April 21, 2007


Congressman Nick J. Rahall (WV III) addresses a town meeting in Charleston.

Around 100 people attended a public forum in Charleston Saturday. WV Congressman Nick J. Rahall was the featured speaker and later fielded questions from attendees.

Rahall, who represents WV's third district, has been an outspoken opponent of the war in Iraq from the beginning. In 2002, he was part of a delegation that visited that country to urge the regime to allow weapons inspectors, which it subsequently did.

That step wasn't enough to head off the Bush administration's predetermined pursuit of an unnecessary war.

Rahall recently returned from another delegation led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Israel and Syria, noting "This is the kind of surge we need--a surge of diplomacy." He further stated that "Communication and conversation does not mean capitulation."

Here's WCHS TV's take on the event:

A packed room at the Christ Church United Methodist listened to Rahall discuss his recent trip to the Middle East. The Democrat was asked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to join her and others on the trip. He said the purpose of the trip was to prod all sides toward peace...

A child who had his hand raised for a half-hour before someone in the audience pointed him out asked Rahall why President Bush sent troops to Iraq in the first place. Rahall responded that he wished he knew the answer and that he didn't vote for this war from the beginning.

The town hall meeting was sponsored by the West Virginia Council of Churches, West Virginia Patriots for Peace, the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, the A-F-L C-I-O and the American Friends Service Committee.

The event was held in the district (WV II) of Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, a strong supporter of both the war and the Bush administration. She did not attend.

Senator Robert C. Byrd did not attend, but sent a representative with a letter supporting the forum and speaking of the need to "begin to put some sanity in our foreign policy again."

Retired WV United Methodist Bishop William Boyd Grove moderated the forum.

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