For a PDF version of this, click here: Iraq
In 2006, voters sent a clear message to Washington: Escalating the violence in Iraq was the wrong way. The war had become as unpopular as it was immoral and unaffordable.
But President Bush didn’t hear the message.
USAction was determined that he would.
At MoveOn’s urging, USAction helped launch and lead Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI), a broad-based coalition that included many groups who previously had not focused on foreign policy in our day-to-day work. AAEI members included USAction, MoveOn.org, Center for American Progress Action Fund, Americans United for Change and many others.
We brought together military families and lawmakers, held press conferences, lobby visits, vigils and rallies, all with the purpose of stopping President Bush’s plan for escalation.
Many people involved with AAEI either had, or soon would have, long histories of involvement with USAction affiliates.
Chrystal Hutchison, who would become deputy director of Florida Consumer Action Network, was drawn to the coalition after she and her mom participated in an anti-war “Military Moms” tour organized by FCAN and USAction. Chrystal’s brother was a U.S. Marine serving in Iraq.
Eventually, Chrystal’s protests drew the attention of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and of the media.
“As a program organizer with the Florida Consumer Action Network, Chrystal has become proficient at dissecting the many issues of the war,” wrote the Miami Herald. “Her first protest was in Miami in February, when FCAN launched its Floridians Against Escalation in Iraq campaign outside of Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen’s office.”
Also involved was Sue Dinsdale, who today is interim director of Iowa Citizen Action Network (ICAN). Sue’s oldest son, Jesse, served two tours of duty in Iraq and although she had been opposed to the war, she had not spoken out publicly until ICAN helped her find a venue for her opposition. “ICAN gave me a voice,” Sue says.
USAction and USAction affiliates helped organize “Iraq Summer,” an intensive campaign that sent 100 organizers into 40 congressional districts in 15 states to rally opposition to the war. Sue worked on Iraq Summer from June 2007 until the following January, when she went to work for ICAN.
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