What Do YOU Think: Should Antiwar Protesters Be Targeting Loretta Sanchez?

Yesterday morning, six antiwar activists were arrested for refusing to leave Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s (D-Garden Grove) office overnight. The previous evening, the office hosted an open house for the community. Now these folks from Military Families Speak Out and Code Pink sought to ask Loretta Sanchez to sign a pledge to stop funding the Iraq Occupation. And when Loretta didn’t sign their pledge, they pledged to stay at the office and cause a scene. And in that latter pledge, they succeeded.

Now I don’t understand why the antiwar activists are angry at Loretta. She has been on our side on ending the occupation. She voted for all the Democratic proposals to end the occupation AND she voted against the final funding bill with no timeline for withdrawal. Oh yes, and she voted AGAINST the original 2002 bill giving The Dubya authorization to use military force in Iraq. So basically, Loretta has been on our side all along. But for some reason, some antiwar activists don’t like her. Why?

Many of these antiwar activists are my friends. I’ve protested with them before at other locations, and I have been supporting their cause. However, I don’t understand why they are going after Loretta, when they could be using their resources against all the OC Republicans who are still voting for more war. Can you help me understand why?

Should these antiwar activists continue protesting against Loretta Sanchez? Tell me what you think.

  40 comments for “What Do YOU Think: Should Antiwar Protesters Be Targeting Loretta Sanchez?

  1. Publius
    August 9, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Maybe they hadn’t yet figured out that you just can’t bully Loretta.
    Looks like only one of them (possibly two) are constituents, so the District Office went above and beyond by letting them stay there overnight.
    I can’t help but wonder, as residents of Fullerton, HB, Los Angeles, and Costa Mesa, why they didn’t choose to protest at the offices of THEIR OWN Congressional representatives – Royce, Rohrabacher, etc.

  2. Andrew Davey
    August 9, 2007 at 8:57 am

    All true, Publius. This time, it looks like we’re in agreement. Again, many of these folks are my friends. I want to see them succeed, as I also want to see this disastrous occupation come to an end. So why target Loretta? She’s already on our side. OTOH, Royce and Rohrabacher and Miller and Campbell and Calvert are NOT on our side. They’re the ones who are voting to continue this disaster in Iraq, NOT Loretta. So why target her?

    I don’t get it. Why don’t my peace activist friends occupy Crazy Dana’s office? Why don’t they ask “Ken Doll” Campbell to sign a pledge to defund the occupation? Why don’t they grill Dirty Gary at his next gathering at his district office? I just don’t get it.

  3. Light Bulb
    August 9, 2007 at 9:06 am

    The protesters wanted publicity and took advantage of the opportunity. Publius is right. Loretta has gone out of her way for the group. She has shown up to their events, met with them personally, voted to bring the troops home, etc. She has been very candid with them that she is only one vote out of six in Orange County.

    With Loretta being the only accessible member of Congress in the county, it is no surprise that the MFSO is trying to take advantage of the friendship she offered them. Well no more. I used to be sympathic to them, but they only care about themselves and not others who have issues other than the war. Education, Health Care, etc. They will have to try and bully someone else.

  4. August 9, 2007 at 9:18 am

    Excellent and timely post. I hope our friends from MFSO, and Code Pink read this. I also agree the pressure needs to focus on John Campbell and crew.

  5. Andrew Davey
    August 9, 2007 at 9:29 am


    Agreed. I also hope they stop by, so that we can all talk about effective ways to end this mess in Iraq. And yes, we need to target Campbell, as well as all the other OC Reeps who are voting to continue this fiasco in Iraq. Why should our sons and daughters and mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and neighbors and best friends and former coworkers keep dying for the sake of The Dubya’s stubborn-headed refusal to admit his mistakes? That’s another thing I just don’t get.

    So yes, thanks for reminding us of that.

  6. Light Bulb
    August 9, 2007 at 9:29 am

    The MSOF were very disrespectful to her and a disrespectful group in general. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

    Before, they had her attention. Now they have nothing. Now they will have to try and bully one of the other five useless white guys in the county – all of whom voted for and continue to support their inept fearless leader. All five of them a disgrace to the office.

  7. Jason Bensley
    August 9, 2007 at 9:38 am

    In truth, there is only one person who has the power to end this war, the President. Congress has already sent a bill to him and he vetoed it, what are they supposed to do, keep passing the same legislation over and over when they know it will get vetoed? These folks should be at the White House.

  8. Andrew Davey
    August 9, 2007 at 10:49 am

    Light Bulb and Jason-

    Again, you’re both right. Bush and his CReepy friends in Congress are the ones who are prolonging this occupation. The Democrats tried to put an end to it, but Bush vetoed it. What can be done? I’m sure the Democrats are thinking of something… So why attack them?

    And again, why attack Loretta? She didn’t even vote for the Supplemental. She’s been voting to end the war. Why target her? I’d understand why she and her staff may no longer trust folks like MFSO and Code Pink. If Loretta’s already giving us everything we want, why should we keep giving her misery?

