On the eve of Martin Luther King Day, Congress has an opportunity to take a step toward realizing Dr. King's vision of a world at peace by mandating a diplomatic surge for Iraq and its neighbors.
On behalf of the organizations listed below we urge you to cosponsor and take steps to enact H.R. 3797, the bipartisan "New Diplomatic Offensive for Iraq Act."
By passing this bill Congress can mandate and closely monitor the kind of comprehensive regional diplomacy that we believe is essential to ending the war in Iraq, preventing wider war, and stabilizing the region as U.S. forces withdraw from Iraq. The administration, as H.R. 3797 acknowledges, has already "undertaken critical elements of the needed diplomatic effort" but says that "significantly more robust" and sustained diplomacy is needed.
If you are already a cosponsor, we thank you for supporting this important bipartisan legislation. We urge you to press for House floor action on this bill at the earliest possible date. If you have not yet cosponsored the New Diplomatic Offensive for Iraq Act, we ask that you do so now and also work to obtain a vote on the bill.
The New Diplomatic Offensive for Iraq Act:
. requires the president to develop a regional diplomatic plan for the Middle East modeled on the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group,
. directs the president to designate a special envoy to implement the plan,
. mandates quarterly progress reports to Congress, and
. urges the president to work with the UN Security Council to increase UN support for stability and reconstruction in Iraq.
Congress can and should take additional steps to end the U.S. war and occupation in Iraq, and bring peace and stability to the Middle East. But by passing H.R. 3797 Congress can provide strong bipartisan support for the vigorous and constructive diplomatic foundation needed in this administration and the next to overcome past policy failures and set the U.S. on a new course in Iraq and the Middle East.
We strongly urge you to support H.R. 3797 and to press for a vote on this important bipartisan initiative that is very much in keeping with Dr. King's conviction that negotiation with allies and adversaries alike is the way to peace. Thank you very much for your consideration.
Mary Ellen McNish, General Secretary, American Friends Service Committee
Rev. Phil Jones, Director, Church of the Brethren, Brethren Witness, Washington Office
Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
Gail Mengel, National Board President, Church Women United
Maureen Shea, Director of Government Relations, The Episcopal Church
Mark C. Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Fellowship of Reconciliation
Joe Volk, Executive Secretary Friends Committee on National Legislation
Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach, Director, Washington Office, Mennonite Central Committee.
Bob Edgar, President and CEO, Common Cause
Phyllis Snyder, President, National Council of Jewish Women
Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK, a National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
David A. Robinson, Executive Director, Pax Christi USA: National Catholic Peace Movement
Rev. William G. Sinkford, President, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo, Executive Minister, United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
James E. Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church