35 Antiwar Groups Unite to Tell Obama:  No Escalation!

35 ANTIWAR GROUPS UNITE TO TELL OBAMA: NO ESCALATION!


Letter ties economic pain at home to suffering in Afghanistan


Urges widespread, massive protests day after announcement

Washington, DC - On November 30th, representatives of 34 antiwar groups delivered an open letter to President Obama strongly opposing his anticipated decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan with the commitment of tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops. 

The document called increased war spending, in light of the ongoing U.S. economic crisis, an “utter folly” and named the war “a war against ordinary people, both here in the United States and in Afghanistan,” which “if continued, will result in the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of U.S. troops and untold thousands of Afghans” and “cause other people in other lands to despise the U.S.” as “the world’s richest nation making war on one of the world’s very poorest.”

The signatories pledged “to keep opposing this war in every nonviolent way possible.  We will urge elected representatives to cut all funding for war. Some of us will be led to withhold our taxes, practice civil resistance, and promote slowdowns and strikes at schools and workplaces.”

Signed by veterans and peace activists and religious leaders the document represents one of the most widespread antiwar coalitions in decades, including many of the organizations which, in 2003, brought millions onto the streets to oppose the U.S.-Iraq war.


Signers to the letter are urging their colleagues to participate in local demonstrations the day after an announcement of troop escalations is made.

The letter ends by warning President Obama, “we will do everything in our power, as nonviolent peace activists, to build the kind of massive movement—which today represents the sentiments of a majority of the American people – that will play a key role in ending U.S. war in Afghanistan.  Such is the folly of your decision and such is the depth of our opposition to the death and suffering it will cause.”

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President Barack Obama

The White House

Washington, D.C.

November 30, 2009

Dear President Obama,

With millions of U.S. people feeling the fear and desperation of no longer having a home; with millions feeling the terror and loss of dignity that comes with unemployment; with millions of our children slipping further into poverty and hunger, your decision to deploy thousands more troops and throw hundreds of billions more dollars into prolonging the profoundly tragic war in Afghanistan strikes us as utter folly. We believe this decision represents a war against ordinary people, both here in the United States and in Afghanistan.  The war in Afghanistan, if continued, will result in the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of U.S. troops, and untold thousands of Afghans.

Polls indicate that a majority of those who labored with so much hope to elect you as president now fear that you will make a wrong decision—a tragic decision that will destroy their dreams for America. More tragic is the price of your decision. It will be paid with the blood, suffering and broken hearts of our young troops, their loved ones and an even greater number of Afghan men, women and children.

The U.S. military claims that this war must be fought to protect U.S. national security, but we believe it is being waged to expand U.S. empire in the interests of oil and pipeline companies.

Your decision to escalate U.S. troops and continue the occupation will cause other people in other lands to despise the U.S. as a menacing military power that violates international law. Keep in mind that to most of the peoples of the world, widening the war in Afghanistan will look exactly like what it is: the world’s richest nation making war on one of the world’s very poorest.

The war must be ended now. Humanitarian aid programs should address the deep poverty that has always been a part of the life of Afghan people.

We will keep opposing this war in every nonviolent way possible. We will urge elected representatives to cut all funding for war. Some of us will be led to withhold our taxes, practice civil resistance, and promote slowdowns and strikes at schools and workplaces.

In short, President Obama, we will do everything in our power, as nonviolent peace activists, to build the kind of massive movement—which today represents the sentiments of a majority of the American people—that will play a key role in ending U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Such would be the folly of a decision to escalate troop deployment and such is the depth of our opposition to the death and suffering it would cause.

Sincerely, (Signers names listed in alphabetical order)

Jack Amoureux, Executive Committee
Military Families Speak Out

Michael Baxter
Catholic Peace Fellowship

Medea Benjamin, Co-founder
Global Exchange

Frida Berrigan
Witness Against Torture

Imam Mahdi Bray, Executive Director
Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation

Elaine Brower
World Can’t Wait

Leslie Cagan, Co-Founder
United for Peace and Justice

Tom Cornell
Catholic Peace Fellowship

Matt Daloisio
War Resisters League

Marie Dennis, Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Robby Diesu
Our Spring Break

Pat Elder, Co-coordinator
National Network Opposing Militarization of Youth

Mike Ferner, President
Veterans For Peace

Joy First, Convener
National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

Sara Flounders, Co-Director
International Action Center

Sunil Freeman
ANSWER Coalition, Washington, D.C.

Diana Gibson, Coordinator
Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice

Jerry Gordon, Co-Coordinator
National Assembly To End Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupation

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence

David Hartsough
Peaceworkers San Francisco

Mike Hearington, Steering Committee
Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, Atlanta

Larry Holmes, Coordinator
Troops Out Now Coalition

Mark C. Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director
Fellowship of Reconciliation

Hany Khalil
War Times

Kathy Kelly, Co-Coordinator
Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Leslie Kielson , Co-Chair
United for Peace and Justice

Malachy Kilbride
National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

Adele Kubein, Executive Committee
Military Families Speak Out

Jeff Mackler, Co-Coordinator
National Assembly to End Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations

Kevin Martin, Exec. Director
Peace Action

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair-Elect
World Parliament of Religion

Michael T. McPhearson, Executive Director
Veterans For Peace

Gael Murphy, Co-founder
Code Pink

Sheila Musaji, Editor
The American Muslim

Michael Nagler, Founder
Metta Center for Nonviolence

Max Obuszewski, Director
Baltimore Nonviolence Center

Pete Perry
Peace of the Action

Dave Robinson, Executive
Director Pax Christi USA

Terry Rockefeller
September 11th Families For Peaceful Tomorrows

Samina Sundas, Founding Executive Director
American Muslim Voice

David Swanson
AfterDowningStreet.org

Carmen Trotta
Catholic Worker

Nancy Tsou, Coordinator
Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice

Jose Vasquez, Executive Director
Iraq Veterans Against the War

Kevin Zeese
Voters for Peace

 


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