Interview on Chicago Public Radio from Monday

October 28, 2011

This program, Worldview, with host Jerome McDonnell, is one of the best on public radio. It’s on five days a week, focusing on international affairs. I’ve known Jerome for over 20 years, he’s a good egg, very sharp, asks good questions, good politics. Not a bad segment I don’t think, we covered a lot of issues of import to the peace movement. Feel free to give me feedback on my “performance” if you like!

Troops to come home from Iraq: Share your thoughts!

October 24, 2011

After nearly 9 years, the U.S. is withdrawing troops from Iraq.

There is no doubt in my mind that this couldn’t have happened without you.

Before this war even began, you responded to President Bush’s announcement by hitting the streets and taking part in the largest worldwide protests in history. After the first bombs fell, you continued marching in protest after protest in city after city. Over the years, you’ve called, wrote, and even occupied Congress. You’ve spent cold nights in solemn vigils waving to passing cars. You’ve forwarded Action Alerts, registered voters, and spread the word to friends and family. You’ve joined with thousands of others to support Peace Action and maintain a nationwide network of concerned and committed activists.

By 2008, you had made the war in Iraq an inescapable election issue.

President Obama, our first black President, was elected under pressure to end this war. After his election, you kept the pressure on. Now, President Obama has announced that the 41,000 U.S. troops currently deployed to Iraq will return home by December 31.

In our tireless struggle, we must count our victories.

This is a momentous victory for you, after years of unwavering commitment. This is a victory for an entire generation of youth, who have grown up only knowing war. This is a victory for the Iraqi people, who have suffered by the millions and ultimately refused to allow U.S. troops to remain after the agreed upon deadline. And this is a victory for our troops and their families, who are no longer put in danger for an unnecessary war.

Of course, our work is not done.

The State Department is planning to maintain an army of thousands of private security contractors in Iraq. Our service members are returning home to a devastated economy with few job prospects and facing the possibility of redeployment to Afghanistan. Our veterans face a rising suicide epidemic and will require our care for decades to come. We will have to call upon all of our collective power to remain vigilant for peace.

As move into 2012, our work continues. We will continue to push for negotiations in Afghanistan, we will keep up the pressure to make ending the Afghanistan War an election-year issue, and together we will shift our national priorities to move the money from wars and weapons back to our communities.

Humbly for Peace,
Kevin Martin
Executive Director, Peace Action

You’ve spent years working to end this war. We want to hear from you! What do you think about the troop withdrawal? Post your thoughts today!

Iraq War to End with a Whimper?

October 20, 2011

Of course it would never have begun in the first place had the peace movement had its way. The human, financial and societal costs of this U.S. war of aggression are hard to fathom. What an unconscionable waste.

The Atlantic has an interesting article on the politics between the U.S. and Iraqi governments.

The Iraqi government has successfully resisted U.S. arm twisting to leave up to 5,000 combat troops as trainers (there will be over 1,000 troops guarding the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which will be the world’s largest, and there will be security contractors, perhaps as many as 12,000 or more, under the aegis of the State Department).

As more of our movement’s attention has shifted to the quagmire in Afghanistan, we need to remember the huge debt we owe the people of Iraq for the destruction of their society under not one, but two U.S. wars and crippling economic sanctions, all in the past twenty years.

Still, the U.S. is (mostly) getting out of Iraq by the end of the year, good news for the Iraqi and American people.

Lockheed Martin couldn’t take it!

October 13, 2011

A vote was set on a non-binding resolution that would have put the County Council of Montgomery County, MD on record in support of a “different military strategy and an end to the wars abroad [that] would free up hundreds of billions of dollars.”

Lockheed Martin couldn’t take it.

Montgomery County is home to the national headquarters of the largest peace group in the U.S. – that’s us – and the largest military contractor in the world – Lockheed Martin (over $29 billion a year in military contracts).

Like our local chapter, Peace Action Montgomery, Peace Action chapters across the country have been pushing their city and town councils to pass similar resolutions as part of our national “Move the Money” campaign. We are building support from local elected officials for a change in national spending priorities to “move the money” from decades-long Pentagon spending to our local communities where it’s needed.

We had strong support on the Council, but then Council Members began receiving the calls. Calls to Council Members came from Lockheed Martin and their friends in the State Legislature urging the council to pull the resolution. Hello, campaign contributions!

Fearing the resolution would drive Lockheed Martin to relocate its national headquarters to Virginia, taking thousands of jobs and tax revenues with it, County Executive Ike Leggett likened the resolution to “a dagger pointed directly at the heart of Montgomery County.”

Really?!? A non-binding resolution expressing what poll after poll proves is a majority view in America is, in fact, a dagger…but who exactly is pointing it at the County’s heart?

Lockheed Martin and other supporters of runaway military spending have launched a massive lobbying campaign, dubbed “Second to None,” urging people to oppose cuts to the military budget. Funded with our tax dollars, they’ll spend millions to protect their billions.

We certainly can’t match that, but I think the Occupy Wall Street movement is demonstrating we don’t need to. And, the reaction of Lockheed Martin to our resolution shows we’re hitting the right notes.

Help us keep the band together!

We need your generous contribution to our Move the Money campaign to continue expanding our coalition of labor and economic and racial justice groups, to get our message to millions more and to turn up the heat on our elected representatives who need to start listening to their constituents and stop chasing campaign contributions.

Ten Years Too Many — Bring ‘Em Home!

October 7, 2011

While today marks the sad anniversary of ten years of the U.S. war in Afghanistan, we must remember the people of Afghanistan have suffered decades of war. We take heart in the struggle to end the war here in the U.S., and in the courage of the Afghan people seeking to peacefully, sustainably rebuild their country.

Peace Action staff and affiliates are participating in events to mark the anniversary and re-dedicate ourselves to ending this war, in Washington and around the country. Others, including Field Director Judith Le Blanc and a visiting delegation from our sister Japanese peace group Gensuikyo are at Occupy Wall Street in New York City. Communications Manager Jonathan Williams and I will be at an event called War Voices in D.C. tonight with U.S. colleagues and Afghan peace advocates.

Here’s a terrific op-ed on ten years of war by New Jersey Peace Action Executive Director Madelyn Hoffman, who traveled to Afghanistan representing Peace Action in 2005. Please keep the faith for peace, and share your own experience on working to end the war.

Preserving the Island of World Peace – Noam Chomsky and Matthew Hoey on the struggle to stop a missile defense base on Jeju Island, South Korea

October 4, 2011

We’ve written on this blog before about this struggle to stop constuction of a missile defense base on Jeju Island, South Korea, as well as the fight against U.S. military bases on Okinawa. And of course Peace Action is a co-sponsor of a conference in Washington later this month on Asia-Pacific Peace and Security, where these issues will be highlighted .

Here is the latest on the struggle on Jeju Island, in the Korean newspaper The Hankyoreh, by Noam Chomsky and Matthew Hoey.

Also, for those in the DC area, there will be a protest at the White House state dinner for South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak October 13 at 5:30 pm.  It’s important for international solidarity with the people of Jeju, and for the U.S. and especially the Korean media, that there be a strong protest of the base when President Lee when he visits the White House.

Finally, see Matt Hoey discussing the struggle on the lovely shoreline of the island.


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