Largest Peace Group Endorses Sanders

February 10, 2016

 

Washington, DC — February 10, 2016 — For the first time in nearly 25 years, Peace Action PAC, the political action committee of Peace Action (the largest peace group in the U.S.) has endorsed a candidate for President:  Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) for the Democratic primary.

“Peace Action PAC is proud to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) for the Democratic presidential primary.  With Sanders’ opposition to both Iraq Wars, support for the significant reduction of nuclear weapons, endorsement of the Iran agreement, championing the reduction of Pentagon spending and general support of diplomacy over war, he best represents the values that Peace Action and its 200,000 supporters have espoused for nearly 60 years,” said Kevin Martin, Peace Action’s executive director.

The organization has a high-bar for presidential endorsements requiring the agreement of two-thirds of its board of directors.  Before the board voted, it polled its supporters, and Sanders received 85% support.  The Sanders endorsement easily passed with near unanimity.

“Sanders opposed the proposed Syria airstrikes in 2013, sending arms to Syrian rebels, and military escalation in the region with U.S. special ops forces.  His clear preference to find alternatives to costly, ineffectual and many times backfiring military intervention, making him deserving of Peace Action PAC’s rare endorsement,” added Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action PAC’s director.

In support of Sanders’ low donor campaign, Peace Action asks its supporters to donate here:

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About Peace Action:

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:

For a more reasons why Peace Action PAC endorsed Sanders:

Top 5 Reasons Peace Action PAC is Endorsing Bernie Sanders for President

Top 5 Reasons Peace Action PAC is Endorsing Bernie Sanders for President

By Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action & Jon Rainwater, Executive Director, Peace Action West

After 15 years of war, the next president of the United States will inherit daunting foreign policy challenges. Sadly, many of those challenges were fueled by an “act first, think later” U.S. military policy in places like Iraq and Libya that has backfired. At the same time, the new president will need to sustain diplomatic initiatives started by President Obama including the Iranian nuclear deal and peace talks to end the Syria war.

We need a president that can cultivate diplomatic openings while turning the country away from an over-reliance on the blunt military instrument. Bernie Sanders has vocally opposed this military-first foreign policy and the sprawling quagmire the U.S. is enmeshed in. That’s why Peace Action PAC is endorsing Senator Bernie Sanders for President in the Democratic primary.

Sanders didn’t just get the Iraq war vote right. Then and now, he’s had the foresight to predict the dangers of a military-first foreign policy.

Bernie Sanders has been a leading voice in Congress against risky U.S. military adventurism. Sanders was prescient in describing the pitfalls of the Iraq war that so many of his colleagues were blind to. Sanders predicted the high cost of the war for the U.S. in terms of lives and wasted resources. He had the foresight to accurately predict that a U.S. invasion of Iraq could lead to sectarian conflict and he argued that the ensuing chaos could support the rise of extremism.

Sanders has continued to point out when blunt military tools only make the complex conflicts in the Middle East worse. He opposed plans to bomb Syria over concerns about chemical weapons use. He voted against the disgraced program to arm “moderate” Syrian rebels that resulted in some U.S.-trained rebels taking their weapons stockpiles and joining the ranks of extremists.

Sanders now opposes sending U.S. ground troops to Syria and warns of a potential quagmire. There are already roughly 6,000 Americans involved in the fighting in Iraq and Syria and most of the leading presidential candidates are calling for more. Sanders also opposes the proposed “no-fly-zone” in Syria which many experts feel would endanger civilians while risking a direct conflict with Russia that could spiral out of control.

Sanders supports a truly diplomacy-first foreign policy

Sanders is not afraid to take bold positions on behalf of diplomacy and conflict resolution. He was a vocal and visible leader in the debate about the Iran nuclear deal and forcefully rebutted the deal’s critics like Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, like President Obama, he wants to build on the Iran deal to help reduce tensions in the Middle East. Recently, when Sanders expressed cautious optimism about normalized relations with Iran he was immediately pounced on by opponents as naive  —  despite the fact that allies like Canada and Europe are eagerly moving towards economic and diplomatic normalization with Iran. We need someone who can seize and sustain diplomatic openings.

Sanders has articulated a much more cautious approach to regime change and military intervention than the other leading candidates for president. In the run up to the Gulf War (1991) and the Iraq War (2002) he pushed for a diplomatic resolution. He is also resisting the growing saber rattling and talk of a new Cold War by some U.S. and Russian politicians. Sanders instead calls for a diplomatic approach to the conflict in Eastern Europe.

