Oppose the U.S. Escalation of the War in Iraq

June 25, 2015

no good war banner pic

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.

Please urge your Representative to sign the letter against escalating the war 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.”

Stand up against mission creep: Email your Representative today!

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.

Take one minute to stand up against the escalation of war by emailing your Representative.

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.


House Votes Down H Con Res 55 on Iraq/Syria War

June 17, 2015

img-thingOur 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 NAYS PRES NV
REPUBLICAN 19 222 1 3
DEMOCRATIC 120 66 2
INDEPENDENT
TOTALS 139 288 1 5

—- YEAS    139 — 

Adams
Bass
Becerra
Benishek
Beyer
Blum
Blumenauer
Bonamici
Brady (PA)
Burgess
Capps
Capuano
Cárdenas
Chu, Judy
Cicilline
Clark (MA)
Clarke (NY)
Clawson (FL)
Clyburn
Cohen
Conyers
Cummings
Davis, Danny
DeFazio
DeGette
DeLauro
DelBene
DeSaulnier
Dingell
Doyle, Michael F.
Duncan (TN)
Edwards
Ellison
Eshoo
Esty
Farr
Fattah
Foster
Frankel (FL)
Fudge
Gallego
Garamendi
Garrett
Grayson
Griffith
Grijalva
Gutiérrez
Hahn
Hastings
Heck (WA)
Higgins
Himes
Hinojosa
Honda
Huffman
Hurt (VA)
Jackson Lee
Jeffries
Johnson, E. B.
Jones
Kaptur
Keating
Kelly (IL)
Kennedy
Kildee
Kirkpatrick
Kuster
Labrador
Larsen (WA)
Larson (CT)
Lawrence
Lee
Lewis
Lieu, Ted
Lofgren
Lowenthal
Luján, Ben Ray (NM)
Lynch
Maloney, Carolyn
Maloney, Sean
Massie
Matsui
McCollum
McDermott
McGovern
McNerney
Moore
Mulvaney
Murphy (FL)
Nadler
Napolitano
Neal
Nolan
Nugent
O’Rourke
Pallone
Pascrell
Payne
Pelosi
Pingree
Pocan
Polis
Posey
Quigley
Rangel
Rice (SC)
Roybal-Allard
Rush
Ryan (OH)
Sánchez, Linda T.
Sanford
Sarbanes
Schakowsky
Schiff
Schrader
Scott (VA)
Sensenbrenner
Serrano
Sires
Slaughter
Speier
Swalwell (CA)
Takai
Takano
Thompson (CA)
Thompson (MS)
Titus
Tonko
Torres
Tsongas
Van Hollen
Velázquez
Visclosky
Waters, Maxine
Watson Coleman
Wilson (FL)
Woodall
Yarmuth
Yoho

