Mar 13, 2017
Here are some actions to help deal with the threat posed by the Trump Administration’s Nuclear Weapons Plans:
First, stay informed by signing up for Early Warning which is a daily news summary from Joseph Cirincione. To do this go to Ploughshares Fund, then issues and analysis tab, then early warning tab
Second, contact our Senators and Representatives to urge them to act on the Ted Lieu & Ed Markey bill in Congress to prohibit the president from firing a first nuclear strike. It is the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act H.R. 669 in the House of Representatives and S. 200 in the Senate.
About this bill: Currently the president can authorize a first use of a nuclear weapon so this bill requires that Congress must first pass an authorization for war before a nuclear weapon can be used by the president. Currently neither Congress nor the Supreme Court could stop the president from firing nuclear weapon(s) if he chooses to do so.
Action Needed: In the House of Representatives, Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer are co-sponsors of this bill. So messages of thanks to them are needed for their support of HR 669. Ask the others to support this bill.
Neither Senators Merkley or Wyden are co-sponsors of the same bill in the Senate. Contact them to support this bill, Senate bill 200
Call them: Senator Merkley 202-224-3753
Senator Wyden 202-224-5244
Rep Peter DeFazio 202-225-6416
• Email them by going to their website
Feb 23, 2017
Taking Action for Peace
March 15th, 7 p.m.
Eugene Garden Club, 1645 High Street
Kevin Martin, national president of Peace Action, and
German peace activist Reiner Braun will be speaking in Eugene.
Issues they address will include:
- Could U.S./NATO Conflicts with Russia trigger WWIII?
- Whose Finger? On What Button? The Urgent Need to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Trump or No Trump.
- Stopping Fascism and Militarism, and Building Beloved Communities in the era of Trump.
- US/NATO and Russian relations – stop hacking and escalating, start talking! Pursuing nuclear disarmament and common security in Europe and the world.
Kevin Martin, is President of National Peace Action, which has been organizing for Peace since 1957. He joined the staff in 2001. Kevin previously served as Director of Project Abolition, a national organizing effort for nuclear disarmament, from August 1999 through August 2001. Kevin came to Project Abolition after ten years in Chicago as Executive Director of Illinois Peace Action.
Reiner Braun is a leader in the German and European peace movements and co-president of International Peace Bureau. He brings a critical perspective on US/NATO relations with Russia, and nuclear disarmament issues.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information contact CALC staffer Michael Carrigan at 541.485.1755 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Carrigan at CALC at 541.485.1755 or www.calclane.org
Feb 17, 2017
Nuclear Policy in the Trump Administration: Real Dangers, Real Possibilities, via Skype at Rm. 145 Straub Hall, 15th & Onyx, on the UO campus, Sunday, February 26, at 4 pm.
As the Ploughshares Fund points out: President Trump could launch 140 nuclear warheads in the time it takes to write 140 characters.
If this terrifies you, come learn more. Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC) and Radical Organizing & Resource (ROAR) Center present Joseph Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund who will be skyped in to Eugene. He is the author of many books and articles about nuclear matters and a frequent commentator for the media.
Program sponsors see these issues not only in the context of potential nuclear dangers but also as a major diversion from the need to attend to climate matters and peace.
For more information, contact CALC: email email@example.com or phone 541-485-1755
Co-sponsors of this event include:
Women’s Action for New Direction (WAND | Lane Community College Peace Center | Taxes for Peace | Veterans for Peace | Chapter 159 | Beyond War |
UO Beyond War | UO Global Zero | UO Sustainability Center
Cirincione has an excellent Guest Opinion published in the February 19, 2017 Eugene Register Guard.
Sep 28, 2016
Global Warming’s Unacknowledged Threat—The Pentagon
By Gar Smith / Environmentalists Against War
During the November 15 Democratic Presidential Debate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders sounded an alarm that “climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism.” Citing a CIA study, Sanders warned that countries around the world are “going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops and you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict.”
On November 8, the World Bank predicted that climate change is on track to drive 100 million people into poverty by 2030. And, in March, a National Geographic study linked climate change to the conflict in Syria: “A severe drought, worsened by a warming climate, drove Syrian farmers to abandon their crops and flock to cities, helping trigger a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people.”
The sobering insight that climate change can accelerate violence should weigh heavily on the minds of delegates to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change set to begin November 30 in Paris—a city that, on November 13, suffered grievously from the blowback of the Syrian conflict. But there is another looming threat that needs to be addressed.
Put simply: War and militarism also fuel climate change.
From November 30 to December 11, delegates from more than 190 nations will convene in Paris to address the increasingly visible threats of climate disruption. The 21st Conference of the Parties (aka COP21) is expected to draw 25,000 official delegates intent on crafting a legally binding pact to keep global warming below 2°C.
But it is difficult to imagine the delegates reaching this goal when one of the largest contributors to global-warming has no intention of agreeing to reduce its pollution. The problem in this case is neither China nor the United States. Instead, the culprit is the Pentagon.
The Pentagon’s Carbon Boot print
The Pentagon occupies 6,000 bases in the US and more than 1,000 bases (the exact number is disputed) in 60-plus foreign countries. According to its FY 2010 Base Structure Report, the Pentagon’s global empire includes more than 539,000 facilities at 5,000 sites covering more than 28 million acres.
