(Host) Across the state from Bristol to Peru, town meeting voters talked about the War in Iraq.
In more than 30 towns resolutions calling for impeachment of the president won more ayes than nays.
Sixteen towns expressed support for the troops but called on Congress to bring them home now and to care for them when they get here.
VPR’s Susan Keese reports.
(Keese) The Vermont House and senate have both passed versions of the bring-the-troops resolution, but have stopped short of advocating impeachment.
But Dover resident Susan Rand said citizens were responsible for making sure their leaders don’t exceed their constitutional powers.
(Rand) “And our president and Vice President misled the nation about going to war, condoned torture, which is against U.S. law, and approved illegal surveillance. These are all things our constitution does not allow. We have to call our President and Vice President on what they have been doing.”
(Keese) But Dover resident Laura Sibilia said she didn’t want the legislature and Congress spending two years trying to bring down the president. She said she’d rather have them focus on finding a moral and safe’ way to end the bloodshed.
Sibilia has four brothers and a brother in law who have served repeatedly in Afghanistan and Iraq.
(Sibilia) “You say this resolution is brought on their behalf. They say they will and are willing to fight and die on your behalf. They do not understand why you believe you must do this and it’s likely you don’t understand why they believe they must do what they are doing. I say that sounds like the same divisiveness that has done more damage to this country than any president is capable of. I say that both sides could greatly benefit from a desire to truly understand all sides of these issues.”
(Keese) The resolutions were defeated in Dover and a handful of other towns. In a few towns, where they were added under other business moderators blocked discussion of the war.
But in the vast majority of towns where they were introduced, they passed.
James Leas of South Burlington, who helped organize the grassroots effort, was delighted with the town meeting results.
(Leas) “Thirty-two towns voted for impeachment. This was declared off the table by the leadership of the Democratic Party and Congress. But the people are saying no! It’s on the table. The people of this country do not like illegal wars of aggression, and they do not like a president who sends our soldiers to kill and be killed for no good reason that he can articulate.”
(Keese) Leas says the war is painful to talk about because it’s an unjust war. He says Vermont is setting an example for the rest of the country by dealing with the issue in this public forum.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Susan Keese
Note: Thirty-seven towns have voted for the impeachment resolution.