Next week, the group intends to fly Iraq veterans to the home states of Republican senators who serve on the Foreign Relations Committee and voted Wednesday against the resolution condemning the administration plan, including Senators Norm Coleman of Minnesota and John E. Sununu of New Hampshire. Television advertisements are scheduled to be shown in some of the same states in an effort to apply pressure before the Senate vote on the resolution in early February.
“The face of antiwar is not what it was in the ’70s,” said Jon Soltz, a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who is the chairman of a group called VoteVets.
If members of Congress are slowly finding their voice opposing the administration’s Iraq plan, aides to lawmakers say, it is in no small part because of the face-to-face lobbying campaign that is a central piece of the strategy employed by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. The group plans to spend up to $9 million, said its spokesman, Brad Woodhouse, which they expect to raise through Internet solicitations and individual donations.
Kuwait News Agency
New coalition, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq
Tom Andrews, national director of Win Without War and a former U.S. congressman from Maine, said the Bush speech on Wednesday night was fueling a surge of anti-war sentiment and activism.
"From the outset, the Bush administration's Iraq policy has been rooted in denial and deception and carried out with a lethal combination of arrogance, ignorance and incompetence," Andrews said. "When you find yourself in a hole, the first principle is to stop digging. Well, our nation is in a mighty hole, but last night the President told the nation that he believes that the answer is to dig even faster." Andrews noted that eight congressional Republicans, members of Bush's own political party, released a letter to Bush on Thursday saying they opposed his plan for escalation in Iraq, and "there will be more." The coalition demands that Congress do more than pass non-binding resolutions opposing a troop surge in Iraq, but instead exercise the power of the purse and cut off funding for the Iraq war, Andrews said.
Americans Against Escalation in Iraq includes the Service Employees International Union, the MoveOn.org Political Action group, Center for American Progress Action Fund, USAction, Win Without War, Vote Vets, Campaign for America's Future and the United States Student Association.