Sanders’s campaign is also making a critical strategic point that the country needs to hear: If the military fight against extremism in the Middle East continues to be led by the U.S., the extremists’ recruitment narrative  —  and thereby their lasting power  —  is strengthened. In the long run that makes us all less safe. Most experts agree that only political and diplomatic solutions can bring stability to Iraq, Syria and Libya. But Sanders is the rare elected official willing to resist the climate of fear that leads to band-aid military tactics. He instead champions the tools that can really keep us safer.

Sanders is taking on Pentagon bloat

Bernie Sanders is one of the leading voices in Congress in the fight against wasteful Pentagon spending. He has opposed the special war-funding account that is being used as a “slush fund” for the Pentagon. He’s repeatedly pointed out that the Pentagon’s out of control spending is based on Cold War era military thinking and weapons systems. Sanders also points out that the Pentagon budget is so mismanaged that the Pentagon is unable to say where they actually spend all their money.

Sanders knows that diplomacy, humanitarian aid, and economic development are often more effective security building tools than military intervention. He’s pushed to reform security spending by cutting wasteful Pentagon weapons systems and foreign arms transfers to increase spending for programs that work to prevent conflict and build stability.

Getting Big Money out of our politics is as important for a progressive foreign policy as for domestic priorities. Economic fairness and truly secure communities are linked.

Sanders is the only candidate challenging the power of the military-industrial complex and their campaign contributions. Pentagon industry insiders are reaping record profits for weapons systems that aren’t needed given our real twenty-first century security needs. Meanwhile other needs that also contribute to real security for U.S. communities are starved for funds.

Sanders has smart, concrete proposals for an accessible education system; for fixing our crumbling infrastructure; for investments in clean energy and a healthy of the environment; and for a strong, resilient universal health care system. In the twenty-first century these things are part of what makes our communities truly safe and secure. It will be very difficult to fund those proposals without taking on entrenched interests that benefit from a military budget that currently gobbles up half of discretionary expenditures.

“I would ask all of my colleagues to remember what Eisenhower said [about how the military-industrial complex robs from social investments] and understand that today, when we have this bloated and huge military budget, there are people who are talking about massive cuts in food stamps, massive cuts in education, massive cuts in affordable housing, cuts in Social Security, cuts in Medicare, cuts in Medicaid. I would argue very strongly that before we cut from the elderly and the children and the sick and the poor, maybe we take a hard look at this bloated military budget.”

—  Bernie Sanders on the floor of the U.S. Senate, December 2013

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Top 5 Reasons Peace Action PAC is Endorsing Bernie Sanders for President

February 10, 2016

supporters

By Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Peace Action & Jon Rainwater, Executive Director, Peace Action West

After 15 years of war, the next president of the United States will inherit daunting foreign policy challenges. Sadly, many of those challenges were fueled by an “act first, think later” U.S. military policy in places like Iraq and Libya that has backfired. At the same time, the new president will need to sustain diplomatic initiatives started by President Obama including the Iranian nuclear deal and peace talks to end the Syria war.

We need a president that can cultivate diplomatic openings while turning the country away from an over-reliance on the blunt military instrument. Bernie Sanders has vocally opposed this military-first foreign policy and the sprawling quagmire the U.S. is enmeshed in. That’s why Peace Action PAC is endorsing Senator Bernie Sanders for President in the Democratic primary.

Sanders didn’t just get the Iraq war vote right. Then and now, he’s had the foresight to predict the dangers of a military-first foreign policy.

Bernie Sanders has been a leading voice in Congress against risky U.S. military adventurism. Sanders was prescient in describing the pitfalls of the Iraq war that so many of his colleagues were blind to. Sanders predicted the high cost of the war for the U.S. in terms of lives and wasted resources. He had the foresight to accurately predict that a U.S. invasion of Iraq could lead to sectarian conflict and he argued that the ensuing chaos could support the rise of extremism.

Sanders has continued to point out when blunt military tools only make the complex conflicts in the Middle East worse. He opposed plans to bomb Syria over concerns about chemical weapons use. He voted against the disgraced program to arm “moderate” Syrian rebels that resulted in some U.S.-trained rebels taking their weapons stockpiles and joining the ranks of extremists.

Sanders now opposes sending U.S. ground troops to Syria and warns of a potential quagmire. There are already roughly 6,000 Americans involved in the fighting in Iraq and Syria and most of the leading presidential candidates are calling for more. Sanders also opposes the proposed “no-fly-zone” in Syria which many experts feel would endanger civilians while risking a direct conflict with Russia that could spiral out of control.

