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Coleen Rowley

Former FBI agent Coleen Rowley was one of three whistleblowers chosen as persons of the year by TIME magazine in 2002

April 15th, 2010 7:40 PM

Asking Minnesotan Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar to Say NO to War

Tuesday evening over 100 Minnesotans demonstrated outside Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office with half of our group eventually going inside to seek a response from the Senator as to how she would vote on the upcoming $33 billion “war supplemental” to continue the escalation of war on Afghanistan.  After a couple hours waiting for Amy to get out of meetings and for a conference call with her to be arranged, 27 of us still remained in her office and gathered around the phone, long after business hours.  To be sure, after the disappointing response from Senator Al Franken last week, none of us were holding our breath.

Senator Klobuchar invited us to provide our “arguments” but then went ahead and told us she doesn’t ever indicate how she will vote until she “sees the bill.”  She explained that there could be attachment(s) that get added at the last minute.  She did seem, however, to generally support funding the military escalation in order for the U.S. to bring democracy to Afghanistan and to fight the Taliban “who would otherwise put acid in the faces of girls who go to school.”  When various members of our group tried to reason and plead with the Senator, she gave no indication of her stance other than the parroting of the President’s rationalizations.  It shows just how difficult it will be to end the nine year long war.  At one juncture the Senator seems to make a Freudian slip (altho’ she quickly catches the mistake), saying that the President has deliberately left our military commitment there “open-ended.”

We were so disappointed that nine members of our group decided to dramatize through a “die-in” what lies ahead if Obama is given the go-ahead by Congress for his military escalation. It undoubtedly means more civilians and American troops will be killed, more funerals, more anti-American sentiment inflamed and more precious tax money wasted.  At the time of the “die-in,” Klobuchar’s staff (who had been very patient up till then) warned the “dead” they were trespassing and called the police.  (Ironically both Minnesota Senators just attended the real thing, the funeral for one of the three Minnesotans killed these last few days in Afghanistan and Iraq, bringing the total of Minnesotans who have died to 79.)

Our independent media did a more complete job, but our major newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune carried only a couple paragraphs the following morning as part of their much larger article on the “buzz” about Senator Klobuchar possibly being named on a list of Supreme Court nominees.

We think it’s time to suggest the newspaper and public radio media conduct a poll to educate the politicians in Washington DC that it’s about more than (what the paper downplayed as) “50 protesters.”  It’s about the growing public opinion against Congress giving open-ended, no strings attached funding for the president to continue the wars.  No polls in Minnesota have been conducted, for some time, as to citizens’ feelings about the wars and/or their escalation. Obama has picked up where Bush left off with political partisanship now obfuscating the issues but the wars are costing trillions of dollars and more and more people, including fiscal conservatives, are becoming concerned about the non-stop bleeding.  Without a hard poll, it’s very easy for our Senators and supposed Representatives to ignore the growing sentiment against the endless war and believe they can later sell their war votes as “helping bring democracy or supporting women’s rights” as we heard over the speaker phone.

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