There comes a time when silence is betrayal, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967

As a staunch opponent of the Iraq occupation I have traveled back to Washington, DC several times to lobby to bring our troops home. I write letters to my representatives, testify at hearings, write editorials, track Congressional votes, sit in on endless conference calls, read vociferously and participate in many protests and vigils. These are tasks I undertake because I know that some young Marine or soldier is going to die today. Actually, on average three will die today and I hope beyond all hope that my efforts combined with the efforts of so many others like me, may spare the lives of these young men and women.

Individually these efforts may seem ineffectual but collectively they can and do make a difference. More importantly, knowing from my son what their lives are like in Iraq, the thought of doing nothing repulses me. Our troops are willing to die for us and the least I can do is sacrifice and fight for them. In fact I do these things BECAUSE I CAN. These are things that are within my power to do, so I do them.

Three hundred communities across this country, including three in Oregon have passed resolutions to bring our troops home and forwarded their messages to Congress. Monday night, thanks in no small part to Councilors Claassen and Drew, the Bandon City Council had just such an opportunity but passed it up, without allowing debate from the audience, as being too ‘divisive’.

Too divisive? Every issue is divisive. When has a true leader ever backed away from an issue because it was divisive? Never!

Five members of the council determined that the lives of our servicemen and women were not an appropriate topic for a city council meeting. One even argued that Iraq was not a line item on the city budget as if that should justify ignoring the lives and limbs lost.

Most of the council members claimed to oppose the occupation but would not hear the matter or commit their vote to public view. Men and women are dying in Iraq, three per day, but they would not vote their conscience, they would not fight for these kids’ lives that fight and die for them. They have betrayed our troops with their silence.

There are many reasons I believe it is appropriate to vote on these resolutions at the local level not the least of which is, we should do it BECAUSE WE CAN.

Fight for them, let’s bring ‘em home.

UPDATE! – Evidently, some council members are now repentant and the homeward bound matter may be back on the agenda in September!!!!