Pro-Iran Diplomacy Op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer

August 26, 2015

by Norman Robbins of Cleveland Peace Action

Iran nuclear deal – the pros outweigh the cons

When arguments about the Iran nuclear deal rage over arcane matters such as the allowable kilograms of low enriched uranium, the reliability of Additional Protocol inspections, or whether Iran can reprocess spent fuel, most of us find our eyes glazing over. We really just want to know whether the nuclear deal has sufficiently blocked all pathways to building a nuclear weapon for a reasonable period. As adults, we know that a fair deal was bound to leave each side somewhat dissatisfied. But is the big picture positive or negative?

One way to decide is to evaluate the credibility of those holding differing views. When we do so, it appears that on balance, most qualified experts who have spoken out publicly favor the deal.

For starters, a great many published statements of support for the deal have come from eminent military, nuclear, diplomatic and nonproliferation experts, altogether totaling hundreds of individuals (see references at https://peaceblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/20/validators-of-iran-nuclear-deal/). The number of these experts, many who have served under both Democratic and Republican administrations, absolutely dwarfs the handful of bona fide experts (not including media pundits) who oppose the deal.

For instance, more than 80 Israeli former military and intelligence leaders support the deal or at least have advised Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to stop opposing it, and reportedly few Israeli military people say the deal is a major detriment to Israel.

So why should we listen to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warnings of dire consequences? Do Israel’s military and intelligence leaders know or care less about Israel’s security than Netanyahu?

In stark contrast, Netanyahu, the leader of the charge to scuttle the agreement, has a long history of making confident predictions that have turned out to be dead wrong. From 1992 to 2012 (for 20 years!), he repeatedly predicted that Iran would have a nuclear bomb in three years or less.

Wrong! Since 2007, the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, a consensus of 16 intelligence agencies, repeatedly affirmed that Iran has not worked on a nuclear weapon since 2003 and has not decided whether to do so.

Netanyahu ”guaranteed” Congress in 2002 that ”the Iraq War would have enormous positive reverberations in the region.”

Wrong! We all know how that fiasco turned out.

Netanyahu has demanded that a nuclear deal with Iran must compel Iran to totally dismantle its nuclear program.

Wrong! We know for a fact that precisely this demand undermined U.S.-European attempts at negotiation with Iran from 2003 to 2013. Numerous polls have shown that Iranians proudly consider their peaceful nuclear program as non-negotiable, especially in view of their dismal history of humiliating quasi-colonial interventions.

Stack up these major and repeated wrong-headed blunders, many contrary to the advice and opinion of experienced experts, and it is clear that one should set little stock by what Netanyahu and his followers claim, especially in the category of hyperbolic fearmongering (e.g., that Iran is going to attack the United States or Israel with nukes).

Those who oppose the deal assure us that we can get a better deal if we sack this one, but most experienced diplomats disagree. European, Chinese and Russian ambassadors have told members of Congress that the sanctions would collapse and no new deal could emerge if Congress sank the deal. Claims that the United States could impose ”secondary” sanctions on countries that resume trade with Iran have been countered by economic experts who point out that the resulting losses of trade (e.g. with China and Southeast Asian countries) would greatly harm the U.S. economy.

Again, naysayers assert that if the deal falls through and Iran restores its pre-existing nuclear capacity, we can always default to military action. Indeed, one of Netanyahu’s major U.S. financial supporters, Sheldon Adelson, publicly proposed dropping nukes on Iran to force it to abandon its nuclear program, and Netanyahu has never disavowed that genocidal proposal.

How credible are these people? Once again, 36 retired U.S. military leaders, who know well the dire unintended consequences of heedless military action, say we must try the diplomatic approach long before we contemplate military action.

We have some 20,000 American sailors and perhaps 10,000 soldiers on bases within easy reach of enormous numbers of Iranian ship- and shore-based missiles. Do we really want to put their lives at risk by refusing to listen to voices of reason and experience?

Will our still-uncommitted Ohio Congress members — Marcia Fudge, Marcy Kaptur, Tim Ryan and Joyce Beatty — have the courage to resist pressure and be among those listeners? 

 

Robbins is an emeritus professor of neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University and Iran consultant to Cleveland Peace Action.


Peace Action Iran article on MSNBC.com, please help promote!

July 17, 2015
Paul Kawika Martin at a pro-democracy rally in front of the Iranian interests section in Washington, DC attended by nearly 1,000 Iranians

Paul Kawika Martin at a pro-democracy rally in 2009 in front of the Iranian interests section in Washington, DC attended by nearly 1,000 Iranians

Our Policy Director, Paul Kawika Martin, had this op-ed published by MSNBC (they gave it a less than great headline though). Please help promote the article by:

  1. Retweeting: https://twitter.com/PaulKawika/status/621810654962434049
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 The Iran deal isn’t perfect. But it’s better than another war.

Now that the United States, other world powers and Iran have reached a final agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, the action on this historic chance for peace turns to Congress.

The legislative branch, authorized by President Obama to approve the Iran deal, now has great power and responsibility: They can either reject the accord, potentially killing diplomacy and putting the United States on a path to war, or allow the president to implement the deal and solidify American goals of blocking all of Iran’s paths to building a nuclear weapon and making the U.S., its allies, and the Middle East more secure.

RELATED: Obama: Without Iran deal, we risk more war

As Congress debates the merits of the final nuclear agreement, it would be wise to listen to the nuclear and non-proliferation experts who say this agreement will move Iran’s breakout time – the time to produce enough fissile material to produce a nuclear weapon – from the current three months to one year or more. They also point out that the agreement provides unprecedented inspections, monitoring and verification regimes, which would catch Iran if it cheated and “snap back” sanctions in short order.