—- NAYS    288 — 

Abraham
Aderholt
Aguilar
Allen
Amodei
Ashford
Babin
Barletta
Barr
Barton
Beatty
Bera
Bilirakis
Bishop (GA)
Bishop (MI)
Bishop (UT)
Black
Blackburn
Bost
Boustany
Boyle, Brendan F.
Brady (TX)
Brat
Bridenstine
Brooks (AL)
Brooks (IN)
Brown (FL)
Brownley (CA)
Buchanan
Buck
Bucshon
Bustos
Butterfield
Calvert
Carney
Carson (IN)
Carter (GA)
Carter (TX)
Cartwright
Castor (FL)
Castro (TX)
Chabot
Chaffetz
Clay
Cleaver
Coffman
Cole
Collins (GA)
Collins (NY)
Comstock
Conaway
Connolly
Cook
Cooper
Costa
Costello (PA)
Courtney
Cramer
Crawford
Crenshaw
Crowley
Cuellar
Culberson
Curbelo (FL)
Davis (CA)
Davis, Rodney
Delaney
Denham
Dent
DeSantis
DesJarlais
Deutch
Diaz-Balart
Doggett
Dold
Donovan
Duckworth
Duffy
Duncan (SC)
Ellmers (NC)
Emmer (MN)
Engel
Farenthold
Fincher
Fitzpatrick
Fleischmann
Fleming
Flores
Forbes
Fortenberry
Foxx
Franks (AZ)
Frelinghuysen
Gabbard
Gibbs
Gibson
Gohmert
Goodlatte
Gosar
Gowdy
Graham
Granger
Graves (GA)
Graves (LA)
Graves (MO)
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Grothman
Guinta
Guthrie
Hardy
Harper
Harris
Hartzler
Heck (NV)
Hensarling
Herrera Beutler
Hice, Jody B.
Hill
Holding
Hoyer
Hudson
Huelskamp
Huizenga (MI)
Hultgren
Hunter
Hurd (TX)
Israel
Issa
Jenkins (KS)
Jenkins (WV)
Johnson (OH)
Johnson, Sam
Jolly
Jordan
Joyce
Katko
Kelly (PA)
Kilmer
Kind
King (IA)
King (NY)
Kinzinger (IL)
Kline
Knight
LaMalfa
Lamborn
Lance
Langevin
Latta
Levin
Lipinski
LoBiondo
Loebsack
Long
Loudermilk
Love
Lowey
Lucas
Luetkemeyer
Lujan Grisham (NM)
Lummis
MacArthur
Marchant
Marino
McCarthy
McCaul
McClintock
McHenry
McKinley
McMorris Rodgers
McSally
Meadows
Meehan
Meeks
Meng
Messer
Mica
Miller (FL)
Miller (MI)
Moolenaar
Mooney (WV)
Moulton
Mullin
Murphy (PA)
Neugebauer
Newhouse
Noem
Norcross
Nunes
Olson
Palazzo
Palmer
Paulsen
Pearce
Perlmutter
Perry
Peters
Peterson
Pittenger
Pitts
Poe (TX)
Poliquin
Pompeo
Price (NC)
Price, Tom
Ratcliffe
Reed
Reichert
Renacci
Ribble
Rice (NY)
Richmond
Rigell
Roby
Roe (TN)
Rogers (AL)
Rogers (KY)
Rohrabacher
Rokita
Rooney (FL)
Ros-Lehtinen
Roskam
Ross
Rothfus
Rouzer
Royce
Ruiz
Ruppersberger
Russell
Ryan (WI)
Salmon
Scalise
Schweikert
Scott, Austin
Scott, David
Sessions
Sewell (AL)
Sherman
Shimkus
Shuster
Simpson
Sinema
Smith (MO)
Smith (NE)
Smith (NJ)
Smith (TX)
Smith (WA)
Stefanik
Stewart
Stivers
Stutzman
Thompson (PA)
Thornberry
Tiberi
Tipton
Trott
Turner
Upton
Valadao
Vargas
Veasey
Vela
Wagner
Walberg
Walden
Walker
Walorski
Walters, Mimi
Walz
Wasserman Schultz
Weber (TX)
Webster (FL)
Welch
Wenstrup
Westerman
Westmoreland
Whitfield
Williams
Wilson (SC)
Wittman
Womack
Yoder
Young (AK)
Young (IA)
Young (IN)
Zeldin
Zinke

—- ANSWERED “PRESENT”    1 — 

Amash

—- NOT VOTING    5 — 

Byrne
Hanna
Johnson (GA)
Kelly (MS)
Sanchez, Loretta

 


Please Call Your Rep Now to Oppose the War in Iraq and Syria

June 16, 2015

20141209_MoveOn_ISIS_FBshareable_1EndEndlessWarNotBranded (1)

As you know, last week President Obama announced that he was going to send nearly 500 more troops to Iraq on top of the over 3,500 already sent.  Add to this 17,000 airstrikes over the region at a combined cost of nearly $3 billion all without an authorization of force (AUMF) from Congress as required by the Constitution.

