 2005-07-10 23:24:14
NEW YORK (June 16, 2005) — The National Council of Churches USA has welcomed bi-partisan legislation introduced in Congress today urging President Bush “to announce a plan for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year.”
Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) introduced the legislation.
NCC General Secretary Bob Edgar urged churches to participate in a grassroots campaign to encourage members of Congress to support the resolution.
“The development of an exit strategy for Iraq is long overdue,” Edgar said. “It is time for the Administration to inform the American people as to when we will leave this war-torn country. While we are pleased that this legislation has been introduced, we call on all people of faith to contact their Members of Congress and urge them to pass it.”
In a recent op-ed piece sent to U.S. media, Edgar and two other peace activists stressed the importance of a resolution that clarifies US policy on when the war will end.
‘It is of the utmost importance for the US Congress to make this official. A declaration would ease growing concerns about US imperial ambitions in the region and fears that the US desires to secure the region‚s oil fields against the growing energy appetites of China and India,” the op-ed piece said.
The other authors of the piece are Joe Volk, Executive Director, Friends Committee on National Legislation, and Jim Winkler, General Secretary, Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church.
According to a Gallup poll released last week, three-quarters of Americans support a withdrawal of some or all troops starting immediately.
“The administration‚s policy in Iraq is failing,” said former Congressman Tom Andrews (D-Maine). “There is no light at the end of the tunnel, only the lights from oncoming trains in the form of daily suicide bombings and ambushes. It is time to start bringing our men and women in uniform home.”
The NCC is part of a national coalition urging an end to the war. The coalition, which includes MoveOn.org, True Majority, Sojourners, Working Assets and the National Organization of Women, is planning a national grassroots outreach campaign encouraging Members of Congress to sign onto the bi-partisan resolution.
“Iraq’s future will be determined by how the political struggle among its factions plays out. The US military occupation only complicates, and defers resolution of that struggle,” said Susan Shaer, Executive Director of Women’s Action for New Directions. “Meanwhile, over 1,700 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. Many tens of thousands of Iraqis have also died,” she said.
“It is a truism that there are no longer any good options in Iraq,” Andrews added. “The question is how long will US policy makers pursue a failing policy at an unacceptable cost, human and financial. It is time the Congress demand a plan for a phased withdrawal of US forces.”
Contact: NCC News, Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2252, email@example.com; Leslie Tune, 202-544-2350.