2007 Actions

July 17th, 2007 – End The Iraq War Petition

Charleston, WV – Patriots For Peace – The West Virginia petition calling on Congress to end the US war in Iraq is reaching out to new people.

Many people are so fed up with the war they are glad to do something active to voice their feelings. Petitions should be mailed to the Patriots for Peace mailbox listed on the bottom of the petition. A copy of the petitions will be given to the appropriate Congressperson and to Senators Byrd and Rockefeller. Please return your petition as soon as it is completed. The deadline for sending them in is August 31, 2007.

July 4TH, 2007 – Bush Is Coming Back To West Virginia – We Must Not Be Silent

Charleston, WV – Patriots For Peace – Rally at Capito Office

When: 10:00-11:00am on Wednesday, July 4th

Where: In front of Shelly Moore Capito’s office, 4815 McCorkle Avenue , Kanawha City

Bush is coming back to West Virginia for another invitees only political event on july 4th. Capito will be with him. Those who oppose the war will be excluded from the presidential visit. But we must not be silent.

President Bush is coming to Martinsburg on the 4th of July to speak to the National Guard and their families. He has closed the program to everyone but republican officials and friends, inviting democratic representatives at the last minute. Capito will be there, but state senator Unger and Senators Rockefeller and Byrd declined their last-minute invitations.

This is a highly political occasion and considering the 4th of July is about the birthday of the US founded on the constitution that the Bush administration has been disrespecting and dismantling, it is an ironic choice of dates.

The fact that the event is closed to the public on our National Day of Independence is in keeping with what has become a pattern of this administration. Our president appears in public less and less and separates himself from the American people through invitation only events and internal memos and booklets identifying ways to keep protesters and anyone else critical of this administration’s’ policies away from events and rallies at which he speaks. We have witnessed this unconstitutional and heavy handed approach during a Republican rally in Charleston when two people wearing anti -Bush t-shirts were arrested and removed after they refused to change their shirts.

Is this acceptable to Americans who cherish the values on which this country was formed?

We will gather at 10:00 am tomorrow (July 4th) at Representative Capito’s office in Kanawha City:

  • To protest being locked out of the Martinsburg event at which we would have liked to respectfully ask about the Bush administration’s lack of protection of and support for the lives and health (mental and physical) of the military and their families
  • To point out the hypocrisy of President Bush creating such a situation on the 4th of July
  • To read portions of the Declaration of Independence

Please join us!

Paul Sheridan, president
West Virginia Patriots for Peace

February 28, 2007 – Charleston Municipal Court

Charleston, WV – A Statement to the Charleston Municipal Court from The Reverend Jim Lewis February 28, 2007

Your honor, I would like to plead not guilty to the charge of trespassing and, if it pleases the court, to offer a statement addressing that charge.

My Statement

On Friday, February 16, I, along with four other board members of West Virginia Patriots for Peace, knocked on the door of Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito’s office in Kanawha City. We were there to deliver a letter to her from West Virginia Patriots for Peace.

Once inside the office, I handed the letter to a staff member and requested that she fax it to the Congresswoman, who was in Washington preparing for a crucial vote on a resolution in the House of Representative, which opposed President Bush’s plan to send 21,500 more troops to fight in Iraq. It was a resolution Ms. Capito, prior to the vote, had publicly stated she would not support.

A portion of that letter is worthy of the court’s attention. It may help to explain the events that led to the issuance of a citation for trespassing.

‘We are here, as we have been since this war began, to support the troopsósupport them by refusing to escalate this war by sending more troops into the chaos that now exists in Iraq.

We are here today to sit in your waiting room. We are waiting for that moment when the vote will be taken. We are waiting for you to change your mind and cast a vote in support of this resolution.

You have been joined at the hip with President Bush since the very start of this war. You voted to give him the power to wage war. You have supported him over and over again, even when the evidence for going to war was shown to be bogus. You have remained mute while the war spiraled out of control, and our troops found themselves in the midst of a civil war. Not once have you said that it was a mistake for you to have supported this war. And now, you are on the verge of voting to escalate the war.

