Total Drek

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Slag Action Item: Will the U.S. get out of Iraq... someday?

Felicitations, y'all. As Drek mentioned yesterday, your Total Drek experience will come with a healthy dose of Slag over the next few weeks. Enjoy these posts-o-Slag for the next three weeks or so, before the beginning of the Slag world tour. More on that later.

My original plan for today's entry was to liveblog college basketball's national championship game, but something more important landed in my Inbox this afternoon. This Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee will be discussing and voting on amendments to President Bush's latest budget request, $82 billion to support the war in Iraq.

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, a legislative advocacy group affiliated with the Society of Friends (also known as Quakers), is encouraging Committee members to add the following sentence to the new supplemental budget:

It is the policy of the United States to withdraw all military troops and bases from Iraq.

Simple, sensible request. No deadlines, no timetables. We're just reassuring the Iraqi people that we're not staying forever, turning Iraq into U.S. territory or property. Someday, they'll get their country back. After all, this was the plan from the beginning, right? It was even called Operation "Iraqi Freedom."

I have no illusions that this amendment will suddenly stop Iraqi insurgency. But it will give us a framework to work from in Congress. If Congress acknowledges that U.S. forces can and will withdraw from Iraq someday, we can start discussing when and how.

FCNL has been in private discussions with Senators' offices, and staffers have been supportive of adding such language to the budget request. But the Senators have been reluctant, worried that any statements they make about Iraq withdrawal could be "exploited by their opponents," according to the FCNL mailing. This is, to be perfectly blunt, frigginridiculous.

Write your Senator! You can use the FCNL form to find whether your Senator is on the Appropriations Committee. If s/he is, use the form to send them a message. E-mail is good, Fax is better, a call is best. A letter would be even better, but with the vote on Wednesday, time is running short.

Here are the members of the Appropriations Committee, with phone numbers. You now have two ways of contacting your Senator. So go ahead!

Hey Wisconsonians, Senator Herb Kohl is on the committee! Contact away!

Majority Members (Republican)

1) Thad Cochran, Mississippi (Chair)
(202) 224-5054

2) Ted Stevens, Alaska
(202) 224-3004

3) Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania
(202) 224-4254

4) Pete Domenici, New Mexico
(202) 224-6621

5) Kit Bond, Missouri
No phone listed on site

6) Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
(202) 224-2541

7) Conrad Burns, Montana
No phone listed on site

8) Richard Shelby, Alabama
(202) 224-5744

9) Judd Gregg, New Hampshire
(202) 224 - 3324

10) Bob Bennett, Utah
(202) 224-5444

11) Larry Craig, Idaho
(202) 224-2752

12) Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Texas

13) Mike DeWine, Ohio
(202) 224-2315

14) Sam Brownback, Kansas
(202) 224-6521

15) Wayne Allard, Colorado
(202) 224-5941

Minority Members (Democrat)

1) Robert Byrd, West Virginia (Ranking Member)
No phone listed on site

2) Daniel Inouye, Hawaii
(202) 224-3934

3) Patrick Leahy, Vermont
(202) 224-4242

4) Tom Harkin, Iowa
No phone listed on site

5) Barbara Mikulski, Maryland
(202) 224-4654

6) Harry Reid, Nevada
(202) 224-3542

7) Herb Kohl, Wisconsin
(202) 224-5653

8) Patty Murray, Washington
(202) 224-2621

9) Byron Dorgan, North Dakota
(202) 224-2551

10) Dianne Feinstein, California
(202) 224-3841

11) Dick Durbin, Illinois
(202) 224-2152

12) Tim Johnson, South Dakota
No phone listed on site

13) Mary Landrieu, Louisiana


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