Our allies in Congress, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Barbara Lee (D-CA), are using the War Powers Act to force Congress to debate and take a vote on the U.S. war in Iraq and Syria.  H. CON. RES 55 is a bill that mandates Congress debate and vote on an AUMF or all troops must be removed from Syria and Iraq by the end of the year.

A vote is expected tomorrow late in the afternoon.  Call your Representative now at 202-224-3121.  Tell them to support the bill, H. CON. RES 55, and do their constitutional duty by holding a debate and vote on an Authorization of the Use of Force in Iraq and Syria.

Even the Obama Administration knows that using the AUMFs from 2001 and 2003 from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is on very shaky legal ground.  That’s why they asked Congress for a new AUMF over three months ago.

The President has said repeatedly that there is no military solution to ISIS, yet, it seems, nearly all our resources are spent on military strategies.  It’s time for Congress to debate this war and to lift up other strategies such as starving ISIS of resources from illegal oil, antiquities and food commodities; cracking down on access to foreign forces and military supplies; and working to end the civil war in Syria.

We expect a vote in the next 24 hours.  Dial your Representative now at 202-224-3121.  Urge them to support H. CON. RES 55 and to do their constitutional duty by holding a debate and a vote on an AUMF in Iraq and Syria.

Please call today!

Humbly for Peace,

Paul Kawika Martin
Political Director
Peace Action

P.S. Call your Rep. today at 202-224-3121 urge them to support H. CON. RES 55 and to do their constitutional duty by holding a debate and a vote on the use of force in Iraq and Syria.  Then, forward this important email to everyone you know.


Tell Congress Today – Oppose Fast Track and the Trans-Pacific Partnership – A Chance for Victory!

June 3, 2015

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Thanks to Massachusetts Peace Action for this alert.

This week the House of Representatives will debate and attempt to pass the latest Fast Track legislation after it won passage in the Senate. This legislation is supported by Wall Street and an army of corporate lobbyists, the same lobbyists who helped write the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  Fast Track is designed to smooth the way for TPP by limiting  the opportunity for debating the treaty, before the American people fully understand the risks to which their freedoms and prosperity are being subjected.

Click here to send an email to your Representative opposing Fast Track and the TPP.

Everything that has become known about the highly secretive TPP has come from leaks from three of its twenty-nine chapters.  Experts believe that the treaty, which is less about trade than corporate power, will mean job loss, higher drug prices, greater risk to the climate, weakening of regulations of banks and weakening of food safety regulations, job safety protections, and local preferences of all kinds, loss of internet freedom and loss of democracy.  We are now at the critical juncture for this very bad legislation.  The vote in the House this week may decide everything.  We need to speak out strongly, supporting those who will lead against the threat of corporate tyranny and the loss of millions of job and to encourage our legislators to stand up to the pressure which will be enormous. Please urge your Representative to play a leading role against the TPP

After 25 years the results of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) are clear and they spell pain and misery for workers both in the United States, which has lost its industrial base and millions of decent jobs, and in Mexico, where small farmers lost their livelihood and land in a hopeless competition with Monsanto and other agribusiness giants. Not only will the TPP reinforce and extend this destructive record, but it will give investors the power to over-ride democratic decisions of participating governments. The treaty’s boosters, including Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, proclaim that the TPP is a central element in U.S. efforts to dominate Asia and contain China. It is a threat to democracy, stability, and peace. Please take the time to add your voice against the Fast Track legislation in order to  stop the further rigging of the game represented by the TPP.