Some lawmakers claim that the U.S. can get a “better deal.” But experts say there is no such thing.

Why? A better deal would require more pressure on Iran in the form of more sanctions, which have only worked when the entire international community participates. If the U.S. backs out of the deal, our partners aren’t likely to join us in the re-imposition of sanctions after they all just agreed to the deal on the table. Remember, it wasn’t just the Americans and the Iranians negotiating over the past decade and with great intensity the last few years: The British, French, Chinese, Russians and Germans all okayed this agreement, too. As Nicholas Burns, a former top U.S. negotiator with Iran, points out, the global sanctions regime would collapse if the U.S. walks away now from this international agreement.

The other alternative, military intervention, wouldn’t work and would be extraordinarily costly in blood and treasure. Military experts agree that even a highly successful war with Iran may only set its nuclear program back a few years and it wouldn’t destroy the country’s technological know-how. Intervention could also force Iran to do everything possible to obtain a nuclear weapon.

It’s very difficult to estimate long-term costs of wars. You must calculate long-term health care, interest on debt, opportunity costs, loss of productivity and other difficult variables. Nobel Prize-winning economists estimate the total costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars will run between $4-$6 trillion – nearly enough to fund the U.S government for two years. Now consider that Iran is nearly three times as populous as Iraq, four times larger geographically, and spends $8-$14 billion annually on its military compared to the few billion Iraq spent when the U.S. invaded in 2002.

RELATED: On Iran, no need to speculate about the alternative. We’ve already lived it.

Other experts posit that for just the first three months, targeted strikes on Iran’s nuclear program would cost nearly a trillion dollars, with expanded bombings of some military sites increasing the bill by several hundred billion and a full-scale invasion nearing a whopping $2 trillion.

Again, a war with Iran would likely have unpredictable consequences. Would a military intervention spark a larger war in the Middle East with Shiite militias attacking American assets in Iraq, Yemen and other countries? Iran has been linked to acts of terrorism from bombings to assassinations. If the U.S. or Israel attacked Iran, they could certainly use such tactics on American targets abroad and perhaps here at home. Iran’s naval capacity and anti-ship missiles could attack U.S. assets or start a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz, where 20% of the world’s oil passes, creating a spike in oil prices that would have a deleterious affect on the entire world economy.

The most important cost to consider is human. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have caused nearly 7,000 U.S. deaths, left well over 50,000 Americans physically wounded, countless mentally and emotionally scarred and, some claim, over one million civilian casualties. It would be difficult to predict the causalities from a war with Iran, but with the likely outcome not solving the problem, it’s clearly not worth the human or financial costs.

The international agreement with Iran keeps it from a nuclear weapon for a decade at least. There is no better agreement to be reached. The alternatives would fail and their price is unacceptably high. While it’s not a perfect path, it is the only path Congress should support publicly and vote to approve. I am contacting both my Senators and my Representative to tell them just that. I hope you’ll join me.

Paul Kawika Martin is the political and policy director of Peace Action, the largest peace group in the U.S. He can be reached on Twitter @PaulKawika.


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.


Two Peace Movement Book Events Next Week in DC with Authors Michael Heaney and Vincent Intondi

February 27, 2015

Mass banner

Our good friends at Busboys and Poets are hosting two very interesting book events in Washington, DC next week, well worth your time if you are free Monday and/or Tuesday evenings.

Our good friends at Busboys and Poets are hosting two very interesting book events in Washington, DC next week, well worth your time if you are free Monday and/or Tuesday evenings.

Event #1: Monday, March 2, 6:30-8:00 pm at the 14th and V Sts, NW Busboys and Poets, sponsored by Teaching for Change

Author Michael Heaney, assistant professor at the University of Michigan, will speak about his book (written with Fabio Rojas) Party in the Street: The Antiwar Movement and the Democratic Party after 9/11.  Michael, Fabio and their assistants did a phenomenal job interviewing anti-war activists and attendees at all the major antiwar rallies of the 2000s, and their findings are very compelling. Click here for more information.

Event #2: Tuesday, March 3,  6:30 pm at the Busboys and Poets Brookland location, 625 Monroe St, NE, Washington, DC 20017, sponsored by Politics and Prose

Vincent Intondi, professor at Montgomery College and American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute, will speak on his book African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism and the Black Freedom Movement. Vincent’s book is groundbreaking in raising up a forgotten history of people of color movements against nuclear weapons, in the context of broader liberation and justice struggles. Click here for more information.


Please Join a Dozen Organizations in Telling Congress to Reject Endless War

February 19, 2015

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The U.S. Congress is considering another “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” — a broad approval for more war.

Click here to oppose any new AUMF.

This is the last thing we need. These wars are not making us safer but generating enemies. They are not surgical operations, but mass killings, as well as assaults on the natural environment and the public budget — not to mention excuses for curtailing civil liberties.

Please click here to sign the following statement for delivery to the media and Congress:

We oppose any new authorization for the use of military force and call for the immediate repeal of the authorizations passed by Congress in 2001 and 2002.

This petition will be a powerful tool as it is being jointly promoted by Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Iraq Veterans Against the War, KnowDrones.com, Military Families Speak Out, Peace Action, Peace Action Montgomery, RootsAction.org, United National Antiwar Coalition, Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones, U.S. Labor Against the War, and World Beyond War.

After signing the petition, please forward this message to your friends. You can also share it from the webpage after taking the action yourself.

Humbly for Peace,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

 


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