But there is still time for you to have a change of heart. We will wait here, in a respectful and peaceful manner, hoping and praying that your heart will be moved to vote in favor of this resolution.

We wait.’

And wait, we did. After delivering the letter, the four of us took seats in the waiting room.

You must understand, however, that we were not merely waiting for the result of the vote in the House of Representatives, and to see how Representative Capito would vote on Presidents Bush’s plan to escalate the war in Iraq.

We were also waiting, along with our neighbors who have loved ones in Iraq, for our troops to come home.

We were waiting for Mr. Bush to recognize the growing public sentiment against escalating the war and, therefore, cancel his plans to send more troops to Iraq.

We were waiting for a new plan to end the war and bring peace to Iraq – a plan based upon negotiations rather than warfare.

We were waiting, in a prayerful way, out of respect for our more than 3,000 troops who have died in the war, the more than 20,000 U.S. wounded, the large number of dead and wounded Iraqis, and the million or more refugees created as a result of this war.

After waiting six hours, one of Representative Capito’s aides informed the five of us that the resolution had passed, but that Representative Capito had voted against it, thereby supporting President Bush’s plan to send more troops to Iraq.

At that point, I made the decision to continue to wait, in order for Representative Capito to explain and account for the inconsistencies surrounding her public statements, in light of her decision to vote against the resolution. I felt that she owed her constituency an explanation for her vote.

You see, prior to casting that crucial vote, Representative Capito had said this:

She said, that that sending more troops to Iraq would simply put them in “very precarious situations to try to settle a situation that really doesn’t affect our vital national interest.”

In answer to the question of whether the President’s plan is the right way to go, she replied, “No, I don’t think this is the solution to the problem.”

The introduction of 21,500 more troops into Iraq, called the “surge,” would not, said Ms. Capito, make America safer.

After ten hours of waiting in the Kanawha City office of Representative Capito, with a staff member of her Washington office present, three members of the Charleston Police Department arrived to tell me that I would have to leave the office.

I told them I was waiting and would not leave. I told them that the troops could not leave Iraq, so I could not, in good conscience, leave the office of someone who participated in sending them there, keeping them there, and adding more bodies to the fray.

In effect, I was saying that my occupation of that waiting room was a response to the fact that our troops were occupying Iraq.

Your honor, I find it ludicrous that I have been charged with a citation for trespassing.

Mr. Bush has received no citation for trespassing in Iraq.

Ms. Capito has received no citation for having been an accessory to our trespassing in Iraq.

No one in the CIA, or the Bush Administration, has received a citation for trespassing on international law, and the human rights of prisoners, for having shipped over a thousand prisoners to other countries where they are being tortured.

No one in the Justice Department has received a citation for having trespassed on the Constitution by using illegal wiretaps and surveillance techniques to spy on U.S citizens.

No one in Congress has received a citation for having trespassed on U.S. taxpayers by allocating billions upon billions of dollars, many of them squandered illegally, for a war that threatens the very soul of our nation.

I find it almost Jon-Stewart-laughable that Mr. Paul Bremer, former Director of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance for postwar Iraq, doled out billions of dollars – 360 tons of money – to various people and agencies in Iraq, without any accountability.

I find it worthy of a political cartoon that Mr. Bremer has received a citation from President Bush, the Presidential Medal of Honor, yet has not received a citation for having trespassed on our country’s moral and legal integrity.

All this, and yet I am being held accountable for having waited in my Congresswoman’s office for answers about this war – answers due, in the name of accountability, to the people here in West Virginia.

Your honor, I thank you for having allowed me to explain myself, along with the intentions of West Virginia Patriots for Peace.

I want to commend the City of Charleston police who escorted me from Representative Capito’s office. They were in every way courteous and professional.

I want to apologize for any trouble, inconvenience or anxiety I may have caused the staff at Representative Capito’s office.

My fervent hope is that everyone involved in this situation will come to understand that my actions were motivated by conscience, a sense of duty to my God and to my country, and, last but not least, my concern for all peace-loving people who work and pray for an end to this war.

Reverend Jim Lewis
WV Patriots for Peace