Afghanistan, Military Budget, Iran and Israel: Update

The NSP–Network of Spiritual Progressives–is part of a national coalition called Win Without War. Our members, together with members of dozens of other organizations, have been working against militarism in all its different dimensions. Below, I’m attaching two communications which have useful information for you as you plan your own activities for peace. Of course, a first step would be for you to help start (or revitalize if there once was one but now doesn’t exist or has “tired blood”) a chapter of the Network of Spiritual Progressives in your community. To join or renew membership, click here. To help create or restart a chapter, send an email to Ashley@Tikkun.org who will help you move on that (best if you tell her where, are you a current member, and whether or not you’d be willing to work to create a first meeting in your area with help from our office).

A note from Win Without War:

Afghanistan

Earlier today, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the US will seek to end its combat missions in Afghanistan as early as “mid-2013.” This important announcement is a welcome development in the right direction towards ending more than a decade-old US war in Afghanistan. A shift away from combat operations will reduce the risk to US forces while acknowledging that there simply is no military solution to the challenges faced in Afghanistan. When combined with recent reports indicating progress in a political peace process, it is apparent that US policymakers are finally hearing the clear will of the American people who want to bring our troops home now and end the US war in Afghanistan.
There are many questions that remain. While Sec. Panetta has indicated a shift towards an “advise and assist” role, there has been too little clarity on what this means in terms of a continued troop presence and the mission those troops will be engaged in. Further, Sec. Panetta reiterated a US commitment to an “enduring presence” in Afghanistan, a troubling sign amid reports the Pentagon is seeking to keep tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan for another decade or more.
Despite these unanswered questions, today’s announcement remains much welcome news that the tide of war is indeed receding in Afghanistan. These developments simply would not be happening without the consistent and committed advocacy of so many Americans (and of course Win Without War member organizations like The Network of Spiritual Progressives www.spiritualprogressives.org and Tikkun Magazine). In the weeks and months ahead we must continue our work to responsibly end this war. Congressional hawks and their allies are already pushing back hard against any potential drawdown and the fledgling peace process. We remain ready to provide analysis and message guidance as desired and will identify opportunities for collective action when possible.
For more information on today’s statements by Panetta see:
Military Spending

Late last week, the Pentagon announced that it will be requesting $525 billion in base funding and $88.4 billion for the war in Afghanistan for the next fiscal year. Despite much hyped talk of “massive Pentagon cuts” this request represents only a $6 billion reduction from the current fiscal year. And after this one year reduction, the Pentagon’s budget will go right back to rising for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, this will leave the bloated Pentagon budget at levels not seen since World War II when we had 12 million men under arms. The reality is that the current budget request continues to fund countless Cold War weapons systems that do nothing to keep America safe in the 21st Century, while keeping military contractors profits soaring.
Even worse, tomorrow, a group of 5 Senators led by John McCain will unveil a bill to undo the automatic cuts to the Pentagon scheduled to go into effect next year as a result of the failure of last year’s Super Committee. While bipartisan analysts and experts agree there is more than enough waste at the Pentagon to achieve these cuts, Sen. McCain and his fellow Pentagon allies will propose eliminating all of the planned cuts and replacing them by doubling cuts to domestic programs. This is simply unconscionable. While nearly every other federal program, including those vital to national security like diplomacy and development, the Pentagon has remained virtually unscathed. We will continue to monitor this battle as it plays out in Congress and keep you informed of that latest developments, identify times for strategic action alerts, and provide messaging and analysis as desired.
Iran

Finally, a short update on the escalating rhetoric and calls for war with Iran. The very same people who misled our nation into the disastrous war in Iraq are now saying that it is time for military action with Iran. Make no mistake, a war with Iran would be a monumental disaster. Numerous policy experts have stated that attacking Iran will only serve to harden Tehran’s resolve to obtain nuclear weapons, while dragging American into yet another war that would cost trillions of dollars and far too many lives. While there are no easy solutions to addressing the challenges we face with Iran, it is imperative that we push back on the ever increasing calls for war with Iran. For those interested in messaging or analysis, please contact us for more information.

More on Iran from Tikkun:

For years Tikkun has warned against the growing pressure from the right-wing government of Israel and its supporters in the US both in the Jewish community and among Christian Zionists for a war against Iran. We believe such would be a disaster both for the US and for Israel. We’ll present our arguments, and those of the pro-war position, in the Summer issue of Tikkun. But we were particularly troubled to see that the forces organizing against that possible war include ANSWER, an organization whose extreme hatred of Israel and one-sided critique of US policy (never acknowledging that Saddam Hussein’s regime really was engaged in evil or, now, that the Iranian revolution has been perverted by a cruel dictatorship that oppresses many Iranians) will sully the otherwise noble sentiments for stopping the war before it begins (as they did in the early demonstrations against a war in Iraq which turned off many because of virulently anti-Israel speakers). So we are glad to see the statement below by the Campaign for Peace and Democracy which is urging people who to the “no war against Iran” demonstrations this weekend to clearly critique the dictatorship in Iran and not just focus on the immorality and stupidity an assault on Iran by the US and Israel would be.

