Sadly, we are having yet another debate about using the blunt and ineffective instrument of military force to deal with a complex crisis in Iraq.President Obama just announced that he’ll decide on military action “in the days ahead” and the US is reportedly moving an aircraft carrier to the area.
President Obama recently laid out his foreign policy vision in a speech at West Point, saying “Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.” So why isn’t he looking for other tools in his toolbox?
We’ve seen this play out before. The gains made by ISIS militants and the Iraqi government’s lackluster response require a smart strategy. Dropping bombs on a volatile situation is likely to escalate the conflict, not resolve it, with innocent civilians losing their lives in the process.
We stopped the bombing of Syria because we responded quickly and loudly, and Congress raised a ruckus. Tell them to do it again.
In some ways this feels like déjà vu all over again. But a lot has changed in the past decade. The American people have learned a lesson about the reckless use of military force. Let’s make sure our leaders don’t forget it.
Peace Action West supporters came together in San Francisco on May 16th to thank Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) for his leadership on ending the war in Afghanistan, opposing military intervention in Syria and more. This November is his first time up for reelection, and Peace Action West supporters donated more than $15,000 to help make sure he returns to the Senate next year.
You can support one of our strongest allies on the Senate by donating here.
Our longest war just got even longer.
President Obama just announced that the US will have boots on the ground in Afghanistan for another 2 ½ years. When Congress voted to authorize the war way back in 2001, they surely didn’t know they were authorizing a 15-year occupation.
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has a bill calling for a congressional vote on any US troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014. As the senator said in response to the president’s announcement,“Automatic renewal is fine for Netflix and gym memberships, but it is not the right approach when it comes to war.”
While it’s encouraging that the administration is reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan and setting a clear timeline for withdrawal, it’s not good enough. 9,800 troops is 9,800 too many, and we need our tax dollars here at home.
Our friends in the House tried to bring up a similar amendment last week, but the Republican leadership was too afraid to watch the antiwar sentiment play out on the floor and blocked a vote.We need to turn to the Senate now and make sure they fight for more oversight over the war.
Children who were in elementary school when this war began are now old enough to fight in it. It’s well past time to stop risking lives and wasting tax dollars in Afghanistan.
Thank you for speaking out.
When we enter the 14th year of war in Afghanistan in October, how much will we spending to keep our troops there? We don’t know, and neither does Congress.
The House is voting on the Pentagon budget next week and the administration still hasn’t decided how much the war is going to cost or how many troops will be there. But they’re not worried because for years, war money has been a separate pot outside of the regular Pentagon budget. There are no caps and no real accountability. It’s time for that to change.
In these tight budget times, both the Pentagon and Congress have taken advantage of the lack of transparency and constraints on war spending. The war budget has become a slush fund for pet projects that aren’t really related to war spending but can’t fit in the capped (but still huge) base Pentagon budget. The military has indicated that they want to keep using this irresponsible practice for years to come, even though we’re supposed to be leaving our decade of war behind.
A bipartisan group of representatives is working to shine a light on this practice. They are circulating a letter to the president calling for an end to limitless war spending outside the budget and strict standards for what counts as war spending. If we’re going to rein in this reckless spending, we need to show Congress that we’re paying attention and push as many of them as possible to speak out.
Let’s shut this slush fund down. Tell your representative to sign the letter to end limitless war spending.
When the CIA says there aren’t that many civilians being killed in drone strikes, we should trust them—right? Wrong.
We’ve seen far too many examples lately of the government not being straight with Congress and the public. There are independent groups that document the casualties from drone strikes, but the government is keeping their own information in the dark.
Help shine a light on the US’s drone policy. Tell your representative to cosponsor the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act.
Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) have introduced this bill that would require an annual report detailing casualties from drone strikes, and a retroactive report on the last five years. It sounds simple, but it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle we need to challenge the government’s targeting killing policy. Our campaign to rein them in is hobbled by a lack of information about what is actually happening, and this bill will help us get it.
Take action now to get the information we need to expose out-of-control drone strikes.
Hiding this information isn’t necessary for our national security. It keeps people from taking away a tool that the government is abusing, with horrendous consequences. There is ample evidence out there that US drones strikes are terrorizing communities and creating a backlash that could have serious consequences. If we speak up now, we can show Congress that the public demands this information and won’t stay quiet until we get it. The more information Congress gets straight from the source, the more tools they have to engage in oversight and raise important questions about an unexamined policy.
Let’s bear witness for the people killed by US drones and make sure our government is held accountable. Tell your representative to cosponsor the bill.
Thank you for taking action.
Join the National Call-in Day
Two new bills give Congress an opportunity to step up and make cuts to nuclear weapons.
The president’s budget request for 2015 shows that his priorities are still dangerously backwards, asking for yet another increase for nuclear weapons while crucial domestic spending continues to be slashed.
Our allies in Congress are stepping up to take these misguided priorities head on. Companion bills have been introduced in the House and Senate that would save $100 billion in the next ten years by cutting nuclear weapons and related programs. In the Senate, Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) bill is the SANE Act (S. 2070) and in the House, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has introduced the REIN-IN Act (H.R. 4107). We need you to call your representatives right now to get them on board to cut nukes.
If Congress grants the request for a 7% increase in the nuclear weapons budget this year, it would be one of the only parts of the entire federal budget that would get such a large increase in its budget. How would you like to get a 7% raise this year? Or for your child’s school to get a 7% increase in its budget? Call your representatives to tell them that nuclear weapons are the last thing that should get a raise this year.
Sen. Markey and Rep. Blumenauer have stepped up to introduce bills that would challenge these insane spending increases, and save $100 billion that should be spent in our communities. Organizations all over the country are working together to urge members of Congress to cosponsor these bills and stand for cutting nukes. Our calling tool makes it quick and easy for you to join the National Call-in Day.
The annual ritual of raising alarms and tearing out hair over the tiny size of the Pentagon budget has started again, but don’t believe the hype. There’s still tons of money in the Pentagon budget, and if we don’t act, they’ll find a way to add even more.
The proposed Pentagon budget for next year is the first one that meets spending caps set by Congress—caps that are still far higher than what is needed to keep us safe. But there’s another huge pot of unlimited money in the war budget, known as the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund.
That’s right, almost 13 years after the invasion of Afghanistan, the US government has an unlimited fund for war-fighting. Members of Congress who are panicking about funding cuts for their favorite programs in the base Pentagon budget are going to try to shove those programs into the OCO fund even though they have nothing to do with fighting wars overseas.
We need to stop this backdoor attempt to waste our tax dollars. Tell your senators and representative to oppose the slush fund.
The administration is still deciding on the war budget, but they have offered a placeholder of $79.4 billion. That’s barely a drop from previous years, even though the highest estimate for troops in Afghanistan next year is 10,000. Members of Congress will be tempted to pad that ridiculous amount with their pet projects.
We’ve had bipartisan support for reining in OCO funding before. Congress is starting to develop their version of next year’s budget, so they need to hear from us now. If we bring this practice into the sunlight, we can pressure Congress to stop this waste. Send your messages today.