For peace and justice,

John Ratliff

Economic Justice Coordinator, Massachusetts Peace Action


Important House letter supporting diplomacy with Iran

May 11, 2015

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Peace Action Hails 150 Reps Letter to Obama Supporting Iran Diplomacy
Washington, DC — May 7, 2015 — In reaction to the letter organized by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and David Price (D-NC) praising the Obama administration’s diplomacy work with Iran on its nuclear program, Peace Action, the largest peace group in the U.S. released the following statement by its political and policy director, Paul Kawika Martin who has worked on the Iran issue for over eight years and had the rare opportunity to spend time in the country:
This House letter to the President shows the overwhelming support in Congress for diplomacy with Iran and to finalize an agreement that verifiably thwarts Iran from building a crude nuclear weapon.  Most in Congress realize there are no better options than reaching a strong accord with Iran on its nuclear program.
Clearly Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and David Price (D-NC) and the other 147 signers of the letter understand that successful diplomacy with Iran on its nuclear program will make Americans safer.
Now the Senate should take some advice from the House and ditch the unhelpful Corker bill and wait until a final agreement is reached before taking legislative action.
Though 150 signatures are significant by representing over a third in the House, many in Congress want to see a final agreement before making their views known.  Once a strong final accord is reached with Iran, support in Congress will grow.  A vote to approve or disapprove the agreement will likely be close but nowhere near enough to override an Obama veto.  There are likely a handful of Republicans that would join those on this letter by Democrats.
Even in this more conservative House, this is the largest public support of diplomacy with Iran to date.  It shows the importance of supporting the administration’s efforts to reach a final deal with Iran on its nuclear program.
Peace Action affiliates across the nation generated calls, letters and emails to Representatives urging them to sign on to the letter and will continue to pressure Congress until a final agreement is reached and implemented.
###
Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to the conflicts with Afghanistan and Iran. The public may learn more and take action at http://www.Peace- Action.org. For more up-to-date peace insider information, follow Peace Action’s political director on Twitter. http://twitter.com/PaulKawika
Notes to Editors:
The text and signers of the letter here:
May 7, 2015
The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program continue, we urge you to stay on course, building on the recently announced political framework and continuing to work toward a strong and verifiable agreement between the P5+1 countries and Iran that will prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon.  We commend you and your negotiating team, as well as our coalition partners, for the significant progress made thus far.
This issue is above politics. The stakes are too great, and the alternatives are too dire. We must exhaust every avenue toward a verifiable, enforceable, diplomatic solution in order to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.  If the United States were to abandon negotiations or cause their collapse, not only would we fail to peacefully prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, we would make that outcome more likely.  The multilateral sanctions regime that brought Iran to the table would likely collapse, and the Iranian regime would likely decide to accelerate its nuclear program, unrestricted and unmonitored.  Such developments could lead us to war.
War itself will not make us safe.  A U.S. or Israeli military strike may set back Iranian nuclear development by two or three years at best – a significantly shorter timespan than that covered by a P5+1 negotiated agreement.  We must pursue diplomatic means to their fullest and allow the negotiations to run their course – especially now that the parties have announced a strong framework – and continue working to craft a robust and verifiable Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by June 30.
We must allow our negotiating team the space and time necessary to build on the progress made in the political framework and turn it into a long-term, verifiable agreement.  If we do not succeed, Congress will remain at-the-ready to act and present you with additional options to ensure that Iran is prevented from acquiring a nuclear weapon
Thank you for your resolve in preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.  We look forward to continuing our shared work on this important matter.
Sincerely,
Jan Schakowsky                  Lloyd Doggett                     David E. Price
Member of Congress           Member of Congress           Member of Congress
###
1)    List of signers in alpha order
 