  9. Robin Marcario
    August 9, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    I also spoke with Loretta at her Open House. She was respectful of the half a dozen people who chose to sit in and protest.
    I took the opportunity to thank her personally for coming to our Central Garden Grove Neighborhood Association annual meeting held in mid-July, well attended by 135 concerned residents. At the meeting she spoke frankly about the dire state of our military personal and equipment. She stated it would take four to five years to recover and rebuild our military to pre-war levels.
    In my opinion she is doing everything she can to represent our military and citizens by speaking both publicly and privately to her constituents. She is to be commended for her accessibility and dedication to our community and country.

  10. Anonymous
    August 9, 2007 at 1:15 pm

    Geez Lousie. Damn South County Hippies. Go sit in at John Campbells office.

  11. Andrew Davey
    August 9, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    Robin- Good points, all of them. Loretta was VERY respectful to all of us that met her before the MFSO folks spoke to her. It’s sad to see something like this happen.

    Anon- Haha. I love all your “damn fill in the blank hippies” statements. 😉

  12. PB
    August 10, 2007 at 8:52 am

    I don’t get it either. Completely inappropriate target. Sanchez is definitely a white hat.

  13. Light Bulb
    August 10, 2007 at 9:46 am

    These protesters are only looking at this issue in black and white. Our inept president has created a monumental mess of this issue, both here at home and abroad. And these people want her to sign a petition that will supposedly end it all?! How clueless do you have to be? They have know idea what it is like for Loretta and the other members trying to end this war. They haven’t clue one.

    What the MFSO have turned this into is a game – for themselves. They push useless petitions, create havoc to get on TV, protest friends rather than enemies and then pat themselves on the back for all the attention they made – for themselves. Even if Loretta was their lap dog, they would still never donate to her, walk precincts for her, make phone calls for her, organize rallies for her, etc. They will continue to support losing candidates in other districts and what is the most interesting tidbit of all… the other five lazy white republicants are sitting in their offices completely untouched.

    Military Families Speak Out = useless and disrepectful organization.

  14. Desiree
    August 10, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    First, I would like to say that “Light Bulb” is attacking an organization (MFSO) that is anything but useless. These are the family members of those who are fighting and dying in this occupation – useless? Hardly – one could easily argue that they would be the most listened to amongst the anti-war crowd – their sacrifice is greater than yours and mine. As far as disrespectful – well, I suppose I would wonder what modicum of respect you may show for those who are sending your loved ones off to die in a war we cannot possibly win. Make it personal and see how different you may feel about treating those who make these decisions with “respect”.

    Secondly, I would like to say that I am proud to have been amongst this committed group of individuals who stepped up to ask Loretta Sanchez to be a leader, make a statement. Understand that NO ONE expected the war to end had Loretta signed the PLEDGE (NOT petition) – we were looking for her to come out and be vocal about her committment to ending the occupation. Does it not bother any of you that most of the Dems who voted against the funding last time did so quietly? At this point, they should be shouting this from a hilltop – being the leaders we elected them to be.

    Also, let me point out that just because Loretta is a Democrat – she is no “ally” to the liberal or progressive movement. She is a BLUE DOG Democrat. Blue Dogs have mostly come out in support of continuing the occupation (and greatly assisted in the passing of the new surveillence bill).

    I’m glad she voted against funding last time – wish she would have made it more known to the public beforehand, but hey, she did the right thing. When asked to publicly commit to doing the right thing again, she failed to do so. Simple as that.

    Further, Loretta never offered friendship to MFSO. Do you know how long they waited and what they had to go through to get their meeting with her, only to have her tell them there was nothing she could do – go bug the Republicans? Well, sorry – the Democrats are in control and Bush CANNOT VETO THE SUPPLEMENTAL. Once there are amendments like before, yes he can veto – but he cannot veto a vote on funds alone, so the argument that Republicans need to get on board and its not up to the Democrats is not true.

    I am wondering when it became okay to give a free pass to an elected official because of the letter next to their name. I am a Democrat and a delegate for the party, but my committment is to ending the occupation, not to the Democratic party.

  15. Aunt Millie
    August 10, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    With loved ones in Iraq, I have to give plaudits to MSFO. Our kids are bleeding out in the sands of Iraq every day, returning home maimed and tormented. Although Loretta’s been better than most on the war, she doesn’t get a pass until this war ends and our troops are back home.

    The tragedy here is that we know that there is no point in trying to appeal to the better sense of crazy peole like Dana Rohrabacher or the car dealer heir, while we attack eminently sane people like Loretta.

  16. Andrew Davey
    August 10, 2007 at 1:19 pm


    Thanks for coming onto The Liberal OC. I appreciate your response. And yes, I agree with you that this occupation needs to end.

    Still, I must question why some folks in the peace movement are beating up on Loretta Sanchez. Is she perfect? No. Is she a “Blue Dog”? Yes. But for a “Blue Dog” from a “purple” OC district, Loretta’s a pretty good ally for us to have.

    Loretta voted AGAINST authorizing the war in 2002. She’s voted for just about every single “Out of Iraq” measure to reach the floor this year. And when that flawed supplemental bill reached the floor, she voted against it. And yes, SHE’S TOLD THIS TO EVERY ONE WHO’S ASKED HER. If this isn’t leadership, then I don’t know what is.

