No Nukes! President Obama Keep Your Promise!

July 2, 2015

We want a nuke free world Picture Petition 014

It was President Obama who created the expectation that our country would lead a global effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons.  In his Prague speech in April, 20009 he committed the U.S. to this goal: “I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

Instead, the President has committed to completely rebuilding all three legs of the U.S. nuclear triad – strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and nuclear-armed submarines (SLBMs) and calls for spending $350 billion over the next decade and up to $1 trillion over the next 30 years.  Military experts agree that we cannot afford these costs and we can be just as secure, and probably more so, with far fewer nuclear weapons.

Sign Peace Action’s petition to President Obama.  Together, let’s hold him to his promise to lead the world to a future without nuclear weapons.

With just 18 months left in his presidency, there are concrete steps he can take immediately to show our nation is prepared to lead the world to that goal.  Some of them, like stating the US will not be the first nation to use nuclear weapons in war, taking our nuclear arsenal off ‘launch on warning’ status and initiating negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention to eliminate all nukes worldwide, as Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requires, don’t require Congressional approval.

Sign our petition to President Obama.  As we approach the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki we are reminded today’s nuclear weapons pack much greater destructive power and their use would be a catastrophe unlike any the world has ever seen.

Peace Action chapters are already planning 70th anniversary Hiroshima and Nagasaki commorations.  They will be reaching out to their local communities using earned media to educate the public on the danger that is still very much with us and what we need to do to abolish these doomsday weapons once and for all.

Each year, Peace Action sends a delegation to Japan to participate in observances there.  We will continue to work with our international partners to insure a strong presence at the United Nations as the UN works to repair the damage done at the NPT review when the United States blocked consensus on a final statement. 

Please sign our petition and then forward it to your family and friends..  Ask them to join in this effort to press President Obama to use the final 18 months of his presidency fulfill his promise “to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” Now that would be a legacy he could be proud of.


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.


Take Action: Tell President Obama to stop protecting Israel’s nuclear weapons monopoly in the Middle East

May 28, 2015

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Disappointingly but not surprisingly, the month-long Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference (NPT RevCon) at the United Nations ended last Friday in failure.  The United States and other nuclear powers continue to blow off their Article VI treaty obligation to negotiate the elimination of their arsenals, preaching abstinence to the non-nuclear states from a barstool while indulging in an outrageous binge of “modernization” of their nuclear weapons enterprises (the U.S. is the worst, planning to spend up to $1 trillion of our tax dollars over the next 30 years to upgrade all parts of the nuclear weapons complex).

There was no consensus reached at the NPT RevCon to strengthen and extend nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation measures as the United States (joined by the United Kingdom and Canada) blocked a proposal by Egypt to convene a conference to create a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone.  This isn’t the first time the U.S. put Israel’s desire to pretend it doesn’t have nuclear weapons above humanity’s interest in abolishing these doomsday weapons before it’s too late.

ACTION: Please write President Obama to protest the U.S.’s intervention to protect Israel’s nuclear arms monopoly in the region and demand he reverse course and work to convene the Middle East conference, as agreed at the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The Middle East conference was to have been held in 2012, but was never convened, due to Israeli and U.S. opposition. Furthermore, urge him to initiate negotiations for a nuclear weapons convention to eliminate all nukes worldwide, as the NPT’s Article VI requires.

The failure to agree to proceed toward a WMD-Free Zone conference, something advocated by all states in the region other than Israel, is particularly short-sighted.  The U.S. and its “P5+1” negotiating partners (France, China, the UK, Russia and Germany) are in the home stretch of crucial negotiations that would close off Iran’s potential paths to a bomb.  Israel’s nuclear weapons monopoly needs to be acknowledged and addressed or it will remain a stumbling block to regional peace and world security.

Peace Action was proud to be one of the co-conveners of the Peace and Planet mobilization, bringing thousands of peace and disarmament activists from around the world to New York just before the NPT RevCon. Peace and Planet is also a promising initiative to demand rapid progress toward global nuclear weapons abolition, as part of a broader peace and justice movement.

The failure of the obstinate nuclear states at the NPT RevCon is unacceptable.  Please take a moment to let the president know your views.

 

Peacefully and Disarmingly Yours,

Kevin Martin
Executive Director
Peace Action

P.S. If you want to read more on the NPT RevCon outcome (or lack thereof), please see my article on our Peace Blog


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.
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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
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
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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.


Tell Congress: Don’t Kill the Iran Deal

April 8, 2015

peace girl

You have worked with us for nearly a decade to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon, and that result comes via diplomacy, not war.  Our efforts, in coordination with a large coalition of organizations, combined with President Obama’s  determination, led to a historic framework agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, announced last week.

Take a quick moment to tell Congress not to torpedo this framework that will make us safer.

This critical agreement achieves two important things:

  1. If Iran decided to build a nuclear weapon (and that is a big if) the time it would take to produce enough fissile material for a crude weapon would be at least one year, giving the international community plenty of time to act.
  2. The International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) will have unprecedented inspections and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program from soup to nuts and can inspect any suspected covert sites as well.
    In exchange for the above Iran would receive economic sanctions relief.

Write Congress now to support this Iran deal that will avert war and lesson Middle East tensions.

If we stopped negotiating with Iran and it reversed the cutbacks in its nuclear program it would have the capacity to make enough nuclear bomb material for one crude weapon in only two to four months.  This agreement extends that four to six times by reducing Iran’s centrifuges by 2/3 and allowing it to use only old technology for 10 years, reducing its stockpile of low enriched uranium by 97% for 15 years and by reconfiguring its nuclear reactor so no weapons grade plutonium will be made, nor could be reprocessed, indefinitely.

Let’s not forget what the alternatives are.  We could stop negotiating with Iran and it could lower its time to get enough materials for a crude bomb to two months or less.  This might threaten Israel enough that it would take military action.  The U.S. could take military action that might push back Iran’s nuclear program by a few years, start a major war in the Middle East and encourage Iran to produce a nuclear weapon as soon as possible.

Speaking of war, already neocons like Sen. McCain, Bill Kristol and John Bolton have either alluded to or directly called for U.S. bombing of Iran.  We all remember the Iraq war.  Iran is nearly four times the size of Iraq with almost three times the population and a much larger military.  This is a horrific option and why the vast majority of Americans oppose military intervention with Iran.

Congress needs to hear from you that we need to let negotiators get a signed accord with Iran based on the strong framework already agreed to.

Even though the negotiators have until June 30th to finalize an agreement, some in Congress want to take legislative action that would most likely kill the bill.  Next week, Sen. Corker will mark up and try to bring to the floor a bill that would require Congress to take an up or down vote on any final deal, bar the President from relieving sanctions for months and require the nearly impossible task of guaranteeing that Iran is not funding any violent extremists.

Thanks again for your help in getting us this far and so very close to solving one of the national security conundrums of the decade.  Do take a moment to write your congressional delegation and ask them to support this agreement.

Humbly for Peace,

Paul Kawika Martin
Political Director
Peace Action

P.S. By sending a quick letter to Congress to oppose any legislation around Iran diplomacy, it will give the international community the best chance to finalize the historic framework agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.  Please edit the letter with your own words to give voice to your concerns and hopes for peace!


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