Sanders supports a truly diplomacy-first foreign policy

Sanders is not afraid to take bold positions on behalf of diplomacy and conflict resolution. He was a vocal and visible leader in the debate about the Iran nuclear deal and forcefully rebutted the deal’s critics like Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, like President Obama, he wants to build on the Iran deal to help reduce tensions in the Middle East. Recently, when Sanders expressed cautious optimism about normalized relations with Iran he was immediately pounced on by opponents as naive  —  despite the fact that allies like Canada and Europe are eagerly moving towards economic and diplomatic normalization with Iran. We need someone who can seize and sustain diplomatic openings.

Sanders has articulated a much more cautious approach to regime change and military intervention than the other leading candidates for president. In the run up to the Gulf War (1991) and the Iraq War (2002) he pushed for a diplomatic resolution. He is also resisting the growing saber rattling and talk of a new Cold War by some U.S. and Russian politicians. Sanders instead calls for a diplomatic approach to the conflict in Eastern Europe.

Sanders’s campaign is also making a critical strategic point that the country needs to hear: If the military fight against extremism in the Middle East continues to be led by the U.S., the extremists’ recruitment narrative  —  and thereby their lasting power  —  is strengthened. In the long run that makes us all less safe. Most experts agree that only political and diplomatic solutions can bring stability to Iraq, Syria and Libya. But Sanders is the rare elected official willing to resist the climate of fear that leads to band-aid military tactics. He instead champions the tools that can really keep us safer.

Sanders is taking on Pentagon bloat

Bernie Sanders is one of the leading voices in Congress in the fight against wasteful Pentagon spending. He has opposed the special war-funding account that is being used as a “slush fund” for the Pentagon. He’s repeatedly pointed out that the Pentagon’s out of control spending is based on Cold War era military thinking and weapons systems. Sanders also points out that the Pentagon budget is so mismanaged that the Pentagon is unable to say where they actually spend all their money.

Sanders knows that diplomacy, humanitarian aid, and economic development are often more effective security building tools than military intervention. He’s pushed to reform security spending by cutting wasteful Pentagon weapons systems and foreign arms transfers to increase spending for programs that work to prevent conflict and build stability.

Getting Big Money out of our politics is as important for a progressive foreign policy as for domestic priorities. Economic fairness and truly secure communities are linked.

Sanders is the only candidate challenging the power of the military-industrial complex and their campaign contributions. Pentagon industry insiders are reaping record profits for weapons systems that aren’t needed given our real twenty-first century security needs. Meanwhile other needs that also contribute to real security for U.S. communities are starved for funds.

Sanders has smart, concrete proposals for an accessible education system; for fixing our crumbling infrastructure; for investments in clean energy and a healthy of the environment; and for a strong, resilient universal health care system. In the twenty-first century these things are part of what makes our communities truly safe and secure. It will be very difficult to fund those proposals without taking on entrenched interests that benefit from a military budget that currently gobbles up half of discretionary expenditures.

“I would ask all of my colleagues to remember what Eisenhower said [about how the military-industrial complex robs from social investments] and understand that today, when we have this bloated and huge military budget, there are people who are talking about massive cuts in food stamps, massive cuts in education, massive cuts in affordable housing, cuts in Social Security, cuts in Medicare, cuts in Medicaid. I would argue very strongly that before we cut from the elderly and the children and the sick and the poor, maybe we take a hard look at this bloated military budget.”

—  Bernie Sanders on the floor of the U.S. Senate, December 2013

In support of Sanders’ low donor campaign, Peace Action asks its supporters to donate here:


Peace Action Applauds Iran Agreement Success; Urges Similar Diplomatic Efforts with Syria and North Korea

January 16, 2016

Peace Action Applauds Iran Agreement Success; Urges Similar Diplomatic Efforts with Syria and North Korea

Washington, DC — January 16, 2016 — In response to today’s announcement that all parties (The United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany — the P5 + 1), including Iran, have implemented their responsibilities under the agreement reached last July 14 that has significantly rolled back Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting international sanctions against the country, Paul Kawika Martin the policy and political director of Peace Action (the largest peace group in the U.S. founded on abolishing nuclear weapons) who has been working on the Iran issue for over eight years and had the rare opportunity to spend time in Iran and enjoyed hospitality from its people and its vast culture, made the following statement:

“Successful diplomacy has moved Iran from a possible timeline of a few months to over a year away from having the fissile material needed to make a crude nuclear weapon if it so chose.  This historic agreement, now implemented, makes the U.S. and the world a safer place.

“The implementation of the agreement proves that diplomacy works.  Instead of isolation, sanctions that don’t affect leaders or military intervention that costs vast amounts of blood and treasure and untold long-term costs and unintended consequences, the U.S. used dialogue, negotiations and the international community to solve conflict.

“The U.S. should continue to use diplomacy with Iran to tackle issues like human rights and regional security that will further reduce Middle East tensions.