    Now I know that MFSO has met with Royce’s people and Rohrabacher’s people (and Campbell’s, too?). Why hasn’t MFSO done protests at any of their events? Let’s remember that the REPUBLICANS are the ones who are blocking progress on ending the occupation. So why not get to the root of the problem instead of fighting folks who are part of the solution?

    I have much respect for you, Desiree. Same goes to Pat and Thu-trang and everyone else at MFSO and Code Pink. That’s why it hurts me to ask them why they’re targeting Loretta. I want to see you succeed in ending this war. That’s why I’m thinking that MFSO and Code Pink need to rethink strategy.

  17. Desiree
    August 10, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks, Andrew. I know Loretta’s voting record – all of us who took part in the action are well aware of her votes. Which is why we remained hopeful that she would publicly commit to no more funds – if she is such a leader on this issue, why not take the opportunity to stand with military families and publicly comment on this?

    I would say leadership is Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey along with Dennis Kucinich. They take every opportunity to be very vocal critics of the war – you never wonder where they stand and they would not hesitate to announce to a room full of people that they pledge not to commit any more funds. Can you say the same for Loretta? She has already proven that you cannot.

    Yes, I agree, she is willing to tell anyone who asks her about her previous votes – but why not come out BEFORE a vote and take a stand? Many theorize that only once certain Dems (Blue Dogs some would say) wait to make certain how something will play out before voting – such as making sure the occupation will be funded because the votes are there – and only then coming out to vote against it, knowing your vote will not change anything, so as to allow the war to continue. You know who profits from this war continuing? The Democrats will, they will pick up more seats as a result of the continuing occupation and people thinking that, although the Dems are in control, it is the Republicans who are to blame. It is playing politics with our soldier’s lives and this is not okay.

  18. David Martin
    August 10, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    What is more liberal and progressive than trying to stop a war of choice and agression that is nothing but a quagmire? Yes, Rep. Sanchez voted against the AUMF in 2002, but that was nearly 5 years ago. The Democrats were elected in a landslide to end the war, yet they keep funding operations and approving the surge. Do the majority of voters who elected her actually believe that pledging to end funding for the war and the war itself actually makes her weak on national defense?

    Also, OCPC, MFSO, VFW, PDA, and the other groups and members who support this action are not targetting Rep. Sanchez alone. There have been sit-ins and meetings with the Republican House members from Orange County. But if there’s anyone who should support aggressive actions to end the war and bring our troops home, it should be our Democratic Congressmember.

    Furthermore, Rep. Sanchez has refused to meet with members of MFSO in the past, based on the intractability of her political stance. We all know this venture in Iraq is going to end eventually, and probably violently and messier than when we entered. It’s simply a question of how many more Americans must die needlessly.

    As for the spineless anonymous name calling above, if wanting to end war makes one a hippie, then I’d be proud and honored to be called one.

    Dave Martin
    US Army veteran (13 years)

  19. Publius
    August 10, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Like so many who call themselves activists on these issues you are very well-intentioned, but hopelessly misguided.
    First, I don’t understand what you mean by Democrats voting “quietly.” Last I checked all votes in Congress are public. It is up to the public and the media to determine the “volume” of a vote. To expect Loretta’s office to send out some sort of media alert about her vote is ridiculous, as I believe they have never done so on any vote.
    Second, Congresswoman Sanchez (the elder, no accent mark) is indeed a member of the Blue Dog caucus, and has been since her election 11 years ago. By claiming that “Blue Dogs have MOSTLY [my emphasis] come out in support of continuing the occupation (and greatly assisted in the passing of the new surveillence[sic] bill)” you insinuate that Loretta has joined them on these issues. I’d like you to point to any evidence that she has – on either issue.
    Third, elected officials are busy people, with lots of issues to deal with and lots of people request meetings. Loretta works in Washington 4 days a week and has events in the district on most weekends. EVERY group that meets with her has to jump through hoops and wait their turn. The fact that representatives from MFSO met personally with the Congresswoman and not a high level staffer should tell you that the ongoing undeclared “war” in Iraq is a priority for her.
    In your next statement you attempt to compare Loretta to members who represent Marin, Berkeley, and South LA. Four of the most liberal members of Congress who represent three of the most liberal districts in the country (I am not as familiar with the Ohio district). The three CA Congresswomen you cited often face no opponent in their re-election, rarely campaign locally or spend any money, and win every cycle by overwhelming margins. This isn’t the case in CD 47.
    Finally, your assertion that Democrats are continuing the mess in Iraq in order to win more seats in 2008 is patently absurd. To claim they are using this issue as political strategy is bizarre and inflammatory. You lost any shred of credibility with that ridiculous statement.

  20. Jarret
    August 10, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks for this important forum. At least this small space on the Internet still allows for unencumbered discussion.

    As one of the (in)famous Sanchez 6, let me state that I had many reservations targeting Congresswoman Sanchez – but not because she’s a Democrat. Her party affiliation never once entered my mind. This war is not about Democrats or Republicans, nor is it about Blue Dogs or PDA’s. Instead, it is about the loss of innocent life. Instead, I had reservations because – yes – her voting record is not terrible. But what we need is leadership. Someone who will not silently cast a vote, but someone who will be front and center and vocal. Someone who will speak for us and constantly make this war a priority.

