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End the Iraq Occupation

Albuquerque City Council President Debbie O’Malley and Councilor Isaac Benton sent a letter and copies of a resolution, calling for Congress to rescind the Iraq War resolution and begin a phased redeployment of American troops from Iraq, to all five members of New Mexico’s Congressional delegation and President George W. Bush.

The resolution passed the nine-member council on a 5-2 vote, with two councilors excused, and was signed by Mayor Martin J. Chavez.

In their letter, O’Malley and Benton informed New Mexico’s representatives and the President that, on Monday, September 17, 2007, the Albuquerque City Council joined local governments around the country in passing a resolution that expresses the feelings of a majority of Americans that the occupation of Iraq must come to an end.

"On behalf of the residents of Albuquerque,” wrote O’Malley and Benton, “we ask that you consider the consequences of continuing to ‘stay the course’ in Iraq and begin to take steps to safely bring American troops home.”

Benton cited the number of New Mexico Army and Air National Guardsmen and women being deployed to Iraq and reports of racial targeting of members of the NM National Guard as being the major factors that prompted him to introduce the legislation. Recent reports suggest that over half of all New Mexico guardsmen and women will be deployed to Iraq by 2010, leaving the people of New Mexico at a serious disadvantage in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency. Members of the Albuquerque Police Department, as many as sixteen at one time, have also been serving overseas since the occupation began, further depleting much-needed local public safety resources.

“It is shocking to realize how many local tax dollars are going to support this occupation,” Benton commented. “Money that could be spent on our local needs, such as aging infrastructure, transit, housing, public safety, and education, is instead being used by this Administration on a civil war for which there is no positive outcome in sight. I think this legislation reflects the opinion of a majority of Albuquerqueans, and Congress and the President need to start listening to the American people.”

Joining Benton and O’Malley in support of the resolution were councilors Michael Cadigan, Martin Heinrich, and Ken Sanchez.