“Additionally, we should take lessons learned and continue diplomacy to bring about a cease-fire within Syria and finalize a political solution to end its civil war.

“In particular, the U.S should heed its success of negotiating with Iran without preconditions to re-enter into six-party talks with North Korea and drop its demand of preconditions for continued dialogue.

“Lastly, this success shows that excessive Pentagon spending needs to be replaced with more diplomatic tools to solve international conflicts without the horrendous costs of military intervention.”

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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


Action Alert: The Other Existential Threat

January 14, 2016
Return of the Asparagus Missile! (from our Japanese colleague organization Gensuikin)

Return of the Asparagus Missile! (from our Japanese colleague organization Gensuikin)

It appears President Obama forgot something.  In his State of the Union message last night he touched on the need to confront one of the great existential dangers of our time – climate change – but failed to even mention the other – the ever present threat of nuclear annihilation.

Considering his past writings and speeches, President Obama has stated his concern about the multiple threats posed by nuclear weapons and he promised in his 2009 Prague speech to do something about it.

ACTION
Ask President Obama in his final year as President, to turn the words of his 2009 Prague speech into action.  Urge him cancel plans to spend hundreds of billions to modernize our nuclear arsenal.  Canceling this nuclear weapons forever program would reduce the danger of nuclear proliferation and the likelihood of nuclear war –either accidential or intentional – with all its corresponding menace, radioactive contamination, nuclear winter, widespread devastation, starvation, and suffering.

Plans to modernize the US nuclear arsenal will likely cost upward of a trillion dollars, assuming future presidents follow through with the new bombers, submarines and land-based missiles, along with planned upgrades of eight factories and laboratories.

This danger is real. Plans for a new cruise missile, for example, at a cost of $30 billion, comes in nuclear and non-nuclear varieties, meaning a nation under attack won’t know what kind of warhead the missile is carrying which might lead to a nuclear response to a non-nuclear attack.

I could spend all day writing about these costly, crazy plans and the danger they represent, but I need you instead to write President Obama right now, and tell him to fulfill his Prague promise and lead the world to a nuclear free future.  After you’re done you can google the term ‘accidental nuclear war’ and see for yourself.

Let this be the year the US cancels its nuclear weapons forever program.

 

Peacefully yours,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S. –   If you prefer, you can contact the White House comment line at 202 456-1111 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm eastern time) or write President Obama at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500. You could even fax him at 202 456-2461.  Thank you taking action.


Statement on North Korea’s nuclear weapons test

January 6, 2016

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From Christine Ahn, Peace Action Advisory Board member and a lead organizer of last year’s women’s peace delegation to North and South Korea:

“It’s a very very unfortunate turn of events that North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb, but an even greater reason for the United States to end its futile policy of “strategic patience” (i.e. waiting for the North Korean regime to collapse) and engage. We need the peace movement that mobilized for the Iran deal to press for a peace treaty with North Korea, which Pyongyang has recently appealed for and was a promise made 63 years ago when Washington signed the armistice agreement with China and North Korea temporarily halting the war. It’s what the South Korean peace movements have been calling for, and we need the U.S. Public to become aware of this history.”

One important note on this event is there is substantial skepticism the test was a hydrogen/thermonuclear bomb, it might have been an atomic/fission bomb boosted with tritium.


Tens of thousands of U.S. casualties from our country’s nuclear weapons program

January 4, 2016

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National Peace Action board member Larry Wittner has a new column on History News Network commenting on the staggering death toll, of tens of thousands of people in this country, from U.S. nuclear weapons production and testing. Please read, re-post, share and circulate this article, with a link to a recent video and article by McClatchy News, which undertook an investigative study of this awful consequence of our country’s obsession with nuclear weapons.


Nuclear Disarmament Program in DC Sunday Nov. 8

November 2, 2015

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All Souls Church, a Unitarian church in Northwest Washington that has long promoted peace and social justice action in the Adams Morgan/Mount Pleasant/Columbia Heights community and in the world, is especially concerned with nuclear weapons abolition, and has developed strong relationships with Japanese peace groups. Next Sunday, the Church will host 27 members of Rissho Kosei-kai (RKK), a worldwide Buddhist organization, visiting from Japan, for a public forum on nuclear disarmament.

Heiwa Peace Program: Peacemaking, Nuclear Non-Proliferation, and Disarmament
All Souls Church Unitarian 1500 Harvard Street NW @ 16th Washington DC 20009
Sunday, November 8, 1:30 – 3:45 P.M.

Speakers will include members of RKK including Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors), American University Professor Peter Kuznick, Bruce Knotts, Director, Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office and yours truly. For more information, please see All Souls Church

Peacefully Yours,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action


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