    Above, someone accused MFSO of only thinking of themselves and their issue while ignoring the effect targeting Loretta would have on the economy, health care, the environment. Am I missing something? Is not the war inextricably linked to our economy, to our dependency upon fossil fuels rather than clean and renewable engery sources, to the 45 million Americans without health care – not to mention the soldiers with inadequate health care, to an economy where money for jobs is absent but money for war is prevalent?

    Politics 101 says that those without power should hold the those with power accountable. Now that the Dems have the power in Congress, we all must hold them accountable. Politics 101 says that Congress has the power of the purse, and it is Congress that has the power to end this war. Stop blaming the President. The power of the purse is veto-proof! That’s how to end this war.

    Finally, any reservations I had about this action quickly vanished once I stepped into her lobby and saw the makeshift shrine that he has to Boeing. Virtually every picture of Loretta has her in the cockpit of a fighter-jet, riding in a tank, or standing arm-in-arm with the military generals. No yellow ribbons, no “support our troops, bring them home” placcards, nothing. She does have several large posters displaying Boeing’s destructive capabilities. Does this really convey pro-peace leadership?

  21. Desiree
    August 10, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    Although you may not agree that politicians are not above playing politics with peoples lives, that does not make it any less true. The first job of every politician is to get elected, and you said yourself in your post that Loretta cannot be a leader such as Maxine Waters because of her chances of being re-elected…being afraid to speak out because you may lose your seat is not an excuse for lack of leadership. Those who rise above that game of politics INSPIRE people to vote for them, and they manage to stay in office and be a leader at the same time. If you think I am the only one who thinks this is a political strategy for the Dems, think again.

    I suppose I have higher standards for who represents me in Congress, and I am thankful that I do. How I choose to lobby my representative is up to me. If you disagree, fine. I suppose our strategies are different. As long as we are both working to end the war, I have nothing to really argue about with you. We simply subscribe to different camps.

  22. Just an observer
    August 10, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Hey, Desi-
    How about using some of your keystrokes to defend some of your earlier statements that were challenged above?
    Or are you too busy tuning your guitar and gathering us all in a circle for another round of Kumba Ya?
    Leaving them undefended as you did makes it appear you are unable to defend them.
    You admit that Loretta votes your way MOST of the time, and then you say she is afraid to speak out?
    What color is the sky in your crazy world?

  23. Andrew Davey
    August 10, 2007 at 3:27 pm


    No problem. This blog is here FOR progressives in Orange County to discuss the issues. That’s our job.

    And on that note, time for me to get a little persnickety here. So you don’t like Loretta meeting with defense/aerospace contractors? Unfortunately, they’re still big employers here. And yes, they employ a lot of UNION workers here. We get rid of Boeing, we get rid of jobs. Now do you see why Loretta poses next to that Boeing jet?


    Again, I feel your pain. I wish Loretta can be more progressive. However, she doesn’t have the same district that Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey and Maxine Waters have. In those areas, the only real election is THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY. Here, Loretta looks at the scant SIX POINT REGISTRATION EDGE for Democrats and Bush’s 50% in 2004, and sees a moderate district.

    Ultimately if we want to elect more PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS in Orange County, we must MAKE THESE DISTRICTS MORE PROGRESSIVE. Register more Democrats. Get more voters involved. Since our representatives are supposed to represent us, the only way for us to elect more progressives is to make the electorate more progressive.

  24. Army brat
    August 10, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Are not the men and women in our military part of the all volunteer army, Desiree? Please clarify that for me. As far as I know, they were not drafted. They volunteered for military service under President George W. Bush. Correct?

  25. Desiree
    August 10, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Hi “Just an observer” – I am able to quickly observe that you, unlike myself, are unwilling to identify yourself and stand behind your words.

    The fact is I am at work and do not have the time to compile the facts for you. Accusations were made that I insinuated things which I did not. I will not waste my time defending myself to people with whom I simply will not end up agreeing with anyway.

    Again, are you doing anything helpful by attacking others who are simply trying to make the world a better place? I suppose it is easy to sit anonymously behind your computer and insult others while others are out making an actual difference. Shame on you.

  26. Light Bulb
    August 10, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Yes Desiree,

    You and your group are disrespectful. You are not the only one that has an issue important to you. Does the constituent that is facing deportation believe their issue is less important than yours? Does the single mom (with kids) living paycheck to paycheck think your issue is more important than hers?

    Do you really think Loretta has time to spend every single waking moment devoted to just the war in Iraq? WAKE UP! Loretta is many different things to many different people. She is leader to most of us Dems in the county. She is dealing with not only Iraq but immigration, the economy, health care, education, crime, women’s rights, the Vietnamese community, the Arab American community. She is the only elected official who gives a damn about EVERYONE, not just MFSO. She cares about everyone.

    If you don’t like her, then move to one of the more liberal districts where you “think” your voice will be heard.

