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Recommended action–opposition to proposed US military action against Syria–vigils and actions late on Tuesday and beyond

Sat, Aug 31, 2013

HCCN


PLEASE PASS ALONG TO OTHERS IN YOUR GROUP OR AREA. THANKS!
In many areas, there will be peace vigils on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. 

In addition to presenting arguments to oppose US military action against Syria (below) and making contact with congress or the White House to ask them to at least debate the question or oppose any action (also see below), several people have suggested:

(1) In as many locations as possible, gather at a federal building, a bridge, a downtown location, a place with a lot of traffic on Tuesday, Sept. 3 (4-5 PM, 5-6 PM, near the end of the work day for many) with a vigil, a march, a rally, or some event to note public opposition to any US attack on Syria. 
(2) Another gathering the day following any actual attack to repeat our opposition to military action, same time and place as the one on Tuesday. Let’s hope we don’t have to take this second action at all!

Larry Dansinger
(207) 525-7776 or rosc@psouth.net


Opposition to Iraq War May Save Syria

By David Swanson
http://warisacrime.org/content/opposition-iraq-war-may-save-syria

Evidence of “weapons of mass destruction” is “no slam dunk,” U.S. officials are saying this time around, reversing the claim made about Iraq by then-CIA director George Tenet.

Opposition to a U.S.-led attack on Syria is growing rapidly in Europe and the United States, drawing its strength from public awareness that the case made for attacking Iraq had holes in it.

A majorit y in the United States, still very much aware of Iraq war deceptions, opposes arming the “rebel” force in Syria, so heavily dominated by foreign fighters and al Qaeda.  And a majority opposes U.S. military action in Syria. 

But that public opinion is only just beginning to get expressed as activism.  With Republicans more willing to actively oppose a war this time, and some section of Democrats still opposed, there’s actually potential to build a larger antiwar movement than that of 2003-2006.

Thus far, however, what’s discouraging an attack on Syria is the public uproar that was created back then over the disastrous attack on Iraq.

The nation of Iraq was destroyed.  Millions of refugees still can’t safely return.  As with every other humanitarian war thus far, humanity suffered, and the suffering will last for ages.  While the damage done to the United States itself doesn’t compare with the damage done to Iraq, it has been severe en ough to make many a near-sighted potential war supporter cautious.

The problem with attacking Iraq was not that the vast stockpiles of weapons were fictional.  Had every claim been true, the war would have remained illegal, immoral, and catastrophic.

Were it true that the Syrian government really chose the moment of the U.N. inspectors’ arrival to use chemical weapons, launching a U.S. war on Syria would still hurt the people of Syria — who are overwhelmingly opposed to it, regardless of their level of support for their government. 

A regional or even global war could result.  The U.S. military is planning for such scenarios, as if preparing for the apocalypse while igniting it makes the action less insane.

A war of supposed humanitarian philanthropy should consider the value to humanity of the rule of law.  Launching a war in violation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the United Nations Charter, and the U.S. Constitution hurts the rule of law.

A war of beneficial generosity should consider other possible medicines that lack the deadly side-effects of war.  For example, the United States could easily stop supporting and arming abusive dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, and Egypt, not to mention the horrors inflicted on Palestine by Israel. 

A so-called good and noble war against the evil of chemical weapons should probably be launched by a nation that doesn’t itself use chemical weapons.  Yet, the United States used white phosphorous and napalm as weapons in Iraq, not to mention such internationally sanctioned weapons as depleted uranium and cluster bombs — weapons the United States also sells to other governments regardless of their human rights records (including a big shipment of cluster bombs now headed to Saudi Arabia).

A humanitarian and just war should perhaps show equal concern for those humans killed with any kind of weapon.  Bombing Syria woul d inevitably kill significant numbers of people.  Isn’t that a problem even if they’re killed with the “right” kind of weapons?

Both sides in the war in Syria have killed large numbers of people.  We have heard as many serious accounts of the rebels using chemical weapons as the government.  Should indisputable facts establish that both sides have used those forbidden weapons, surely the proper response will not be to bomb both sides.

By joining in this war, on the side of an armed opposition dominated by people with no concern for democracy or human rights, the United States will make itself more hated in the region than its previous military actions already have.  While this war has nothing to do with defending the United States, it will in fact endanger it.

Here’s what should be done instead: Pressure Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and Turkey to stop arming one side, while pressuring Russia and Iran to stop arming the other.  Insi st on a cease-fire.  Support U.N. inspections of the evidence of crimes by both sides.  Provide humanitarian aid to Syria, Syrian refugees (now fleeing in greater numbers as the U.S. threatens to attack), and others suffering in the region.  Support nonviolent democracy movements.

And why stop there? End the occupation of Afghanistan, which we think of as “ending” but which is still twice as large as when President Obama was elected.  Stop arming brutal dictatorships and calling the weapons “aid.”  Close Guantanamo and other lawless prison sites.  Halt U.S. drone and other missile strikes worldwide.  Bring U.S. troops home from 175 nations.  Spend 10% of the U.S. military budget providing the world with clean drinking water, food, and assistance in sustainable agriculture and energy. 

