Last weekend marked 25 years since the first U.S. vs. Iraq War, often called the Persian Gulf War. Executive Director Kevin Martin, along with our colleague Jennifer Bing of the American Friends Service Committee, wrote an op-ed published on AlterNet and did a radio interview yesterday on WBEZ Chicago public radio,
Last week, the House of not always so Representative(s) voted for the misnamed American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, aka the stiff the Syrian and Iraqi refugees bill to put more hurdles in the way of desperate people fleeing wars and carnage for which the U.S. bears much responsibility. Forty-seven Democrats joined all but two Republicans in supporting this fear-mongering wrong-headed reaction to the recent tragic attacks in Paris. The vote in the House is right on the cusp of the 2/3 majority needed to override a promised presidential veto.
We can’t let the Senate make the same mistake. While Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid says he will keep a similar bill from even being voted on in the Senate, we need to raise our voices, especially as the issue could be attached to a must-pass Omnibus spending bill in a few weeks, even if the Senate doesn’t vote on the anti-refugee bill.
Please make two calls to your Senators today. You can reach their Washington, DC offices via the Congressional switchboard at 844-735-1362. As Congress is in recess for the Thanksgiving holiday, you may have better luck calling their home offices. You can find those phone numbers on your Senators’ websites or via links from this pagehttp://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
Please tell your Senators to oppose any and all attempts, such as the House bill, to make it harder for refugees from Iraq and Syria to come to the U.S. Instead, we should not only welcome but provide more assistance to refugees.
The moral stakes are simple — the golden rule on a global scale. What would we want for our families if our communities were torn apart by unthinkable violence? The United States has a proud tradition of welcoming the persecuted. Now is no time to turn back on that tradition.
Please call the Capitol Switchboard now: 844-735-1362. Urge your Senators to vote no on bills that would stop the US from welcoming these refugees.
Thank you in advance for your compassionate action.
P.S. Check out Peace Action West Executive Director Jon Rainwater’s excellent article on Huffington Post from last Friday.
Tomorrow is Veterans Day, originally Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. New Hampshire Peace Action Director Will Hopkins is an Iraq war veteran, one with a powerful message we hope you will share.
The Syrian Refugee Crisis & the U.S.:
What is Our Responsibility?
Three experts on the Syrian crisis will address the issues faced by refugees, the role of the U.S. in creating and solving this crisis, and what the U.S. can do to assist and welcome Syrian refugees.
Speakers include Pam Bailey, human rights activist and journalist; Phyllis Bennis, author of numerous books and articles on U.S. policy in the Middle East; and Rafif Jouejati, Syrian activist and director of FREE-Syria. The forum will be moderated by Andy Shallal, activist and owner of Busboys and Poets.
The forum starts at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Takoma Park Busboys and Poets, 235 Carroll St. NW, Washington, D.C. Come early so you’ll be sure to get a seat!
President Obama just announced that he will send 450 more American service members to Iraq. They will join the 3,000 troops already there, risking their lives in a deepening crisis that has no U.S. military solution.
Luckily, two Iraq War veterans in Congress are standing up to calls for even more war. Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) and Mark Takai (D-HI) are currently organizing a sign-on letter against escalating the U.S. military mission in Iraq.
Reps. Gallego and Takai know about Iraq because they fought there themselves. They understand the hard truth that American troops will not bring peace to Iraq nor heal the bitter sectarian divides fueling the conflict. They understand that if the Iraqi military won’t fight – as it has repeatedly failed to do when ISIS has advanced – we cannot fight this war for them.
As Reps. Gallego and Takai say in their letter: “While the Iraqi military and the Iraqi people deserve our support in this struggle, an enduring victory over ISIS will only be possible if they demonstrate a real and lasting commitment to defeat our mutual foe. If we fight in their stead, our success will be temporary and our gains will be fragile.”
Unfortunately, hawks in Congress and on the campaign trail are calling for a massive escalation in U.S. troops being sent to Iraq. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is also running for President, has called for 10,000 troops to be sent back to Iraq. Others have called for even more. These dangerous calls for more war are gaining ground in Washington.
It is time to admit that the solutions to Iraq’s instability will not be found through bombs or boots on the ground. Failing to do so will put yet more Americans at risk while pouring fuel on a fire that the U.S. military cannot put out.
Our pro-peace champions in the House of (Not all that) Representatives, Republican Walter Jones of North Carolina and Democrats Barbara Lee of California and Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, forced a vote in the House today on the U.S. involvement in the Iraq and Syria war(s), which of course have not been authorized by Congress as required by the Constitution. The measure failed, 288 to 139, with 66 Democrats voting against. Below is the vote tally, please let your rep know your views on how she or he voted. FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 370(Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined)
H CON RES 55 YEA-AND-NAY 17-Jun-2015 4:06 PM
QUESTION: On Agreeing to the Resolution
BILL TITLE: Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove United States Armed Forces deployed to Iraq or Syria on or after August 7, 2014, other than Armed Forces required to protect United States diplomatic facilities and personnel, from Iraq and Syria
—- YEAS 139 —
Doyle, Michael F.
Johnson, E. B.
Luján, Ben Ray (NM)
Sánchez, Linda T.
—- NAYS 288 —
Boyle, Brendan F.
Hice, Jody B.
Lujan Grisham (NM)
—- ANSWERED “PRESENT” 1 —
—- NOT VOTING 5 —