“Military might is not what defines a superpower. You have to have super patience. You have to have super negotiating power and diplomatic resources. And you have to have super humanitarian aid where needed. We have the possibility of doing all of that.”
— Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV
In his speech last night, President Obama asked the Congress to delay a vote on the use of force in Syria while he pursues a diplomatic solution. This represents a significant victory for the peace and social justice movement!
This past week we’ve witnessed and participated in something amazing and inspiring: people all across the United States saying they are tired of war and speaking up to oppose yet another military intervention. And remarkably, this mobilization was so sudden and so powerful that members of Congress actually listened to the concerns of their constituents.
These developments pressured President Obama to go to Congress, slowing down the process long enough for the Russian proposal to emerge as something positive to explore, rather than an insincere initiative to be dismissed.
But this Syrian crisis is far from over. At any moment, the proposed deal could fall apart, and the Obama Administration may go back to drawing more “red lines.” The administration, despite Russia’s demand, is not yet willing to eliminate the threat of a military attack.
We need to ramp up the pressure even more. It is vitally important that our mobilizations continue and that we continue to send a clear message to the White House and to Congress:
- A military strike by the United States will not resolve the problem of chemical weapons, will violate international law, and will risk igniting a wider war.
- Any Congressional resolution that authorizes the use of military force by the President as a response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria is unacceptable, no matter how many qualifiers or conditions are tacked on.
- No more “red lines.” Support Russia’s plan in the UN Security Council for Syria to relinquish its chemical weapon stocks to international control and join the Chemical Weapons Convention, without imposing arbitrary or artificial deadlines.
- Work to convene an international conference of all interested parties (including Iran) to seek a political solution to the civil war in Syria.
Everyone’s telephone fingers are tired. But if your Senator or Representative spoke out clearly in opposition to a military strike on Syria, please call them today and let them know their statements are appreciated. If your Senator or Representive is still supporting a military option or on the fence, they also need to hear from you again. If you have not memorized this by now, the Toll-free number to the Congressional switchboard (generously provided by FCNL) is 1-855-686-6927.
This has been an inspiring week as a host of grassroots and national organizations have pulled together to avoid another international tragedy. UFPJ’s Coordinating Committee has been working around the clock to mobilize opposition to a US military attack on Syria and to keep you informed about the rapidly changing situation. (see our Syria resources at www.unitedforpeace.org) We will need all that energy and cooperation as we face the budget battles ahead—ending the interminable “war on terrorism,” shrinking the overgrown Pentagon budget, and redirecting resources to urgently needed domestic programs.
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