We speak with Leslie Cagan, the national director of United for Peace and Justice. The group has called for a march on Washington on January 27 to end the war. Cagan says, “I do not think anybody really understood just how deeply the feeling against the war is in this country was until Nov. 7th.” [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: We are turning now to another peace activist, joining us now from Washington, D.C., who are calling for President Bush to pull the troops home, as well. Leslie Cagan joins us. She is the head of United for Peace and Justice. Your response, both to hearing Sergeant Ronn Cantu speaking to us from Iraq, as well as President Bush speaking last night from the library in the White House?
LESLIE CAGAN: Yes, hi. Good morning. Well, on one level, we’re not surprised by what the president said. He has been consistent for more than four years now about his commitment to this war. And last night he just reinforced his commitment to this war by actually escalating our involvement by announcing that he’s sending more troops.
I think, in terms of the brave, very brave people inside the military, including the person who we just spoke to in Iraq, who are speaking out against the war, this shows just how deeply the people of this country, including the people who wear the uniform of the United States military, how deeply people feel in their opposition to what the president has brought to us and to the people of Iraq.
This war has to end. It never should have started. It was a war totally based on lies. It has to end. It has to end now.
And really, you know, our message goes out not only to the president, but also to Congress. Congress is beginning — some members of Congress are now beginning to speak up, to make their voices heard. We want to reinforce that. We want the Congress to really speak to the president, in terms of explaining what the American people want. In November, on Election Day in November, there was a nationwide mandate, really, on the war. And I don’t think the pundits and the people who do the analysis of the elections — I don’t think anybody really understood just how deeply the feeling against the war is in this country until November 7. And now we have a new Congress. We’re calling on Congress to stand up to the president and use their power and use their power swiftly, use it now to end this war and bring all of our troops home.
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice. We’re going to break. Then we’ll return, and we’ll go back to Iraq to speak with an Iraqi activist in Najaf. Stay with us.