Town Hall Meeting with Brian Baird

Town Hall Meeting with Brian BairdRep. Baird was fixated on the notion that withdrawal would cause further violence. But he seems not to have considered that a responsible, safe and gradual withdrawal would most likely reduce the level of violence. Violence would be reduced because it is the presence of the USA in Iraq that is exacerbating much of the violence.

It was a good meeting. But Rep. Brian Baird is not facing the same reality as 90% of those who attended the meeting. The occupation is very unpopular in Olympia.

There were moments when tempers flared. There were outbursts. All in all it was interesting. I left before it ended. I was disappointed to learn that Rep. Baird didn't talk to any normal every day Iraqis before he made the decision to support the Surge. He talked to 11 parliamentarians and two Sheiks among the Iraqis that he consulted. He also met with members of the American government and military in Iraq prior to making his decision to lend his explicit support to the Surge and to the Occupation.

He feels that the USA has a responsibility in Iraq - a responsibility to right many wrongs. I agree with him that the USA has a responsibility. But he supports the US military role in providing these many reparations.

I disagree with him, and disapprove of his stance, insofar as my perception of the ability of the US military to accomplish the reconstruction mission. In fact, the mission is to hunt insurgents. But it is the presence of the US military that is feeding the insurgency. So it is a cyclical game of cat and mouse. The way out is to stop playing the game.

Change the mission. 1. Make the mission priority to reconstruct the civilian infrastructure.

2. Hand over the keys to the Iraqi government for real. Trust the Iraqi people to manage their own governmental/political process.

3. Hold the Bush Administration accountable. I support holding prominent war planning decision makers in confinement until such a time and place that a fair trial can be made for the assessment of any wrongdoings that may have been committed in re: the invasion and occupation of Iraq...

Rep. Brian Baird share a lot apparently in terms of our views of Iraq. We both believe that the USA has a responsibility to foster progress and change. But we differ fundamentally on the analysis of progress. His understanding seems very narrow and limited. He sees a few specific instances of progress and thinks that justifies the heavy handed military presence. - I think the military presence, in its current incarnation, is part of the problem.

Another thing that struck me was the defensive tone the Representative took from the very beginning.

Also - The Representative didn't listen very well to many of the comments and questions... He often provided (what were to me) unsatisfactory responses and answers. It was like something was missing... Something important. It was like he had well-thought out and rehearsed political responses to many of the citizens' comments. A lot of his statements sounded canned, phony and stale.

I am glad that I went and would be interested in hearing others' perspectives on how the Town Hall Meeting went.

Finally, I encourage the Representative to truly think over the ideas that were shared at the Mtg. and to not fear changing his position accordingly. There is no shame in admitting a wrong like this. It would be the honorable thing to do.

Waging offensive military campaigns in the name of resource acquisition is inhumane, immoral, illegal - fundamentally anathema to the tradition and spirit of the USA.

The fundamental reason for the US presence in Iraq is unjust. It is time to radically shift the military and diplomatic mission - or else to begin immediately a full scale, safe, responsibly and complete (likely over the course of one year) military withdrawal.


  1. WOW-that's you in that picture? Sounds like you had a protracted conversation with the Rep. Good for you. Democracy is really difficult.

    When are you going to run?

  2. That wasn't me in the picture. I was taking the picture. But he does look like me. I think he was a reporter because he was on his laptop throughout the event.


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