1
Adams, Alma
2
Aguilar
3
Ashford
4
Bass
5
Beatty
6
Becerra
7
Bera
8
Beyer
9
Bishop, S.
10
Blumenauer
11
Bonamici
12
Bordallo
13
Brady
14
Brown, Corrine
15
Brownley
16
Bustos
17
Butterfield
18
Capps
19
Capuano
20
Cardenas
21
Carney
22
Carson
23
Cartwright
24
Castor
25
Castro
26
Chu
27
Cicilline
28
Clark, Katherine
29
Clarke, Yvette
30
Clay
31
Cleaver
32
Clyburn
33
Cohen
34
Connolly
35
Conyers
36
Courtney
37
Cummings
38
Davis, D. 
39
Davis, S. 
40
DeFazio
41
DeGette
42
DeLauro
43
DelBene
44
DeSaulnier
45
Dingell
46
Doggett
47
Doyle
48
Duckworth
49
Edwards
50
Ellison
51
Eshoo
52
Esty
53
Farr
54
Fattah
55
Foster
56
Fudge
57
Gallego
58
Garamendi
59
Green, Al
60
Grijalva
61
Gutierrez
62
Hahn
63
Heck
64
Higgins
65
Hinojosa
66
Honda
67
Huffman
68
Jackson Lee
69
Jeffries
70
Johnson, E.B. 
71
Johnson, H. 
72
Kaptur
73
Keating
74
Kelly
75
Kennedy
76
Kildee
77
Kind, Ron
78
Kuster
79
Langevin
80
Larsen
81
Larson
82
Lawrence
83
Lee
84
Lewis
85
Lieu
86
Loebsack
87
Lofgren
88
Lowenthal
89
Lujan
90
Lujan Grisham
91
Lynch
92
Maloney, S
93
Matsui
94
McCollum
95
McDermott
96
McGovern
97
McNerney
98
Meeks
99
Moore
100
Moulton
101
Napolitano
102
Neal
103
Nolan
104
Norton
105
O’Rourke
106
Payne
107
Pelosi
108
Perlmutter
109
Pierluisi
110
Pingree
111
Plaskett
112
Pocan
113
Polis
114
Price
115
Rangel
116
Richmond
117
Roybal-Allard
118
Ruiz
119
Ruppersberger
120
Rush
121
Ryan, Tim
122
Sablan
123
Sanchez, Linda
124
Sanchez, Loretta
125
Schakowsky
126
Scott, Bobby
127
Scott, David
128
Serrano
129
Sewell
130
Slaughter
131
Smith, Adam
132
Speier
133
Swalwell
134
Takai
135
Takano
136
Thompson, B.
137
Thompson, M.
138
Tonko
139
Torres
140
Tsongas
141
Van Hollen
142
Veasey
143
Velazquez
144
Visclosky
145
Walz
146
Waters
147
Watson Coleman
148
Welch
149
Wilson
150
Yarmuth
 


Call Your Rep. Today to Support Diplomacy with Iran! 202-224-3121

April 21, 2015

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It can be argued that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week passed legislation that might make it harder for the international community to reach a final agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.
Dozens of Representatives on the other side of the Capitol are taking a much more positive step to support the historic framework reached with Iran on its nuclear program.

Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), and David Price (D-NC) are getting other members to sign a letter that supports diplomacy with Iran over war.

Call your Rep. today at 202-224-3121 and ask them if they have signed the Schakowsky letter that supports the current negotiations with Iran.  If they have, thank them. If not urge them to do so soon before the letter is sent. 
This letter is important as it shown support in Congress for the historic framework reached by the international community and Iran that will keep it from making a nuclear weapon if it chose to do so.  The details and final technical points still need to be negotiated and a final accord signed by the June 30th deadline.

Opponents of the deal fail to provide a better alternative.  We could break off negotiations, but that would put Iran in a place where it could make the materials need for a crude nuclear bomb within weeks.  We could push for more sanctions.  The U.S. has almost maxed out on its sanctions and there isn’t the appetite for more sanctions from other countries.  And the greatest folly would be to use military intervention that would only set Iran back a few years and push them to definitively obtain a nuclear warhead as soon as possible.

Dial your Rep. now at 202-224-3121 and make sure they have signed the Schakowsky letter that supports diplomacy with Iran.  If they have, thank them.  If not urge them to do so soon before the letter is sent.

We’re on the verge of a historic breakthrough for peace. As the letter states: “This issue is above politics. The stakes are too great, and the alternatives are too dire.”

Please call today!

Humbly for Peace,

Paul Kawika Martin
Political Director
Peace Action

P.S. Call your Rep. today at 202-224-3121 and ask them if they have signed the Schakowsky letter that supports the current negotiations with Iran.  If they have, thank them.  If not urge them to do so soon before the letter is sent.  Then, forward this important email to your friends, family and colleagues.


