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I am in London and in 3 hours will be on the plane to Jordan for meeting tomorrow and Saturday with members of the Iraqi Parliament - see previous blog and Global Exchange. I have spent the 12 hour layover reading a book that someone gave me a couple of weeks ago - can't recall who - "The End of Iraq" by Peter Galbraith. It is very informative on all aspects leading up to our invasion and what is happening now and the different factions and conflicting interests - a valuable resource and a different perspective that Greg Palasts' book, Armed madhouse.  Along with the briefing information provided for this trip, I'm going into these meetings well prepared.

Because I'm a big believer in the power of our visions, I spent some of this travel time creating a picture of what I'd like to see come from these meetings:

1. The development of a clear understanding of what the Iraqi leaders see as the most realistic direction to take from here - including a timetable for withdrawal. I am completely open to hearing all sides and to putting back the 4 items that were removed from their original Reconciliation Plan.

2. Consensus on a Plan for ending the hostilities and violence in Iraq and ending the US occupation that the Iraqi leadership are confident they can "sell" to the Iraqi Parliament that all factions will be willing to commit to and the American people will agree is also in our best interest.

3. Bringing this plan back to the US and presenting it to all Congressional candidates, both incumbents and opponents, and persuading them to sign on to making approval of this plan our first action in the 110th Congress. And agreeing to make this a part of their campaign message over the next 98 days.

4. Bringing this plan to the American people and convincing them it is in their best interest to elect candidates who have agreed to make this their first priority.

In this way, I think that we, the people, can circumvent the military/industrial interests that are prolonging our involvement in this occupation. I like the term that a friend used on Wednesday night - "we can all become citizen diplomats".

I realize that there are no simple solutions to this quagmire. It no longer matters how we got into this mess. (It matters but it's not where we have to focus right now). It is imperative that we extract ourselves from it as quickly as possible with the least damage to our security, the least loss of life to Americans and Iraqis and the least threat from the foreign extremists who have turned this military disaster to their advantage.

I'm out of battery power and Internet time so cutting this short - I welcome your feedback.

Jeeni Criscenzo for Congress
V. 760-529-9809 F. 760-859-3106
PO Box 927, Oceanside, CA 92049-0927

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model which makes the existing model obsolete." --Buckminster Fuller

Originally posted to JeeniCriscenzo on Thu Aug 03, 2006 at 12:31 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Be safe and stay strong (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peace voter, sc kitty, macromayhem

    We so need your voice. Thank you for your resolve to see the change we need. I will look forward to hearing your report when you return.

    Recommended by:

    Why does everything have to be in our best interests. What happened to the best interests of the Iraqi people and the whole middle east. This is their part of the world not ours. We have divided these people to fight against each other just like we did in vietnam where we should have NEVER gotten involved. How soon we forget history and its lessons. We,the Europeans the europeans and just about everyone else has been messing around with the people of the middle east starting before WWI when we... didn't let them unite and we drew "Lines in the Sand" for them. We... were afraid of them uniting as a whole nation and not being able to have free acsess to the regions oil and exploiting it THEIR resources. Where does B.P. (British Petroleum) get its profit making oil from, that they sell to the Americans? Last time I heard Eng land has no oil wells on its soil. Maybe you should start thinking what's best for the Iraqi people instead of whats best for us, and that will be the best chance for peace in Iraq. LET'S GET REAL HERE,WITH REAL SOLUTIONS AND STOP AVOIDING REALITY.

  •  Been there, tried that (0+ / 0-)

    If you get a clear understanding, a consensus, a plan, and broad support in the USA, you gotta win the next Nobel Peace Prize because you'd be a miracle worker.  

    1.  You'll hear a lot of the things you want to hear, but only a very few will be true.  Iraqis are big on saying what they want from you, not so great about taking responsibility for any of it.
    1.  Consensus between the diverse Iraqi interests that is compliant with American "best interest" is asking way too much.  Even if the Iraqis you meet could agree a consensus in a meeting room in Jordan, that consensus would probably have little bearing to what is happening on the ground in Iraq.  American "best interest" should no longer be a factor given how badly we've fucked up their country.  We owe them respect for their interests over ours now, although with a reservation to cut our losses and get the hell out.
    1.  Presenting an independent plan without any leverage - no matter how well intended - strikes me as weak.  Expecting folks to sign on before the election seems unrealistic.
    1.  Forget the American people.  They aren't smart enough to evaluate any plan, otherwise they wouldn't have put the assholes in office that we have now and let them get away with incompetence on such a scale.

