Ellsberg on Goals of Sheehan Campaign

The following is excerpted from a speech given by Daniel Ellsberg at a press conference where Cindy Sheehan announced her candidacy for the 8th Congressional District of California.

I see this campaign as aiming much higher than putting Cindy Sheehan in Congress in 2009. Well before that time, we aim to help restore our Constitution, to end a war and avert starting a new one, and to remove from power two officials – George W. Bush and Richard Cheney – who block those objectives before they can do more harm in their remaining months in office.

That’s an ambitious project; but there’s a clear path to achieving it. We will work to change public awareness and, as a result, Nancy Pelosi’s policies as Speaker of the House well before the election, by revealing to the public real alternatives to the courses she and the Democrats have followed so far, and demonstrating the breadth and strength of public support for those alternatives.

The truth is that Democrats, and even Republicans, can do much better than they have been doing, under Pelosi’s leadership in the House, to protect our freedoms and our security. In this campaign we will publicize specifics of what can and should be done, and let the public tell the politicians which approach they want.

One essential demand is for Pelosi to encourage, rather than to block, Congressional investigations of past and ongoing administration deception, unwisdom, illegality and unconstitutionality in pursuing an aggressive war and in curtailing our rights. Such investigations, calling forth testimony under oath of current and former officials many of whom are eager to tell the truth at last, as well as demonstrating continued administration stonewalling, will almost surely lead to what does not yet exist: irresistible pressure from a belatedly-informed public for the impeachment and removal of Bush and Cheney.

Further, we need Pelosi’s leadership in rescinding the unconstitutional parts – which will not leave much – of the Patriot Act, the Military Commisions Act and the recent, outrageous legislation purporting to legalize warrantless wiretaps and data mining. And – absolutely essential to ending our war in Iraq – public pressure is needed to demand that Congress defund our indefinite occupation, providing funds only for the orderly, safe withdrawal of all our troops, contractors and bases on an announced time-table.