Last week we wrote about what you could do to stop the war in Syria. This week we can say – many Americans are taking the action needed to stop this war.
If we succeed, and it is still a very big ‘if,’ it will be a historic. We cannot remember when the American people stopped a war after a president said he wanted to bomb a country.
How close are we? The Washington Post is reporting that 180 members of the House of Representatives are leaning toward a ‘no war’ vote. FireDogLake reports 216 are leaning no. To win requires 217 votes. We need to solidify those who are leaning toward voting ‘no to war’ and convince enough undecided votes to vote ‘no.’ Click here for an updated tally.
The media is reporting that Congress is being flooded with phone calls and that at constituent meetings people are telling their representatives to vote ‘no’ on war. Immediately after the President’s call for war, there were protests across the country. Hearings in Congress to authorize war were interrupted by protesters. Congress needs to hear from you. Call 202-224-3121. Take part in a historic moment – stop a war!
Even before the war begins, members of the Armed Services are speaking out against the war. Top military leaders leaked to the media their concerns about the war while intelligence officials also leaked their concerns about the shaky intelligence.
If we are successful in stopping an attack on Syria, it will teach the movement something very important. Movements need to be independent of the two parties to win. As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. explained: “I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so that he can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both not the servant or master of either.”
The only reason the antiwar effort has a chance is because opposition is coming from across the political spectrum, and both Republicans and Democrats in the House are opposing this war. Even the classified briefings are unconvincing.
This local group in Oklahoma composed of socialists, progressives, liberals, libertarians, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats and independents who oppose war together shows that it is possible. A national group, Come Home America, (of which Kevin is a co-founder) has been working to build right-left opposition to war and militarism for several years.
The leadership of both parties, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, support President Obama’s call for war, but the rank and file members, in reaction to their constituents, are listening to the people. Nancy Pelosi is admitting that she cannot guarantee a majority of Democrats will vote for war.
And, they should be doing so. The Green Shadow Cabinet, of which we are members, is calling on Americans to make a pledge — “I pledge that I will not vote to reelect any member of Congress who votes for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against Syria.”
The Democrats who follow the mis-leadership of President Obama and Leader Pelosi do not seem to realize how angry Americans are at the possibility of another war and that more people are aware of the lies that are told to foment war. Democrats who vote for war may find themselves out of a job after the next mid-term election.
A right-left coalition is also developing around another issue where President Obama is leading in the wrong direction. He is pushing the secret globalization agreement; the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and is urging Congress to give him sole authority to negotiate it through “Fast Track.”
Under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3, Congress is given the responsibility “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations.” Just as with war, where the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war and they asserted that power when nearly 200 demanded Obama get Congressional approval; when it comes to trade, Congress needs to assert itself and fulfill its constitutional mandate by refusing to allow “Fast Track,” holding hearings, listening to experts and citizens and making amendments to the proposed TPP.
A bipartisan coalition is developing in Congress to stop Fast Track. For the Democrats, it is led by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro; for the Republicans, by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). These Members are all aware of the secrecy over the past four years of negotiations – secret except for the more than 600 corporate advisers to the US Trade Representative for President Obama – and therefore Congress has not played its role in designing the TPP.
Outside of Congress, we are also seeing views from across the political spectrum in opposition to the TPP. Mayor Bloomberg wrote an op-ed criticizing the TPP for risking U.S. public health and undermining our sovereignty. On the same day Jim Hightower wrote an excellent report on the TPP calling it a corporate coup d’état against us.
And, the TPP is a big deal, the largest trade agreement since the WTO, that will affect every aspect of our lives from the food we eat to whether water becomes a commodity; whether we have health care as a public good or whether workers get paid a fair wage and work in a safe environment; whether Big Banks and their economy-risking, derivative deals are regulated to whether we have Internet freedom or a clean environment. The list goes on and on.
As with stopping the war in Syria, stopping the global corporate coup of the TPP is possible. An overarching issue for our movement is putting people and planet before profits. To accomplish this, people must take action. On September 17, the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, protests are planned to push Congress to oppose Fast Track. And, there will be a training camp and protests in Washington, DC beginning on September 21. This will be something you will want to be part of, but space is limited, so register today.
There may be another right-left alliance coming up if President Obama is foolish enough to appoint Wall Street’s darling, Lawrence Summers to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Already we are hearing grumbling across the political spectrum. Ellen Brown has an excellent article linking Summers, the global economy and war on Syria.
All of these issues are pressing, but the war on Syria is the most imminent. There are so many reasons to oppose this war. There are lots of doubts about the intelligence alleging that President Assad ordered the use of chemical weapons. There are reports of significant gaps in intelligence, alleged manipulation of intelligence by the administration and different information on who used the weapons with equally credible reports that it was the U.S. supported rebels. There is also inconsistency between nations on what actually happened and how many people were killed. Americans have been lied to so often about war that many no longer trust the government. And, we realize that the situation in Syria is complicated and will not be solved by dropping bombs.
Americans have also seen how wars weaken the U.S. economy by costing hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars. Even President Obama’s plan of firing multi-million dollar tomahawk missiles at Syria will be costly. The U.S. economy cannot afford another war. We have many pressing needs domestically. And evidence indicates that war against Syria is about profits for the wealthy, in this case, it might be about gas pipelines.
And, Americans have learned that once the bombs are dropped and the attacks begin, it becomes impossible to predict what will happen next. Reports indicate that this may be a first step to a larger war. Retired Colonel Ann Wright, an Army and State Department veteran, points out the history of unexpected consequences of war.
There are serious warning signs that a military attack on Syria will have unpredictable consequences. As we pointed out in our last newsletter. Americans know the risks are high. And, the effectiveness of an attack is questionable. There is no doubt that an attack on Syria would be illegal under international law. And there are more effective and legal ways to deter chemical weapons by Syria.
We recommend that the United States and other members of the Security Council refer this case to the International Criminal Court under the Chemical Weapons Protocol. This is what international law requires.
We do not have space to report on the other excellent actions people are taking. Please look over the first few pages of PopularResistance.org to see what else is going on. It is truly amazing. But, we really urge you to act now to stop a war. It will be a historic moment when the people stop a president from bombing another country. Help make history happen. Do what you can to stop the war against Syria.
This article is based on the weekly newsletter of PopularResistance.org.