    Oh and BTW – I guess Jarrett just happened to “forget” the Iraq and Afghan War Memorial on the front wall of her district office and the framed pictures of all the brave men and women currently serving in the military – also in her front office. Just like your group, you only tell half the truth.

    Neither of you have a freaking clue due to your selfishness. Go try and mess with someone else. Loretta will never be bullied by you.

  27. Army Brat
    August 10, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Loretta is also trying to make the world a better place. I am sorry she is not meeting your standards, but she is meeting mine. My father and grandfather were in several wars and she has stood up for them every single time. Please stop belittling their service to my country.

  28. David Martin
    August 10, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Army Brat, let me answer the question you posed to Desiree. Assuming by your moniker that you are not a veteran of the armed services yourself, yes, we have a volunteer service. But they did not volunteer for service under President Bush. We are not like Nazi Germany, in which all members of the Wehrmacht and other branches swore an allegiance to the Fuhrer. When we make our oath, we pledge our service and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, and that they will obey the orders of the President and the officers above them, not to any specific person. (If that were true, I would be beholden to Ronald Reagan under my first oath, and to George H.W. Bush when I was commissioned.)

    That said, just because we volunteered does not mean that we volunteered to advance the personal vendettas of one man, or to be misled by manipulated intelligence into a war of aggression against a country that did not attack us, no matter what George W. Bush alleges. We did not volunteer to occupy a country going through a civil war and die needlessly while neither their government nor their security forces do what they need to do to establish a safe country.

    In other words, we do not give our lives easily, and we expect that if our nation calls us to serve overseas or give the ultimate sacrifice, it is for a reason worthy of that sacrifice.

  29. Susan Freeze
    August 10, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    I totally stand behind Congresswoman Sanchez, I do not always agree with her, but I don’t know any two people who agree with each other 100% of the time.

    There were 40 Blue Dogs who voted for Bush’s “Spy Bill” Loretta was not one of them. Go after the Dems who did.

  30. josh
    August 10, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    ummm… hell yes?
    this question was answered by the suffergettes who went after democrats that refused to put the woman’s right to vote front and center. and thank heaven they did. when the dixiecrats broke away from the party, should the democrats that continued to oppose integration and equal rights have been given a free pass?

    in the la times, loretta admitted to voting for war funding merely because it brought home defense $ to her district. isnt she bright enough to figure a way to bring home the bacon that ISNT attatched to a war she (supposedly) stands morally opposed to?

    the question isnt “should they be protesting her?” but, rather, “why do you support her?

  31. David Martin
    August 10, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Also, Army Brat, I know that Desiree and Jarret have the utmost respect for service members and veterans and the service they have given to our country. In what way has she belittled the service of your father or grandfather? I think this insult to your forebears may be an imagined one.

  32. Andrew Davey
    August 10, 2007 at 5:50 pm


    Remember that we’re not talking about George W. Bush, or Dirty Gary Miller, or even a REAL Blue Dog like Joe Baca or Dennis Cardoza here. We’re talking about Loretta Sanchez, someone who may not be a “pure progressive”… But pretty damn close for an Orange County “Blue Dog”!

    She voted against the 2002 war resolution. She voted against the PATRIOT Act. She voted against the Military Commissions Act. She voted against the supplemental bill. What more could we want?

    Are all Democrats perfect? No. But for a “conservative OC Democrat”, Loretta’s actually on our side much more often than we give her credit for. Yet in the mean time, the Republicans here get meetings with us… But when do we turn the pressure ON THEM? If we want to do something to end the war, maybe we should start changing votes instead of irritating our allies.

  33. Just an observer
    August 10, 2007 at 11:05 pm

    OK, Desiree
    It’s been 8 hours now since you posted that you were at work and unable to take the time to research any facts to back up your earlier statements. I’ve had time to finish work, drive home, have dinner with friends, watch some TV, and return to read your arguments. But nothing. Just an attack on me for using a pseudonym. I don’t know you, Desiree. But there are likely a few hundred women who share your first name. I don’t understand how using just your first name is any less anonymous than using a pen name.
    I’m anxious to read your response to the questions raised earlier. Hope you can find something to back up your claims.
    I’ll keep checking in the morning, and keep commenting until I hear something from you – even if it’s “I can’t find anything” as I suspect it will be.

