On Thursday, May 31st the LIPC organized a press event where Long Island clergy spoke out against the war in front of the Massapequa Park office of Congressman Peter King. King is the lone Long Island member of Congress to vote last week for legislation providing $120 billion for Iraq funding without any timetable to end the war. As the Iraq War has entered its 5th year, U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians continue to die and become wounded in large numbers. This event was one of several national efforts in association with “America Speaks Out on the War”, a national project in which American voices from
different walks of life are calling for a safe and responsible end to the war.
Representing the Long Island Council of Churches, Mary Dewar said, “The 4 years of this war has resulted in the sacrifice of over 3,400 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians without any significant progress towards a multi-ethnic democracy.” According to Dewar, a recent honoree at the LIPC luncheon, “The hundreds of billons spent on the war have been taken out of the pockets of the poor and the mouths of the hungry. As a faith leader, I cannot remain silent as the President and other national leaders persist in continuing a senseless, destructive, and immoral conflict.”
“This war, resulting in the wholesale killing of both combatants and civilians, and the severe dissolution of the human bond, is the most egregious violation of the values we hold most dear” said LIPC member Dr. Anne Klaeysen, Leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island.
Holding up signs and starting chants such as, “Bring ‘em Home Now” and “Stop the War”, dozens of protestors had a presence that captured the
interest of motorists and pedestrians in the busy thoroughfare, while media covered the event.
“Peter King voted to give President Bush a blank check to continue the war,” LIPC Director Lisa Tyson said. “Instead, he’s stood with a President who is deaf to the will of the American people. Given the President’s stubborn refusal to listen, only enforceable timetables will bring the war to a conclusion.”
Other progressive Long Islanders and clergy who participated in the event included Megan O’Handley with the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, Rabbi Janet Liss of the North Country Reform Temple, and Reverend Noel D’Amico.
The public is now overwhelmingly disillusioned with the conduct of the war, with a majority of independents and even
substantial numbers of Republicans calling for a change. A May 18-23, 2007 New York Times poll found that 52 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of independents now think the war is going at least somewhat badly; only 36 percent of Republicans held that opinion in April. (The figure is 89 percent for Democrats, and 76 percent for the nation as a whole.) Sixty-three percent of all Americans, 61 percent of independents and even 42 percent of Republicans believe that the U.S. should set a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq sometime in 2008.
LIPC and its statewide affiliate, Citizen Action of New York, are members of a national coalition known as Americans Against Escalation in Iraq that includes citizen, labor, veterans and student groups. The effort to deescalate the war in Iraq become reality without your continued support.