A resolution opposing the war in Iraq as contrary to Jesus' teachings was approved by a majority voice vote of the nearly 4,000 delegates at the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly on Wednesday, although some expressed concern about the message the resolution would send to troops.
The resolution was one of the most debated items at the denomination's biennial convention, which drew 7,000 people to the five-day national gathering at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The resolution, which is not binding upon individual congregations, echoes similar statements by the Roman Catholic Church, the Episcopal Church and several mainline Protestant denominations.
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At the 700,000-member denomination's 2005 assembly, "we did not speak out because our sons and daughters were on the battlefield and we were told they could not bear to hear anything but the most glowing assent to the nation's sacrifice of them," he said. "But they are still there -- and the church has allowed itself to be bullied and fear-mongered into silent submission."
The above, noted by Eddie, is from Terry Lee Goodrich's "Resolution: War at odds with Jesus" (Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Eddie notes, "And in what must a real stab to all the little centrists and bullies (yes, I'm thinking of one in particular), it supports war resisters who resist the illegal war for religious reasons. It doesn't sneer at the likes of Agustin Aguayo, it stands up for them. I guess maybe they'll be getting nasty, whiney e-mails from little centrists."
On the latter topic, Keesha e-mails, "Message for Fatboy, 'You're not a member of this community and we don't have time to waste on you or your squishy little stand. No one gives a damn what you think. I think I know what organization is trying to come to bat for you and I have no use for it now. I never had use for you but I have no use for the WHITE WHITE WHITE 'peace' groups that can't stand for war resisters but can beg for money to live it up in DC where they hold hands with the various members of Congress who enabled and now co-own this illegal war'."
Brent notes Madeline Friedman's "Performing for peace" (New Jersey's Hudson Reporter) about Erik Anders-Nilsson's new film Confessions of a liberal actor-visit:
Every Sunday from 12 to 1 p.m. Nilsson and other members of the Jersey City Peace Movement go to Journal Square to hand out pamphlets and raise awareness about the situation in Iraq. He hopes the movie will serve the same purpose, reaching out to people who may not necessarily attend a rally, but may be inclined to go see a film or a performance art piece on the topic.
Nilsson said that a number screenings are planned, one for as early August. Until details are worked out, members of the public can request copies of the film from the Peace Movement or Black Waxx Productions.
An actor in the film "The Last Seduction," and currently featured on the television show "Rescue Me," Nilsson said that his political and his artistic interests had not before had the occasion to intersect. "As an actor I usually keep my work separate from my political point of view," Nilsson, a member of the Screen Actors Guild since 1986, said.
But that all changed when he felt he had to write "Confessions of a liberal actor-vist."
"It just came out of me organically," Nilsson said during a phone interview between takes of "Rescue Me." And he was inspired to do more than just write about his take on the war.
The film also shows several fictionalized accounts that Nilsson wrote from the point of view of four U.S. Army soldiers who gained national attention during the war.
In the film, Yamil Vargas is Lt. Ehren Watada, who in 2006 publicly refused his unit's command to deploy to Iraq. Lisa Marie Palmieri plays Lt. Jessica Lynch, the soldier whose "rescue" by U.S. special operations forces has been disputed by Lynch herself, along with members of the media, who accused the Pentagon of fabricating the story. And Iyanna Jones is Lt. Shoshana Johnson, taken prisoner in Iraq and who then became the first black woman prisoner of war for the United States.
In this morning's New York Times, James Glanz' "Bechtel Meets Goals on Fewer Than Half of Its Iraq Rebuilding Projects, U.S. Study Finds" continues Glanz' work charting the contractor overruns and abuses in the illegal war:
One of the largest American contractors working in Iraq, Bechtel National, met its original objectives on fewer than half of the projects it received as part of a $1.8 billion reconstruction contract, while most of the rest were canceled, reduced in scope or never completed as designed, federal investigators have found in a report released yesterday.
But the report, by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent agency, places a large share of the blame for the failures on the government overseers at the United States Agency for International Development who administered the contract. The aid agency assigned just two people in Iraq to oversee the giant contract, which included some 24 major projects and 150 subcontractors and stipulated that all invoices be approved or denied in just 10 days.
The report is the first of a planned series of audits of Western contractors that have received large slices of the roughly $40 billion in American taxpayer money that has been spent on the troubled program to rebuild Iraq. Previous audits have looked at individual projects but never the performance across Iraq of a single contractor.
And in September Congress gets their report on the 'progress' in Iraq from the US military. Robin Wright's "That September Report on Iraq? It's Not the Only One" (Washington Post), noted by Martha, informs that before the military gives their report to Congress, another will be received on September 1st:
The GAO's international affairs team has had far more experience in Iraq than the study group led by former secretary of state James A. Baker III and former congressman Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) or any of the other independent panels that have weighed in on Iraq. Indeed, the study group consulted the GAO team in preparing its report. Over the past four years, the GAO has issued 91 reports on Iraq, on topics including the mismanagement of Iraq's oil industry and problems in its new army.
The GAO team is back in Iraq this week doing research to make its own assessment of the 18 benchmarks covered by the administration's reports.
The 15-person team includes an array of specialists, lawyers, economists, foreign policy experts and statisticians. Most have been working on Iraq since June 2003, when the first GAO reports were mandated. They work on a day-to-day basis with the departments of State and Defense, but the GAO makes independent assessments.
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