  34. August 10, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    Dear Friends,
    Military Families Speak Out is an organization made up of families and loved ones in the military who support the troops, want them home now and work daily to take care of them when they get home. We are a non-partisan national organization of over 3,500 families and are the largest anti war group of families ever. We organized before the war in Iraq began. We have had many pro-war people, mostly right wingers, accuse us of not supporting the troops,but of course, a clear majority of Americans want the troops home now, so I found it a little odd that there was such hostility wa scoming from our more liberal political friends here. This is why Cindy Sheehan has left the democratic party because she said they are more interested in winning the election than ending the war. Let me assure you, we had and continue to have a great deal of support from here and around the country for standing up for what we believe, just as Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez did. We do not play politics and we and are actually a non-profit. I think many of the good folks on this blog are democrats and you all should know that we did not target her for her political affiliation. As a matter of fact, many members of MFSO who are democrats were very disillusioned after the democrats won both houses because they expected more leadership like Kucinich. Nevertheless, MFSO is all about ending the war by pushing congress to vote against the funding. This is the constitutional power we want highlighted and what many democrats don’t want to talk about. We say just put no money in the upcoming supplemental budget for war and Bush will be forced to bring the troops home. So why isn’t this happening? IWe don’t give a whit whether or not they can get the votes needed to pass this or any other bill right now. It’s about the funding. You do the right thing. It is immoral to vote to fund a war that we know was wrong in the first place for any reason. First let me give you some background on the relationship between MFSO and our local actions. We, as other chapters around the country, had been setting up meetings with our congressional representatives. We really didn’t have many members who had reps in South County, so John Campbell was just targeted by us a few months ago when we confronted him at a town hall meeting and he immediately agreed to a meeting in August which we should still have. However, you should know that we have been to his office, called regularly and had an action there for Christmas. We have shown up and confronted and disrupted in an organized way at at least three public events that Ed Royce had. We also, went to two Academy Nights to talk to all those Academy recruits he invited to his Open House, and are scheduled to do another in September. We also did weekly sit ins in his office. Many democrats were invited to join us, but really, we mostly had MFSO, OCPC members and Iraq Veterans Against the War show up. This resulted in a very productive meeting with him where he treated us respectfully and wanted to know what we thought would happen if we left Iraq. He said he knew we should get out, but said for him it was just a matter of how to get out with the minimum bloodshed. We have more meetings with him coming up. We want him to join the Chuck Hagel group and go public and break with republicans. We are still working on that and his office is still open to us. Many of you are very aware of our on-going feud with Dana
    Rohrbacher. We went so far as going to his home. We have disrupted several of his public events and earned the Courage Campaign award for pretty much turning the tables on his debate against Jim Brandt and managed to get him to run from a meet and greet afterwards. I cannot tell you how many times we have targeted this man, but actions included the HB parade, his press conference in front of the Old Post Offfice and even his office in DC, which included many other peace groups. There are only so many hours in a day, and of course we are limited by how many members we get in certain districts, but our relationship with Loretta Sanchez could not in anyway be described as friendly. If anything, she has been done her best to ignore us and our families. Many times we were treated disrespectfully and put pff with such remarks by her staff as, “Well war isn;t pretty”, or “She doesn’t need to speak with you or your group, she has already spoken with other families”, (presumably supportive of the war). This has been disheartening, but her record of the war was fairly good. We needed a commitment however. We had been trying to get a meeting with her for well over a year to offer our support and let her know we were with her about ending the war, but wanted her to make a public statement that the troops should come home now. Raul Luna, her field directory always responded immediately, and gave us plenty of his time but she wouldn’t meet with us. We offered to do a press conference with her in solidarity, help her get support to speak out, but we always got the run around and were not able to get a meeting with her for a longer period than any other representative in Congress in OC-all republicans! Over a year! Anyway, it didn’t seem as critical at the time since her vote was pretty good. We held a 24 hour vigil when we hit the 3, 000 death mark and held this event held right in her district and for weeks would get no clear answer whether she would come. We planned it when she was on break. We promised her support. We got a letter and even though they had plenty of notice they couldn’t even send out a representative from her office to read a letter-not even an intern. Then we asked her to please speak at an anti-war rally on the 4th anniversary of the war. We planned to march to her office and asked very respectfully if she would at least address the crowd in support of ending the war. Her office gave no commitment to even address us or send a rep even, though there was plenty of notice,we sent formal requests and again promised support and appreciation since she agreed with our goals. Not even an intern was sent again. Many were very disappointed. Finally, we got word from our national organization wanted us to get a commitment from Loretta Sanchez about defunding because she is on Homeland Security and, most importantly on the Armed Services committee. Still, she would not meet with us although we called regularly and were promised a meeting. We publicly awarded her a bouquet of roses at a military Mothers luncheon to thank her of voting against the funding. (She invited a general as a keynote speaker by the way , who made a case for staying the course, so we began to realize the commitment wasn’t strong). Finally, when we did get a meeting with her just late last June, it was with 5 days notice and she prettry much walked out of the meeting acting like we were nuts because we were not for timelines, just de-funding. We should all be clear by now that is the only real power congress has. All the legislation is sure to be vetoed by Bush. The Iraq Veterans Against the War members felt particularly disrespedted. Now the reason for the sit in. Actually, mfso and supporters were very concerned about her lack of commitment and spent many hours trying to find out how she would vote for the upcoming supplemental bill to fund the war in September. If funding is given, Bush will have all the money he needs to do whatever he wants about the war and will merely veto everything coming his way. Congress will give him a free pass until the his term is up. The moment of truth. We heard there was an Open House and stood in line very respectfully with a small core of members and supporters because there was a very large group of MFSO supporters in the lobby. We asked her to sign a pledge to de-fund. She reminded us of how she voted against funding last time and actually said she couldn’t go back that way “once you’ve voted against the funding. ” We were pleased actually, and some of us took this to mean it was a promise to defund, but when she promised to look over the pledge and get back to us later it’s a good thing in hindsight we sensed we were getting the runaround again and asked her to at least address the large group in the lobby. She said she would try, and we kept reminding the staff that we were waiting and then they told us we were out of time. About 20 people were upset because she ignored this large group,particulary a distraught mom whose son was about to be deployed. So they sat down and started reading the names of the dead in her office. Some went home disgusted at the slight, and a smaller group began reading the names while she tried to greet more people in line. An aide told us she left the building . We told the aide we would not leave until we got a commitment from her , so he told us we were wecome to stay and we knew where the bathrooms were. Anyway, we were right to suspect that she might vote to fund the war. If you read the article in the LA Times where she was asked for a response to the action and she said she would vote for the supplemental bill to continue the war because California would benefit from getting the C17 aircraft business. I do not care to know why she is willing to sacrifice the lives of hundreds more of our soldiers and thousands more innocent Iraqis for business. Apparently, we were right to do this because now we know so many of us were wrong to assume she would vote against the funding again. As far as wanting to get arrested, believe me no one wanted to get arrested and we imagined we could go home to our famiies before dinner. No one could have guessed that we would have to go through so much difficulty. Over 20 detectives basically stormed six totally peaceful and compliant people and were not treated well at all. So many of you have been there for us trying to help us get meetings and working to end the war in so many ways. Now is when we need you most to please do everything you can to convince Sanchez she is about to make a horrible, tragic mistake. All of you who support her-maybe she will listen to you. Please help us convince her we care more about bringing our troops home than giving 2 billion dollars to Boeing. Our soldiers are not free to speak out . They need us right now to do it for them-don’t abandon them.