Thoughts on the way forward for the Iran nuclear deal

April 16, 2015

Geneseo chapter

-Kevin Martin, Executive Director

Starting with a great statement by journalist Robert Parry:

“The April 2 framework agreement with Iran represents more than just a diplomatic deal to prevent nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. It marks a crossroad that offers a possible path for the American Republic to regain its footing and turn away from endless war.”

Now some musings about our message focus and framing moving forward:

1. While we need to continue arguing the merits of a nuclear deal with Iran from various angles, I think it’s time to be a bit assumptive, play some offense, and help create an air of inevitability, which can help us dig in more on the politics, which are clearly going to be more important than the policy. The argument goes something like this:

“Like it or not, a nuclear deal with Iran is extremely likely to happen. Iran, the Obama Administration, P5+1 and international community has invested too much for it to fall apart at this point. Just about the only way a deal could get scuttled is by the U.S. Congress.  How could that happen? Who would benefit, or perhaps better asked as in whose interests would killing the deal be?

Most Republicans want to kill anything that has Obama’s name on it out of blind partisan loathing. No news flash there. But we shouldn’t let them off the hook. When push comes to shove, to they really want to undermine the President of the United States for their partisan gain, or for their perceived notion of the interests of Israel or Saudi Arabia? I don’t see the harm in raising those questions, not likely to move them, but to help isolate them if they don’t budge.

The key to supporting or upholding a deal (in case there is the need for the President to veto any deal-killing legislation passed by Congress) will be Democrats, even more likely liberal/progressive Dems, some who have been either silent, insufficiently supportive of the Administration’s diplomacy, or outright opponents of a deal. Some are frankly disingenuous, saying they want peace and support diplomacy while advocating completely unrealistic conditions for a deal (Alan Grayson stands out right now). Some are, acknowledged or not, “pro-Israel hawks” or at least highly susceptible to AIPAC et al pressure. They’ll have to be smoked out – do they support the president of their party, and what their base wants, what the world wants, or what AIPAC wants? If the latter, they are helping make a war more likely.

Here is a pretty good analysis going more deeply into some of the political questions, both domestic and international:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Iran-Deal-Who-is-agai-by-Steven-Jonas-Iran_Iran-Arms-Industry_Iran-Embargo_Iran-Russia-Alliance-150415-150.html

2. Back to the policy, which reinforces our message on the politics (I think)

We might want to consider broadening our messaging to address re-balancing regional concerns and U.S. policy so it’s not all about Saudi Arabia and Israel, and the possibility of a new, transformed, positive relationship between the American and Iranian peoples (perhaps phrased like that, rather than between governments).

The latter is fairly self-evident I think, emphasizing that a deal on the nuclear issue could open up all kinds of economic and social benefits to the peoples of the two countries. It’s positive, peaceful, visionary. We should also emphasize the sanctions mostly hurt ordinary Iranians, not the mullahs or oligarchs. I don’t think we’ve gone far enough in “humanizing” the Iranian people, which I know seems simplistic but the level of demonization of an entire country for decades is tough to overcome.

The former is harder, maybe out of our reach. Certainly many elites and Members of Congress advocate Iran remaining in the penalty box forever, regardless of what happens with the nuclear program, and want U.S. policy to continue to privilege Saudi/Gulf states and Israeli interests indefinitely. I doubt they’d see it this way, but Obama, Kerry and co. have actually gone pretty far in bucking that elite consensus with the Iran negotiations.

Perhaps the way to frame this is to get the U.S. on the right side of inevitability. Iran is going to get out of the penalty box, we may become isolated from our allies if we hew to a hard line. Iran is going to play a key role in the region, there are already common interests between the U.S. and Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel are not going to dominate considerations of US policy in the region forever. There may well be a democratic revolution in Iran in the next decade so let’s be on good terms with the Iranian people, and a deal on nukes is the first step in all of this.

As the sign above says, Peace Demands Action, so we need to stay very engaged as the Congressional deliberations and international negotiations proceed.

I’d love to hear others’ thoughts, criticisms, alternative suggestions.


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