Our options are not to do nothing or to bomb Syria into the sort of disaster created in Iraq.  There is an alternative that benefits Syrians , makes us safer, and costs less in money, lives, and morality.

##

Please forward this to everyone who might be interested!


CONGRESSIONAL/WHITE HOUSE ACTION:

Call the White House at 202-456-1111 or the White House Switchboard, 202-456-1414.

CONGRESS
Note that Maine’s Chellie Pingree and Michael Michaud are among those calling for debate.
Please let them know that you support their call.
Mike Michaud:

    Bangor, Maine
    6 State Street, Suite 101
    Bangor, ME 04401
    Phone: (207) 942-6935
    Fax: (207) 942-5907
    Hours: M-F 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST    

    Chellie Pingree

    We can be reached in our Portland Office at 207-774-5019. Outside the Greater Portland area, you can also call us toll free at 1-888-862-6500 or email us by clicking here.

    2 Portland Fish Pier, Suite 304
    Portland, ME 04101

    …or at our Waterville Office at (207) 873-5713
    108 Main Street
    Waterville, ME 04901

    ..or at our Washington, DC Office at (202) 225-6116

    1318 Longworth HOB

    Washington, DC 20515

     

    – See more at: http://pingree.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=700&Itemid=8#sthash.TJXFuoKK.dpuf

    Also: Susan Collins
  • Augusta Constituent Service Center (207) 622-8414
  • Bangor Constituent Service Center (207) 945-0417
  • Biddeford Constituent Service Center (207) 283-1101
  • Caribou Constituent Service Center (207) 493-7873
  • Lewiston Constituent Service Center (207) 784-6969
  • Portland Constituent Service Center (207) 780-3575
  • We can be reached in our Portland Office at 207-774-5019. Outside the Greater Portland area, you can also call us toll free at 1-888-862-6500 or email us by clicking here.

    2 Portland Fish Pier, Suite 304
    Portland, ME 04101

    …or at our Waterville Office at (207) 873-5713
    108 Main Street
    Waterville, ME 04901

    ..or at our Washington, DC Office at (202) 225-6116

    1318 Longworth HOB

    Washington, DC 20515

     

    – See more at: http://pingree.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=700&Itemid=8#sthash.TJXFuoKK.dpuf

    We can be reached in our Portland Office at 207-774-5019. Outside the Greater Portland area, you can also call us toll free at 1-888-862-6500 or email us by clicking here.

    2 Portland Fish Pier, Suite 304
    Portland, ME 04101

    …or at our Waterville Office at (207) 873-5713
    108 Main Street
    Waterville, ME 04901

    ..or at our Washington, DC Office at (202) 225-6116

    1318 Longworth HOB

    Washington, DC 20515

    – See more at: http://pingree.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=700&Itemid=8#sthash.HpvOcjIA.dpuf

    By my count, at least 162 Members of the House of Representatives, including 64 Democrats, have done at least one of the following things in the last few days: 1) signed a letter initiated by California Democrat Barbara Lee saying that there must be Congressional debate and vote before war with Syria; 2) signed a letter initiated by Virginia Republican Scott Rigell saying that there must be Congressional debate and vote before war with Syria; 3) issued a statement calling for a Congressional debate and vote before war with Syria. I don’t claim that this count is exhaustive. If you know of other examples, please share them in the comments.

    By my count, at least 64 Democrats in the House have done at least one of these three things. Add this to the 98 Republicans who signed the Rigell letter and you get 162. 


    These are the 54 Democratic signers of the Lee letter, according to Lee’s office:

    Barbara Lee, Mike Honda, Lois Capps, Zoe Lofgren,  John Lewis, Jackie Speier, Raúl Grijalva, Robin Kelly, Beto O’Rourke, Michael H. Michaud, Mark Pocan, Peter A. DeFazio, Peter Welch, Chellie Pingree, Nydia M. Velázquez, Sam Farr, Stephen F. Lynch, Lloyd Doggett, Janice Hahn, Jared Huffman, Tulsi Gabbard, Emanuel Cleaver, Rush Holt, Jim McDermott, Sheila Jackson Lee, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Suzanne Bonamici, José E. Serrano, George Miller, Donna F. Edwards, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Steve Cohen, Marcy Kaptur, Danny K. Davis,  Alcee L. Hastings, James P. McGovern, Judy Chu, Marcia L. Fudge, Alan S. Lowenthal, Charles B. Rangel, Bobby L. Rush, Carolyn B. Maloney, Janice Schakowsky, Donna M. Christensen, David Loebsack, Richard M. Nolan, Henry A. Waxman, Diana DeGette, Yvette D. Clarke, Keith Ellison, Niki Tsongas, Eleanor Holmes Norton, John A. Yarmuth, Julia Brownley.

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