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Please begin with an informative title:

This is a Caucus diary, created by The Caucus Project group at DailyKos.

The goal of this diary is not to debate the policy position of the diarist; it is for people who support the position statement to discuss and debate proposed ideas for action, and to organize.  The diarist will post a position statement, which will include a solicitation for possible courses of action or a proposal for action, tactics and strategy.

Please read this diary, Caucus Diary Mark II, before commenting here if you are not already familiar with the new Caucus community diaries.

After a week of discussion, many of us on Daily Kos are opposed to military intervention in Syria. My personal opinion is that, at the very least, any military action by the President should 1) have Congressional approval, and 2)follow the Powell Doctrine.

For those not familiar with the Powell Doctrine, here it is:

The Powell Doctrine states that a list of questions all have to be answered affirmatively before military action is taken by the United States:
1) Is a vital national security interest threatened?
2) Do we have a clear attainable objective?
3) Have the risks and costs been fully and frankly analyzed?
4) Have all other non-violent policy means been fully exhausted?
5) Is there a plausible exit strategy to avoid endless entanglement?
6) Have the consequences of our action been fully considered?
7) Is the action supported by the American people?
8) Do we have genuine broad international support?
The position of this diarist is that the requirements of the Powell Doctrine have not been met, and that, at the very least, questions #2,#3,#5, and #6 must be answered in the affirmative, with reasonable specific proofs of why the answer is yes provided to the American people and to Congress, before military action is contemplated.

This is even more true if engaging in Syria is merely one more step toward engaging Iran (there are some indications that may be true:  Possible implications for future relations with Iran; Original source article in NYT)

Since the President is going to go to Congress for authorization, one obvious and important course to take is influencing our representatives and senators to vote `no.' I would like to focus on that next step.

Follow me below the orange squiggle for initial ideas and resources.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

We need 1) a way of bringing pressure on our legislators, and 2) a way of publicizing our efforts (we can't just wait for the MSM to cover us and then get mad when they don't, or when they do but get it wrong).

Ways to bring pressure:

Initial thoughts:  While informing legislators of our positions is still a valid way to bring pressure, separate individual efforts in this regard are comparatively weak tea.  Organized groups of constituents informing legislators of their positions works better (the typical district office visit by 5-15 people that we've all engaged in). But what appears to work best are three forces:  

Reputation (aka how they look in the mass media, and secondarily in their district)

Primary threats


I'd argue that the most effective way for us to bring pressure at this moment is to focus on the first, reputation. IOW, we should ramp up the publicity on each individual legislator's position. Something like a synchronized press conference or a town hall (organized by those of us against the war) in as many of the 435 districts as possible, would be a good tactic, and would be likely to draw MSM attention. If such town halls could include people in the district who are important to the legislator, that would help as well.

Alternatively, a persistent form of political action might be useful, such as a repeated or continuous presence at a district office. But whatever tactics we use should be tailored to the locality and the legislator. One of the most valuable lessons I ever learned from a DFA campaign training was "No cookie-cutter campaigns." Each district is different. I'm a big believer in people who know the locale calling the (organizing) shots.

For instance, one thought I had was that we could bring into the open the amount of campaign contributions 'critters are receiving from the defense industry and the oil and gas pipeline industries:

This is defense contributions, but only aerospace.

Oil and gas donations

Oilfield service and equipment donations

Those would be useful stats for an unsympathetic Congresscritter who has hefty donations from the energy or defense industries. But if you have a sympathetic 'critter, or one who doesn't get a lot of money from the defense or energy industries, obviously that won't be useful.

Ways to Publicize Our Efforts

Initial thoughts: a blogathon  here synchronized with IRL actions. An organized effort to publicize IRL actions on Twitter. On-the-scene filming by citizen reporters uploaded to various sites.

Those are my initial thoughts. If anyone sees a serious flaw in either the underlying assumptions--aka trying to influence critters is a waste of time--or in the specific tactical suggestions, please let me know. And bring all your best ideas to the table! We sure need them.

And we need them fast. We have around 10 days.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Caucus on Tue Sep 03, 2013 at 04:48 AM PDT.

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