From Moveon.org <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Oct. 17, 2003
Dear MoveOn member,
As the true cost of the Iraq war is becoming clear, and as Congress debates
the $87 billion, the Bush administration is on a PR offensive. President
Bush and other officials did a series of exclusive interviews with regional
media outlets in hopes of circumventing the national papers that might ask
tough questions or scrutinize his statements closely. And newspapers across
the country received letters ostensibly from soldiers in Iraq describing
their successes there -- all of which were identically worded. Some soldiers
didn't even know about the letter that was sent in their name to their hometown
We need to counter the Bush administration's PR offensive
with letters to the editor of our own -- letters that tell the truth about
the situation in Iraq. Please take a few minutes to write a letter today.
If you are a veteran or a family member of someone in the armed forces,
we especially need your help in countering the administration's propaganda.
Your newspaper's letters page should give you an email address
or fax number to use, or you can try Congress.org's
We've provided tips and talking points below. The news over
the weekend will be filled with articles on Iraq and the $87 billion request
before Congress. It's very important that we get our voices onto the national
opinion pages now, while this issue is hot -- politicians will read the
letters to the editor section to see where this debate is going.
Writing a letter to the editor could take 20 minutes or less.
Here are our tips for sending an effective letter:
(1) Your own words, written from the heart, are always best.
(2) Brevity is the soul of wit.
(3) The key to publication is to pounce on something specific
you've seen in the newspaper -- especially an editorial or op-ed article.
This issue has been the headline news this week -- try to cite a specific
article when you write.
(4) Be sure to include your name and address, and especially
your phone number when submitting your letter. Editors need to call you
to verify authorship before they can print your letter. They don't print
your phone number.
TALKING POINTS ON IRAQ AND THE $87 BILLION REQUEST:
You don't need to include all of these points in your letter
-- short, pithy letters that focus on one aspect of the issue are most likely
to be published. The talking points below are provided to get you started.
Our policy in Iraq is failing. President Bush is telling regional media
that the situation in Iraq is "a lot better than you probably think."
But troops are dying daily. Reservists who signed up to guard airports
have now been in Iraq for six months with no hopes of coming home soon
-- in part because even our close allies won't send troops to Iraq. The
United Nations has pulled its staff out of Iraq, citing security risks.
And unemployment in Iraq is over 70%. (Associated
The new U.N. resolution will do little. As Reuters reported:
"In a joint statement, France, Russia and Germany, said the resolution
should have gone further in expanding the political role of the United
Nations and accelerating the transfer of power to Iraq. 'In that context,
the conditions are not created for us to envisage any military commitment
and no further financial contributions beyond our present engagement.'
they said. . . . Pakistan, considered a prime candidate for sending soldiers,
declined to do so, saying the new multinational force created under the
resolution was not distinct enough from occupation troops." (Reuters,
We need a change of course and a change of teams. President
Bush is unwilling to make the drastic change necessary to salvage the
operation in Iraq. His intransigence is putting our international reputation,
our national security, and the safety of our troops at stake. President
Bush must admit the failure of the go-it-alone approach and hire a new
foreign policy team that's willing to work with the international community.
There is no emergency need for the $87 billion. The Congressional
Research Service issued a report yesterday showing that the funding bills
already passed provide enough funding to continue the occupation of Iraq
and protect the troops until spring of next year. Congress could have
taken the time to properly debate and analyze the request, but Congressional
Republicans wanted to rush the request through in order to limit the political
Research Service, 10/15/2003)
Iraq contracts are rife with waste and crony capitalism. Halliburton,
the firm Vice President Dick Cheney led in the 1990s, is receiving billions
of dollars in contracts. According to the two lawmakers, Halliburton has
charged the government $1.62 to $1.70 a gallon for gasoline that could be
bought wholesale in the Persian Gulf region for about 71 cents and transported
to Iraq for no more than 25 cents. Meanwhile, local Iraqi businesses are
shunned, and other contractors whose bids are lower are being ignored. And
U.S. companies are charging taxpayers exorbitant rates for reconstruction
-- $50,000 per bed, for example, for new Iraqi prisons, which is more than
twice what we pay on average here. (Salon,
Troops are demoralized. According to the Washington Post:
"A broad survey of U.S. troops in Iraq by a Pentagon-funded newspaper
found that half of those questioned described their unit's morale as low
and their training as insufficient, and said they do not plan to reenlist.
The survey, conducted by the Stars and Stripes newspaper, also recorded
about a third of the respondents complaining that their mission lacks clear
definition and characterizing the war in Iraq as of little or no value.
Fully 40 percent said the jobs they were doing had little or nothing to
do with their training." (Washington
The war on Iraq has increased the danger of terrorism. Reuters
reports: "War in Iraq has swollen the ranks of al Qaeda and galvanized
the Islamic militant group's will, the International Institute for Strategic
Studies said on Wednesday in its annual report." (Reuters,
Please take a few minutes to write a letter of your own today. President
Bush can run from the truth in Iraq, but he can't hide.
--Carrie, Eli, Joan, Noah, Peter, Wes, and Zack
The MoveOn Team
October 17th, 2003
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