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.


Join Peace Action at the US Social Forum in Philadelphia this Friday, June 26!

June 22, 2015

Geneseo chapter

Peace Actionistas from the national office and our Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania affiliates will give presentations and lead discussions on various peace and justice issues at three different sessions this Friday, June 26th at the US Social Forum at Temple University in Philadelphia.

1. Massachusetts Peace Action on a Foreign Policy for All, 8:30 to 10:00 am, Temple University Mitten Hall Room, 1801 N. Broad St.

2. Peace Action of New York State board chair Jim Anderson and Student Coordinator Natia Bueno, along with American Friends Service Committee’s Joseph Gerson and Sofia Wolman, Shattering Silos – Building Connections Between Peace and Disarmament, Social, Economic and Racial Justice and Climate Change Movements, 10:30AM-noon – Temple University Gittis Student Center – Room 217 A, 13th St. and Montgomery Ave. This workshop is a follow-up to our Peace and Planet organizing in New York in April and May.

3. No Wars, No Warming! Justice at Home, Peace Abroad! Explore Solutions for our Communities! Organized by Coalition for Peace Action’s Ed Aguilar and Alesha Vega along with colleague organizations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, this Peoples Movement Assembly will explore a variety of peace and justice issues. National Executive Director Kevin Martin will speak at 4 pm on the prospective peace deal with Iran and prospects for a Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Middle East, and Code Pink co-founder (and Peace Action Advisory Board member) Medea Benjamin will recount her recent trip to Korea as part of a women’s peace delegation. 1:00 – 5:30 pm (presented in four separate sessions, see previous link for details) Reel Cinema, ground floor, Temple University Gittis Student Center, 13th St. and Montgomery Ave.

Hope to see you there!


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.


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!


Peace Action’s Paul Kawika Martin on MSNBC.com – Why Congress should give a nuclear deal with Iran a chance

April 3, 2015

 peace girl

04/02/15 07:09 PM—UPDATED 04/02/15 07:21 PM

Today the United States, Iran, and other world powers announced significant progress on reaching a final agreement regarding Tehran’s nuclear program. The agreement is historic – initiating steps that will keep Iran from producing a nuclear weapon in exchange for lifting international sanctions against the country. But some in Congress seem determined to kill the deal.

RELATED: Obama praises Iran nuclear framework: ‘It is a good deal’

The arrangement between the international community and Iran on its nuclear program will keep Iran at least a year away from having the fissile material needed to make a crude nuclear weapon for at least ten years. Without an agreement, that timeline shrinks to a matter of weeks and the threat of war increases dramatically. If you think that a year is too short, note that is the time to make the weapons-grade material and leaves out time for testing, building a bomb, developing technologies to miniaturize the weapon to fit on missiles or other delivery systems. Governments will have plenty of time to act if Iran breaks the accord.

The success of these talks again proves that diplomacy works.
This agreement – which the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, plus Germany (known as the P5+1) and Iran hope to finalize by a deadline of June 30 – will undoubtedly make Americans and the world safer by removing the possibility that another country will acquire nuclear weapons and possibly start an arms race in the Middle East.

Several recent polls show that Americans oppose military intervention with Iran by as much as 71% and support reaching an entente by nearly 60%. The success of these talks again proves that diplomacy works. The negotiations have already worked by rolling back Iran’s nuclear program and implementing intrusive inspections and thorough monitoring.

VIDEO: Solid foundation reached for ‘good deal’ with Iran, Kerry says

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. continues to use dialogue, negotiations and the international community to solve conflict. These negotiations may pave the way for more discussions on issues like human rights and regional security that will further reduce Middle East tensions.

The finalized agreement will include five major components:

  • Decreasing the stockpile of material that could possibly be made into fissile material for 15 years.
  • Limiting the quantity (by two-thirds) and quality of centrifuges that could make highly enriched uranium needed for a nuclear bomb for 10 years.
  • Reconfiguring the nuclear reactor (and securing its spent fuel) in the city of Arak so it won’t produce any weapons-grade plutonium.
  • Implementing unprecedented and exhaustive inspections and comprehensive monitoring for 20 years or more.
  • And lastly, implementing the lifting of specific sanctions on Iran that, if Iran breaks the deal, will snap back into place.

An agreement with Iran on its nuclear program is better than any imaginable alternative. Military strategists have said over and over again that a military intervention with Iran would at best slightly delay any nuclear program and at worst force Iran to engage in getting a nuclear weapon even if they had no such program.

An agreement with Iran on its nuclear program is better than any imaginable alternative.

Any letters or legislation that offer more sanctions or tie the hands of the negotiators are clearly meant to kill the talks.  Poison pill bills like Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s, which could delay implementation of an agreement for months and throws up nearly-impossible certification hurdles, should be defeated. Scuttling negotiations would be short-sighted, considering an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program would likely lead to productive negotiations on other items of mutual concern.It is clear that the negotiations with Iran are headed toward an agreement that benefits all parties. Americans already support an agreement. Now Congress needs to show its support and refrain from thwarting an accord with any legislation.

Paul Kawika Martin is the political and policy director of Peace Action, and has been working on the Iran issue for more than eight years.


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