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Edwards joins new antiwar campaign

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Former presidential candidate John Edwards and his wife Elizabeth joined MoveOn.org, the Service Employees union, VoteVets.org and other groups Feb. 25 in launching a $20 million Iraq/Recession Campaign that will target war hawk Republican presidential candidate John McCain and congressional Republicans.

In a Feb. 25 conference call, MoveOn Executive Director Eli Pariser said the campaign would “make the rising costs of the war” and its toll on the nation’s economy “a central issue of this election.”

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The cost of the war is now at $10 billion a month, according to new Congressional Research Service figures.

Speaking from his home in North Carolina, Edwards said fellow Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are making it “clear they will end the war in Iraq.” Edwards said, “The American people are going to have a very clear choice this fall — a Democrat who will bring this thing to an end ... and Senator John McCain who will continue the war.”

“If the economy is your No. 1 issue when you’re voting, the war is also your No. 1 issue because there is a connection between the two,” Elizabeth Edwards said.

USAction, Americans United for Change and the Center for American Progress are also part of the campaign, which will involve advertising and grassroots get-out-the-vote activity.

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VoteVets has announced a new cable TV ad featuring Iraq veteran Rose Forrest with her infant son, challenging McCain’s comments about staying in Iraq for 100 years. She says, “This is my little boy. He was born a year after I came back from Iraq. What kind of commitment are you making to him? How about a thousand years of affordable health care, or a thousand years of keeping America safe? Can we afford that for my child, Senator McCain? Or have you already promised to spend trillions — in Baghdad?”

Meanwhile, Iraq Veterans Against the War and other peace groups are planning a four-day antiwar event in Washington, D.C., March 13-16, to mark the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war. “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan” will feature testimony from veterans of the two wars, including video and photographic evidence, the group says. In addition, panels of scholars, veterans and others will discuss the fight for veterans’ health care, the history of GI resistance and other topics.

The name “Winter Soldier” recalls the dramatic 1971 Winter Soldier veterans’ encampment in Washington, D.C., and their powerful testimony before Congress.

“In 1971, a courageous group of veterans exposed the criminal nature of the Vietnam War,” Iraq Veterans Against the War says on its web site. “Once again, we will demand that the voices of veterans are heard.

“Once again, we are fighting for the soul of our country. We will demonstrate our patriotism by speaking out with honor and integrity instead of blindly following failed policy.”

The veterans group urges the public to organize gatherings to listen to the hearings, which will be streamed on its web site, ivaw.org, and carried on cable TV March 14 and 15.

The United for Peace and Justice coalition is also calling for local antiwar actions around the country on March 19, the war’s fifth anniversary, and urges those who can to join a nonviolent direct action in Washington, D.C., that day.

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Susan Webb is associate editor of People's Weekly World, www.pww.org

 

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