    Listen.  Learn.  Be sympathetic.  Then come back and do what you have to do to win your seat, without any grand plan for Iraq beyond limiting the scope for further catastrophe.

    "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

    by LondonYank on Thu Aug 03, 2006 at 01:55:44 PM PDT

  •  Good Luck (0+ / 0-)

    I hope your mission is only the first of many, starting now, during the election season, and continuing as the first order of business after the 110th takes office next year.

    I hope "The Jordan Conferences" will come to be remembered as the beginning of a serious international effort for Iraq. It's long past time the US started talking about replacing military planning briefings with diplomatic briefings.

    It's been extremely frustrating for the grassroots to see so few of their efforts reflected in the halls of Congress so far. In a democracy, "reality" is supposed to be about what the public, not the political strategists, want. Republican inaction on Iraq has been shameful (just ask Chuck Hagel), but Democratic ducking and weaving hasn't been much better. A year ago, when the grassroots was telling the Democratic leadership to put together a serious platform, we were told it wasn't the time because a platform would be an easy target for Republican criticism and because the plan would sound stale by election time anyway. Now that the elections are heating up we are told it's not the time because we have to focus on the "entirely separate issue" of getting Democrats elected and so we should wait until 2007 (when Democrats take the House (maybe) -- which we heard in 2004 too). This kind of obsessive risk averse politics in the guise of a grand strategy has got to come to an end.

    Iraq is a complicated issue, so it's natural that we are unsure what the best solution is. But Democrats united behind a plan, even a sort of work-in-progress plan that would probably not entirely satisfy the antiwar community, is what we need. But it would be a lot better than watching rank and file Democrats pitted against "The Democratic Party" like they are 2 separate parties, grassroots and apparatchik.  

    I think you're really helping bridge the gap with this trip. And I know you're scoring points with your future constituents back home.

    Good luck.

    "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by dzhessi on Thu Aug 03, 2006 at 03:39:15 PM PDT

  •  Keep us apprised of what (0+ / 0-)

    you see and feel.  Good luck.

    I have no patience with people who grow old at 60 just because they are entitled to a bus pass. Mary Wesley, British novelist

    by xanthe on Thu Aug 03, 2006 at 04:30:57 PM PDT

  •  An Impt. Visit (0+ / 0-)

    If only other people in Congress had taken the time to be as informed as you will be when you are elected.

    I hope you will have a productive visit and work toward understanding in the Peace delegation to Jordon.

  •  These efforts must be made. (0+ / 0-)

     Jeeni , it seems many have already given up on Iraq but I feel sure your efforts will contribute to peace, if only here at home.  We need to remove our troops to more secure areas like the USA.  War is never a path to salvation and is not affordable at this time.  We only enrich the warmongers when they have their way.  They care nothing about the condition of mankind, only themselves.  Thank you, thank you.

  •  Go, Girl! (0+ / 0-)

    I follow your progress with great glee, having met you only by email during the Kucinich campaign. You are already making a big difference. May you gain even more press exposure -- it should all be positive.

    Lenore (from the web site) and now also at

    "You don't stop terrorism by terrorizing others."

    by lluscher on Fri Aug 04, 2006 at 11:09:45 AM PDT

  •  It's a long Rove to hoe... (0+ / 0-)

    Without dreamers and visionaries, we would have a very limited experience here on Planet Earth.
    I ask that you listen to the Iraqi representatives and return home to represent those of us in your district who give a damn!
    So, I care that you have a successful mission, however that is defined. I hope you return with your experiences and can sum them up in a thirty-minute, emotionally-strong presentation.
    Watch out for those insurgent US troops!

  •  Good Luck and be Safe (0+ / 0-)


    History is made by pioneering efforts like this one. With your patient hearing and non-violent communication, you are a great asset to this group. I hope that this effort would bloom into a peace making mission in future in which you would play a pivotal role as a US congresswoman.

    Gandhi did not separate non-violence and imbibing truth  (sathyaagrahaa) and this mission is all about finding truths in hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

    Good Luck and please be safe.


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