Stop War

Leah Bolger of Linus Pauling VFP sends to alt2war a report back on today’s September 3 visit to Eugene to stop the attack on Syria:

“Approximately 15 people (most of whom traveled from Corvallis) attempted to visit the offices of Congressman Peter DeFazio, Senator Ron Wyden and Senator Jeff Merkley to express their opposition to a war with Syria.  Due to security protocol at the federal building, only two people at a time were allowed to enter the building.  The security personnel wouldn’t even allow anyone to stand outside the building in the shaded area near the front doors.
Bobbi Hall and I were the two people who went inside because they had prepared letters they wanted to deliver to the respective offices.  Michael Carrigan, the Executive Director of CALC (Community Alliance of Lane County) had called earlier in the morning and attempted to make appointments with policy staff, however was unable to do so.  He did convey our urgent desire to meet with the staff as soon as possible.
Bobbi and I first visited the office of Rep DeFazio.  The receptionist took our letters, and then, to our delight, read to us a statement just issued by Peter opposing the war.  Four hours later, as I write this, the statement is still not posted on his website, but Bobbi and I were very pleased by its language.  We should continue to pressure Peter to take a leadership role in opposing this war.
The office of Senator Wyden was closed, so we slipped our letters under the door and moved on to Senator Merkley’s office.  The policy person was in the middle of a conference call, but he did take a moment to say hello to us and to let us know that he would help us set up a conference call with staff from DC.  We also spoke to the office administrator who also said she would try to help us set something up–what we envision is a state-wide conference call in which many people can participate.
I will be working with Michael Carrigan and the Wyden and Merkley offices to pursue the idea of a statewide conference call.  In the meantime, please continue to call and write their offices.  While Bobbi and I were in Peter’s office we saw where the secretary was keeping track of the calls.  Your calls do matter!”
She presented this letter to the offices as well:

2 September 2013

From:  Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter 132

To:  Congressman Peter DeFazio, Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley

Subject:  Threat of War on Syria

On behalf of the men and women of Veterans For Peace, and of concerned citizens across Oregon, we write this letter to convey our strongest possible opposition to President Obama’s proposed military attack on Syria.  We are gravely concerned that even a “limited” strike could easily open up a Pandora’s Box of multi-national conflict, possibly even World War III.

We come in person to your offices today to ask you directly what your position is on this issue.  We have seen nothing in the media, your websites, or Facebook pages.  There have been no press conferences, interviews or op-eds coming from any of you to let your constituents know where you stand.

The most compelling reason to oppose military action against Syria is that without an authorization from the United Nations, such an act would constitute a war crime.  The United States must adhere to international law.

We abhor the killing of innocent people whether it is due to chemical weapons, bullets, bombs or radiation.  The U.S. is responsible for the killing of millions of people through the use of atomic weapons, white phosphorus, napalm, Agent Orange, and depleted uranium.  The U.S. has long abandoned the moral high ground and has no legitimate authority, in the view of the world’s citizens, to punish another country for using internationally banned weapons.

The President and several members of Congress have cited the need for “punitive” strikes.  International law does not provide for “punitive” military attacks no matter what the transgression.

President Obama’s proposal for a limited strike is short-sighted and naïve, even if it were legal.  He has not addressed the (very likely) possibility that our “punitive” strike will provoke a response from Syria or its allies, Russia and Iran against the U.S. or Israel.

The time has passed to deter the use of chemical weapons.  Chemical attacks have occurred and the identity of the perpetrator is still in doubt, according to many regional sources.  A full investigation should be conducted and the perpetrator should be brought to justice through the International Criminal Court.

Even the most precise stand-off weapons will inflict death and injury on innocent civilians, damage infrastructure and create more refugees.  We’re going to punish Assad for killing his own people with chemical weapons by killing more of them with cruise missiles…?  This is patently absurd.

President Obama has already made a serious mistake by taking sides in this civil war.  By arming the opposition the U.S. has become culpable for crimes and war atrocities committed by the rebel forces.  Obama has already said that Assad must go; it is clearly apparent that his proposed “punitive” strike will open the door for further military actions.

We urge you to not only take a strong personal stand against the proposed U.S. aggression, but to take a demonstrably forceful leadership role in the coming debate.  Your constituents are counting on you to faithfully represent their desire for a peaceful settlement of the Syrian situation.

Thank you for seriously considering our request.

Delivered by: Leah Bolger, Member and past national president, Veterans For Peace

Also for those of you near Portland or able to travel, Tom Hastings of the Whitefeather Peace House has sent out this announcement earlier today:

Some of us are going to pay a 4 p.m. visit to US Senator Jeff Merkley’s Portland office, located in the Fed building across the street from Terry Schrunk Plaza. Our message:

We Oregonians do not want a military strike against Syria. We are here to insist that you honor the wishes of your constituents and that you use good sense and commit to voting against any military action for the foreseeable future against Syria. 
We also ask you to commit to work to make the US a Senate-ratified signatory to the Rome Statute, the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court. This would afford the US more legal standing to prosecute whomever is proven to have committed the horrific war crime of using chemical weapons in Syria.

We will gather at 3:45 in the center of Chapman Park (Terry Schrunk is fenced off for work). Come if you can. Our code is transparency (no masks, no anonymous behavior, only accountable conduct) and nonviolence. Join if you can!

Yours for a nonviolent future,
Tom H. Hastings, Ed.D.
Director, PeaceVoice Program,
Oregon Peace Institute
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