We Are United For a Peaceful Obama

Come to Acacia Park, TUESDAY, 5PM
ACACIA PARK, 5PM- COLORADANS FOR PEACE are not alone urging President Obama to escalate his attention to the antiwar mandate given him by the American voters. Michael Moore & Keith Olbermann have made eleventh hour pleas, and the nation’s prominent antiwar activists signed a collective letter to President Obama (see below). Here are the national organizations taking to the streets tomorrow:

United Against Afghan Escalation, Women Say No To War (Code Pink), No Escalation in Afghanistan (UFPJ), Veterans Oppose Troop Build-up (IVAW), US Labor Against War, A.N.S.W.E.R., Stop the Escalation (World Can’t Wait), American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Just Foreign Policy, Pax Christi USA, Peace Action, Progressive Democrats of America, The Peace and Justice Resource Center and Voters for Peace.

The letter composed by the National Assembly:

President Barack Obama?
The White House?Washington, D.C.
November 30, 2009
 
Dear President Obama,
With millions of U.S. people feeling the fear and desperation of no longer having a home; with millions feeling the terror and loss of dignity that comes with unemployment; with millions of our children slipping further into poverty and hunger, your decision to deploy thousands more troops and throw hundreds of billions more dollars into prolonging the profoundly tragic war in Afghanistan strikes us as utter folly. We believe this decision represents a war against ordinary people, both here in the United States and in Afghanistan.  The war in Afghanistan, if continued, will result in the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of U.S. troops, and untold thousands of Afghans.

Polls indicate that a majority of those who labored with so much hope to elect you as president now fear that you will make a wrong decision — a tragic decision that will destroy their dreams for America. More tragic is the price of your decision. It will be paid with the blood, suffering and broken hearts of our young troops, their loved ones and an even greater number of Afghan men, women and children.

The U.S. military claims that this war must be fought to protect U.S. national security, but we believe it is being waged to expand U.S. empire in the interests of oil and pipeline companies.

Your decision to escalate U.S. troops and continue the occupation will cause other people in other lands to despise the U.S. as a menacing military power that violates international law. Keep in mind that to most of the peoples of the world, widening the war in Afghanistan will look exactly like what it is: the world’s richest nation making war on one of the world’s very poorest.

The war must be ended now. Humanitarian aid programs should address the deep poverty that has always been a part of the life of Afghan people.

We will keep opposing this war in every nonviolent way possible. We will urge elected representatives to cut all funding for war. Some of us will be led to withhold our taxes, practice civil resistance, and promote slowdowns and strikes at schools and workplaces.

In short, President Obama, we will do everything in our power, as nonviolent peace activists, to build the kind of massive movement –which today represents the sentiments of a majority of the American people–that will play a key role in ending U.S. war in Afghanistan.

Such would be the folly of a decision to escalate troop deployment and such is the depth of our opposition to the death and suffering it would cause.

Sincerely, (Signers names listed in alphabetical order)

Jack Amoureux, Executive Committee
Military Families Speak Out
 
Michael Baxter
Catholic Peace Fellowship
 
Medea Benjamin, Co-founder
Global Exchange
 
Frida Berrigan
Witness Against Torture
 
Elaine Brower
World Can’t Wait
 
Leslie Cagan, Co-Founder
United for Peace and Justice
 
Tom Cornell
Catholic Peace Fellowship
 
Matt Daloisio
War Resisters League
 
Marie Dennis, Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
 
Robby Diesu
Our Spring Break
 
Pat Elder, Co-coordinator
National Network Opposing Militarization of Youth
 
Mike Ferner, President
Veterans For Peace
 
Joy First, Convener
National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
 
Sara Flounders, Co-Director
International Action Center
 
Sunil Freeman
ANSWER Coalition, Washington, D.C.
 
Diana Gibson, Coordinator
Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice
 
Jerry Gordon, Co-Coordinator
National Assembly To End Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupation
 
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence
 
David Hartsough
Peaceworkers San Francisco
 
Mike Hearington, Steering Committee
Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition, Atlanta
 
Larry Holmes, Coordinator
Troops Out Now Coalition
 
Mark C. Johnson, Ph.D., Executive Director
Fellowship of Reconciliation
 
Hany Khalil
War Times
 
Kathy Kelly, Co-Coordinator
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
 
Leslie Kielson , Co-Chair
United for Peace and Justice
 
Malachy Kilbride
National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
 
Adele Kubein, Executive Committee
Military Families Speak Out
 
Jeff Mackler, Co-Coordinator
National Assembly to End Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations
 
Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair-Elect
World Parliament of Religion
 
Michael T. McPhearson, Executive Director
Veterans For Peace
 
Gael Murphy, Co-founder
Code Pink
 
Michael Nagler, Founder
Metta Center for Nonviolence
 
Max Obuszewski, Director
Baltimore Nonviolence Center
 
Pete Perry
Peace of the Action
 
Dave Robinson, Executive
Director Pax Christi USA
 
Terry Rockefeller
September 11th Families For Peaceful Tomorrows
 
Samina Sundas, Founding Executive Director
American Muslim Voice
 
David Swanson
AfterDowningStreet.org
 
Carmen Trotta
Catholic Worker
 
Nancy Tsou, Coordinator
Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice
 
Kevin Zeese
Voters for Peace

And Michael Moore’s letter:

An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new “war president”? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do — destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they’ve always heard is true — that all politicians are alike. I simply can’t believe you’re about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn’t so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That’s the way General Washington insisted it must be. That’s what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. “You’re fired!,” said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in’ hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).

So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea — “Let’s invade Afghanistan!” Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.

There’s a reason they don’t call Afghanistan the “Garden State” (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan’s nickname is the “Graveyard of Empires.” If you don’t believe it, give the British a call. I’d have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev’s number though. It’s + 41 22 789 1662. I’m sure he could give you an earful about the historic blunder you’re about to commit.

With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the “war president.” Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line — and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.

Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn’t have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.

I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush’s Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.

Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you’re doing it so you can “end the war”) will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the great things you’ve said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless may be gone — and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker than you can shout “tea bag!”

Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be Wednesday morning.

We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can’t take it anymore. We can’t take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of “landslide victory” don’t you understand?

Don’t be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the crazy Right still wouldn’t be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can’t change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.

The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can’t be won over by abandoning the rest of us.

President Obama, it’s time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, “No, we don’t need health care, we don’t need jobs, we don’t need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, ’cause we don’t need them, either.”

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that’s what they’d do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.

All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam “might” be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish — the full terror of which we scarcely know.

When we elected you we didn’t expect miracles. We didn’t even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn’t even function as a nation and never, ever has.

Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God’s sake, stop.

Tonight we still have hope.

Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON’T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother’s son.

We’re counting on you.

Yours,
Michael Moore

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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