Anger. Frustration. This is what many opposed to the Iraq war felt after hearing that the Democratic leadership will pull deadlines for troop withdrawal from the funding bill.

We are angry that the Bush administration launched this illegal and immoral war in the first place, and insists on continuing it. We are frustrated that the clear antiwar sentiment of the American people has not yet translated into the political power needed to “change course.”

As Tom Paine said, these are times that try men’s and women’s souls. But we cannot be summer soldiers.

Every member of Congress needs to hear from his/her constituents: Vote no on war funding. The biggest no vote possible will send a powerful message, even if the measure passes.

Ending the Iraq war is a monumental battle and does not end here. Democratic leaders say they will now focus on 2008 defense spending to try to force an end to the war. The House plans to consider the military’s annual budget this July and will debate 2008 war funding in September, just as the White House delivers a critical “progress report” on Iraq.

The antiwar movement and public opinion has shifted the balance of forces in Congress away from the pro-war Republican right stranglehold.

For the first time in five years, Congress passed a timetable for troop withdrawal — moving the debate from “will we end the war?” to “how and when will we end it?”

This would not have happened without the marches, vigils, lobbying, referendums and, most importantly, last November’s vote.

Now, more of this is needed. And even though the majority sentiment wants to end the war — and Bush’s poll numbers are in the basement — there is still work to be done to broaden and deepen the movement. A recent full-page ad in The New York Times by the Network of Spiritual Progressives, signed by many prominent antiwar activists, noted that many Americans are not yet ready to make the demand of cutting war funds on their congressional representatives.

The 2008 election cycle will start heating up and Republicans are sure to start feeling the antiwar heat. And we should help them feel it.

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