  35. Northcountystorm
    August 11, 2007 at 1:49 am

    For the folks who are whining about Congresswoman Sanchez here’s a suggestion: since virtually all of you live OUTSIDE her congressional district go cast the beam out of your own congressmember’s eye. I know its a lot easier to sit in the Congresswoman’s office or demand that she take some non-binding , unofficial pledge thought up by your leadership but why not try to get things changed the old fashioned way? Go home where your members are opposing setting timelines for getting out, who have always opposed cutting funds for the Iraq war and who refuse to support deauthorizing the war and start organizing. Start walking precincts. See if the people in YOUR community support your position. Support a candidate who wants to cut off funding tommorrow and is pure as Ivory Snow. Do it.

    Loretta has been a good vote on the Iraq War and if you had been to some of her events over the past few years you would have heard her talk about the War, her visits to Iraq and the need to end the war immediately. You people are the first I’ve ever heard describe her as being quiet. LOL.

    Something tells me that you won’t.go out and work in your own precincts and Districts it’s a lot harder doing that then doing a drive by sit in. maybe that’s what that fella was taught in politics 101. I don’t think you’ve got in in you to do it the old fashioned way. Easier to show up, disrupt, a few get arrested and then have people call in and beg or demand not to press charges.

    Sanchez has been a great Congresswoman on a whole variety of issues. We support her for these issues and as Andrew said, even if she’s not perfect she is great for this area. Some people on the left seem to view Democrats as the low hanging fruit to attack. Anyone with even a slightly different view of what is right or a slightly different tactical position is suddenly Public Enemy #1. We saw the result of that type of thinking in 2000 when Ralph Nader helped elect George Bush—and we got the quagmire you are complaining about as a result. And continued attacks onlCongresswoman Sanchez in such a marginal district only hurt her chances for re-election. But maybe you’d like your chances on the Iraq War with a Congressman Van Tran?

    And as long as you’re passing out non-binding pledges, are y’all willing to sign a pledge to support the war effort in Afghanistan to capture Bin Laden and destroy Al Qaeda, or are you from the Ward Churchill School of Revisionist History?

  36. David Sonneborn
    August 11, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Thank you Desiree, David Martin, Josh and, of course, Pat Alviso-

    Otherwise, It was more than just painfully clear to me from Andrew’s first post on that this particular group of self-anointed, self-proclaimed, self-selected, self-labeled spokespeople / leaders and political strategists of the OC Democrats were care-less about either the facts or the intentions of Military Families Speak Out in this particular situation, much less about an at all accurate account of its past involvements or immediate future plans for “targets” in addition to Loretta Sanchez. I do not doubt that Andrew, himself, was, and remains, well intentioned. I do not anticipate that many, if any, will alter any of their care-less perceptions about the actualities of MFSO.

    I first opened Andrew’s initial posting, not from this blog site but from his email to the state progressive cause yahoo group. I may have been one of the very few who actually clicked on to the web sites that Andrew posted. It was more than just painful for me to learn that he had gotten his “news” from the Orange County Register, rather than from the article in the LA Times, that came out on the same morning. And then I went to this blog site, with at the time, the first 13 respondents – a group proclaiming that , for one purportedly unchallengible dictum or another, all “anti war protesters” must adopt its political strategy, and that any other strategy, no matter what the motivation or purpose, was, in effect – and in the vitriolic comments of several responders, in fact – heresy. The irony of the charges of disrespect by several is more than just troubling.

    I have seen and heard the political strategy techniques practiced by the above respondents many, many times before, including from many of these same respondents, but also during several other of this country’s, and the world’s, darkest moments, evidently from times before the real world awareness or participation of at least most of the respondents. Still, or perhaps more pressing. I personally view our current existence as the most severely threatening in my own lifetime.