NSP and Tikkun have worked with the Campaign for Peace and Democracy in the past and we are glad to once again share their information with you. Here’s their statement:

Dear Friend of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy,

Looking for a way to oppose U.S. and Israeli war threats against Iran while at the same time condemning the terrible repression taking place inside Iran? This Saturday, February 4th, New Yorkers can do just that by joining a contingent of Iranians and non-Iranians gathering from 1pm to 4pm at the corner of 46th Street and Seventh Avenue under the slogans of “No Sanctions, No War, No Dictatorship in Iran” to participate in the march against war on Iran.

We understand there may be similar contingents in other cities, but don’t yet have the details. We may learn more about these initiatives, so write us atcpd@igc.org if you are interested. And whether or not you can join a contingent, you can support the cause by making your own signs that say “No Sanctions, No War, No Dictatorship in Iran” and carrying them on the march.

Check out the Facebook page for this event athttps://www.facebook.com/events/231374950278037/
There is lively discussion on the page, which begins with the following organizing statement:

A coalition of individuals, groups and organizations including World Can’t Wait, ANSWER, Iranian-Friendship Committee and many more have called for a nation-wide Day of Mass Action to Stop War on Iranon Saturday, February 4th. Unfortunately, this call to action makes no reference to the democratic movement in Iran, otherwise known as the Green Movement, which mobilized millions in 2009 followed by a brutal government crackdown. We know the Iranian government manipulates such gatherings as the forthcoming “Day of Mass Action” into evidence of support for the regime. We also know that some individuals and organizations in the anti-war movement have historically aligned themselves with the regime, regardless of its violent suppression of Iranian people working towards political and social change.
We, a group of Iranians/non-Iranians in New York City, not affiliated with the coalition mentioned above, will participate in the Day of Mass Action to voice our ardent objection to sanctions and to reject calls for war against Iran. But we also find it imperative to stand clearly with the Iranian people’s struggle for democracy. The Iranian people are the only legitimate power to bring about the changes they want. Any foreign intervention only stifles prospects for a more genuine democracy by strengthening the ruling elites in Iran who would pose as defenders of national self-determination.
The Iranian Green movement, Arab Spring, and occupy movements have inspired us all that another world is possible! A world in which we are no longer victims of corruption, war, and exploitation. We stand in defense of the Iranian people’s right to economic and social justice. We refuse to be the pawns of a broader struggle between the world’s elites who only seek to profit from our suffering.
We, therefore invite you on February 4th with your Green slogans and signs. Our participation would be more meaningful and our message clearer if we show up together.
Suggested Slogans:
no war / no sanction / democracy / for nations
no sanction / no war / democracy / for all
sanction, war, theocracy / they all kill democracy
one, two, three, four / democracy is our goal / five, six, seven, eight / war and sanction will just hurt
no more sanction / no more war / democracy is our goal
(if you have more suggestions, please write them on the wall of the event)
NOTE FROM CPD: THE SLOGANS ARE STILL BEING REFINED.
The Campaign for Peace and Democracy will be joining this inspiring group of protesters in Saturday, and we look forward to seeing you there! If you plan to attend, please go to the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/231374950278037/ and check the “Going” box on the upper right hand corner of the page.
Campaign for Peace and Democracy
New York, NY, USA
We again invite you to JOIN the Network of Spiritual Progressives as a dues paying member–at www.spiritualprogressives.org so that we can continue to do this kind of work together! Join at:https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/525/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=3793
 
tags: US Politics   
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One Response to Afghanistan, Military Budget, Iran and Israel: Update

  1. Jason May 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Why should the aappel be made to Brenda O’Connor ? The short answer to this is that the person who proposed a discussion paper regarding an R18+ rating for computer games was the former minister for Home Affairs Bob Debus. When Bob Debus decided to leave the front bench -and eventually the political arena (he’s not contesting the next election)- Brendan O’Connor became Minister for Home Affairs. Unlike the previous Liberal government where the censorship minister was clearly identifed as the Federal Attorney General, under the current government Bob Debus as Minister for Home Affairs took responsibility for censorship related issues. As far as I can tell the Minister for Home Affairs takes responsibility for censorship related issues in the Federal Government.

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