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Unabashedly anti-war

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In the wake of “No Shame In Our Name,” a recent peace and social justice rally that drew some 400 concerned citizens to gather in downtown Missoula, voices opposed to the Bush administration’s war fervor are increasing in number and volume. Montana’s congressional representatives are being deluged with calls and letters expressing reservations and concerns, as well.

“We’re getting calls on this issue all day long, every day,” says a member of Conrad Burns’ staff in Washington D.C. “All of them are opposed to attacking Iraq.”

Continuing their efforts to reach and influence legislators, advocates of peace and diplomacy assembled at Sen. Max Baucus’ field offices in cities throughout Montana last Tuesday.

So what’s the next step for peace activists? Anita Doyle with the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center says the current round in the struggle to derail the Bush administration’s war machine is being fought in the U.S. Congress. Says Doyle, “The most important thing that people can do at this moment is to continue to call Congress.”

Both the U.S. House and Senate are currently debating resolutions that would authorize Bush to use any force against Iraq that he deems necessary and appropriate. Numerous lawmakers have expressed deep-seated reservations about granting such authorization. Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, a conservative Democrat, adamantly believes it would be unconstitutional, and is considering a filibuster to block the resolution.

“People not only need to encourage Byrd to filibuster this resolution,” says Doyle, “but also to call other senators who are leaning toward opposing it.”

Contact information for Montana’s legislators as well as for other lawmakers and media sources can be obtained at the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center or through its Web site (www.jrpc.org).

Peace activists are also heartened by a broadening of the anti-war movement to other sectors of the political spectrum. There are those who question the logic of attacking Iraq on economic as well as moral grounds. Some critics see the Bush administration’s posturing as a real-life “wag the dog” scenario—a crass political ploy to manipulate the public during an election season, or to distract Americans from the social and economic crises taking place here at home. Others point to Bush’s newly released National Security Strategy, a document that unabashedly plans for permanent U.S. military and economic domination of every region on the globe.

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