Friday, February 23, 2007

Eyewitness Account of Markey Office Occupation

Guest post by Susan Falkoff.

Below are excerpts from a report by “mlc” (distributed by United for Justice with Peace on the Sit-in at Congressman Ed Markey’s Medford office that was organized by Veterans for Peace, in which Congresman Markey explains why he intends to vote for Bush’s supplemental budget request with conditions instead of defeating the request outright:

“2/21/07 Today was the second day of the occupation of Rep. Markey's office in Medford. Again, there were several Veterans for Peace and supporters outside, on the street, with banners and signs asking the Congressman to sign the Pledge to Vote Against 2007 Supplemental Funding For The Iraq War. And, again, several people sat all day inside Markey's office suite reading the names of all the US soldiers killed in Iraq, state by state. Today was the day that Markey had agreed to meet with the Veterans for Peace, their supporters, and his constituents who favor his signing the Pledge.

“…Nate Goldshlag, one of the organizers,… asked if he could read the names of those soldiers killed in Iraq who were from Massachusetts. After reading each name, another veteran for peace struck a small bell chime. Then Nate set out the intention of our meeting with the congressman, specifically urging him to sign the Pledge stating that he would vote against the supplemental spending measure that President Bush will seek in 2007 to fund the ongoing occupation and war on Iraq; and to take leadership in getting others to vote against it. Markey initially said he was 100% with us, and that he had already signed the pledge…Then he began an explanation of his position, which he was to repeat many times throughout the long meeting:

“That he intended to vote for a Murtha-style supplemental bill—which would approve supplemental funding for the ongoing occupation with conditions attached regarding troop safety equipment, extension of leave time between successive deployments, etc. Markey told us repeatedly that he believes there would never be more than 190 Representatives willing to vote against Bush's supplemental. That 218 Representatives would be required to stop its passage. Therefore, rather than take a principled but losing stand, he would prefer to vote for the supplemental (which, he says, will pass anyway) with the Murtha “amendment.”

“…Several of the Veterans for Peace continued to argue that they would prefer Markey took a principled stand and voted against the supplemental, especially since he believed it would pass anyway. Nate Goldshlag pointed out that Markey could vote with the majority in favor of the Murtha amendment to take care of the troops, and then vote against the final supplemental spending bill. However, it was clear that Markey had made up his mind to vote for the supplemental with the Murtha conditions attached. He insisted this was being ‘politically smart.’

“… [Markey] has decided he wants to be seen as on the side “protecting the troops”---knowing , as he admitted, that at least 1000 more US soldiers will be killed (and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians) over the next year in Iraq--- rather than invite his fellow Democrats and moderate Republicans to stand with him against the continuation of funding for this illegal, immoral occupation. The whole event was very peaceful, cordial, and the Congressman and staff provided donuts, coffee, and bagels.”