    I personally am a very active volunteer not only within the democratic party at local, state and national levels, but also the same for several progressive groups. In particular, much to the feigned criticism of certain easily identifiable participants in this blog, I have worked, and continue to work, hard on the ground with these groups. I am also a very active volunteer engaged in each of several issues that I deem critical.

    Fortunately, I do not belong to a military family. However, as Andrew and others, I have participated with MFSO. As Pat has reminded you, MFSO is an “anti war protester” group alright, but it does not speak or act on behalf of the democratic party, any progressive organization, or any other organization.

    These are indeed treacherous times. Pat has attempted to reach out to you. You do not have a monopoly on political strategy, no matter how ardently you may attempt to fan each other’s flames to the contrary. I can hope that you will listen to her plea, and even more improbable, consider that plea for its substance. The moment in history is much too critical to do otherwise.

  37. Andrew Davey
    August 11, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Pat and David-

    Thanks for coming on, and for explaining to us why MFSO did what it did. Again, I also want this war to end. I want to see the troops come home ASAP. I just don’t see why we need to get hostile with out ONE ally in the OC Congressional Delegation.

    Loretta has been the ONLY Member of Congress in Orange County to actually do something that helps our troops. While the Republicans may agree to meet with groups like MFSO and give their typical “I support the troops” BS, Loretta has been the only one to make sure that the troops have all their proper gear, and she’s been the only one who’s actually voted for all the exit strategies that have reachedthe House floor. And in the end, isn’t that what matters?

    Again, I usually like to PRAISE MFSO, Code Pink, and the other peace groups for all their hard work that goes toward ending this horrid occupation of Iraq. However, I just don’t see how continued hostility toward Loretta Sanchez will help in ending the occupation. So why not target the Republicans? And if they don’t do what we ask them to do, THEN WE SUPPORT CHALLENGERS to run against them next year!

    The only way we’ll get out o Iraq is if we start changing the votes in Congress. And since Loretta is already on our side, we need to start changing the OTHER votes from our OC Congresscritters. So why don;t we all stat working on that?

  38. Out-of-County Left Leaner
    August 11, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Take a look at the rest of the world, ‘Lib$’ of OC. They’re sick and tired of the U.$. invading other countries for profit. They’re sick and tired of the U.S. military industrial congressional complex killing off the ‘other-colored’ peoples of the planet for profit.

    Get a grip, you self-righteous, it’s all about me-me-me OC ‘lib$’. Those brave six arrestees are the only true LIBERALS on this blog . Shake their hands the next time you see them. Honor their courage. Strive to be the compassionate people that they have proven themselves to be.

    Orange County’s future leaders have arrived on the OC ‘liberal’ scene.
    Get used to them. Looks like they aren’t goin’ anywhere soon.

    Congratulations to all those people who dared to stand up and challenge the conservative democratic Orange County status quo.

    Tear down that Orange Curtain, liberals!

    I salute you.

    Out-of-County Left Leaner

  39. Andrew Davey
    August 11, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    Out-of-County Left-

    You really proved that with your uninformed, spiteful comment. You obviously don’t know how hard we Democrats have worked in Orange County. It may be easy for you “out of county lefties” to trash us for “enabling DLC Rethuglican-lite Corprocrats”, but you obviously HAVE NO IDEA what it takes to get more Democrats elected here.

    Again, Loretta Sanchez has done everything we could possibly ask her to do to end this war. And what kind of thanks does she get? NONE! And we OC Democrats work our asses off to get more Democrats like Loretta elected to local, state, and federal office. And what thanks do we get? NONE!

    So go ahead and continue spitting in our faces. The more you do so to us, the less respect we have for “out of county lefties” like you who bash us and trash us for everything, but NEVER come down here to help us when we need your help! While I typically don’t like being “uncivil” toward commenters, I refuse to let you trash the hardworking Democrats here who make a real difference here in our community.

    And puh-leese, if you think we’re conservative, then I guess you’ve never seen a real Republican before…

  40. David Martin
    August 11, 2007 at 4:40 pm

    OOCLL, I think you understand why Rep. Sanchez’s reason doesn’t suffice those of us who are opposed to war. It’s an endless loop that Eisenhower warned us about. You have a permanent military and defense spending as the number one industry in the country. Problem is, once you make a bullet, a bomb, a tank, a warplane, an aircraft carrier, a nuclear missile, etc., at some point you have to use it. It actually costs a tremendous amount of money to store and stockpile these things (thereby contributing more money to the MICC). Actually, Noam Chomsky posited that one of the main reasons for the first Gulf War was to expend the stockpiles left over from the Cold War after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and Soviet Union.

    This latest Iraq war was the first one to be fought under the whole Transformation concept — and we see how that has failed miserably. The idea was to make a leaner military that could get to the fight faster, and with new weapons “platforms” (expensive systems like FCS), wins wars faster with fewer soldiers. The money “saved” would be invested in more expensive systems like Star Wars and other weapons platforms (like the F-22 and the DD-X) that are completely irrelevant and unnecessary in 4th Generation Warfare like Iraq and Afghanistan.

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