The Pentagon has admitted to burning 350,000 barrels of oil a day (only 35 countries in the world consume more) but that doesn’t include oil burned by contractors and weapons suppliers. It does, however, include providing fuel for more than 28,000 armored vehicles, thousands of helicopters, hundreds of jet fighters and bombers and vast fleets of Navy vessels. The Air Force accounts for about half of the Pentagon’s operational energy consumption, followed by the Navy (33%) and Army (15%). In 2012, oil accounted for nearly 80% of the Pentagon’s energy consumption, followed by electricity, natural gas and coal.
Ironically, most of the Pentagon’s oil is consumed in operations directed at protecting America’s access to foreign oil and maritime shipping lanes. In short, the consumption of oil relies on consuming more oil. This is not a sustainable energy model.
The amount of oil burned—and the burden of smoke released—increases whenever the Pentagon goes to war. (Indeed, human history’s most combustible mix may well prove to be oil and testosterone.) Oil Change International estimates the Pentagon’s 2003-2007 $2 trillion Iraq War generated more than three million metric tons of CO2 pollution per month.
The Pentagon: A Privileged Polluter
Yet, despite being the planet’s single greatest institutional consumer of fossil fuels, the Pentagon has been granted a unique exemption from reducing—or even reporting—its pollution. The US won this prize during the 1998 Kyoto Protocol negotiations (COP4) after the Pentagon insisted on a “national security provision” that would place its operations beyond global scrutiny or control. As Undersecretary of State Stuart Eizenstat recalled: “Every requirement the Defense Department and uniformed military who were at Kyoto by my side said they wanted, they got.” (Also exempted from pollution regulation: all Pentagon weapons testing, military exercises, NATO operations and “peacekeeping” missions.)
After winning this concession, however, the US Senate refused to ratify the Kyoto Accord, the House amended the Pentagon budget to ban any “restriction of armed forces under the Kyoto Protocol,” and George W. Bush rejected the entire climate treaty because it “would cause serious harm to the US economy” (by which he clearly meant the U.S. oil and gas industries).
Today, the Pentagon consumes one percent of all the country’s oil and around 80 percent of all the oil burned by federal government. President Barack Obama recently received praise for his Executive Order requiring federal agencies to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, but Obama’s EO specifically exempted the Pentagon from having to report its contribution to climate chaos. (As a practical matter, the Pentagon has been forced to act. With battlefield gas costing $400 a gallon and naval bases at risk of flooding from rising seas, the Pentagon managed to trim its domestic greenhouse-gas emissions by 9 percent between 2008-2012 and hopes to achieve a 34 percent reduction by 2020.)
Climate Chaos: Deception and Denial
According to recent exposés, Exxon executives knew the company’s products were stoking global temperatures but they opted to put “profits before planet” and conspired to secretly finance three decades of deception. Similarly, the Pentagon has been well aware that its operations were wrecking our planetary habitat. In 2014, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel identified climate change as a “threat multiplier” that will endanger national security by increasing “global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict.” As far back as 2001, Pentagon strategists have been preparing to capitalize on the problem by planning for “ice-free” operations in the Arctic—in anticipation of US-Russian conflicts over access to polar oil.
In 2014, Tom Ridge, George W. Bush’s Homeland Security chief, stated flat-out that climate change posed “a real serious problem” that “would bring destruction and economic damage.” But climate deniers in Congress continue to prevail. Ignoring Ridge’s warnings, a majority of House Republicans hammered an amendment onto the National Defense Authorization bill that banned the Pentagon from spending any funds on researching climate change or sustainable development. “The climate . . . has always been changing,” Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va) said dismissively. “[W]hy should Congress divert funds from the mission of our military and national security to support a political ideology?”
Since 1980, the US has experienced 178 “billion dollar” weather events that have caused more than $1 trillion in damages. In 2014 alone, there were eight “billion dollar” weather calamities.
In September 2015, the World Health Organization warned climate change would claim 250,000 million lives between 2030 and 2050 at a cost of $2-4 billion a year and a study in Nature Climate Change estimated the economic damage from greenhouse emissions could top $326 trillion. (If the global warming causes the permafrost to melt and release its trapped carbon dioxide and methane gases, the economic damage could exceed $492 trillion.)
In October 2015 (the hottest October in recorded weather history), BloombergBusiness expressed alarm over a joint study by scientists at Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley that predicted global warning “could cause 10 times as much damage to the global economy as previously estimated, slashing output as much as 23 percent by the end of the century.”
This is more than a matter of “political ideology.”
The Pentagon’s role in weather disruption needs to become part of the climate discussion. Oil barrels and gun barrels both pose a threat to our survival. If we hope to stabilize our climate, we will need to start spending less money on war.
Gar Smith is co-founder of Environmentalists Against War and Editor Emeritus of Earth Island Journal. He is the author of Nuclear Roulette: The Truth about the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth (Chelsea Green). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jul 6, 2016
Groups ask Oregon Governor Candidates to Keep National Guard Home
20 peace, veterans, faith and social justice organizations, political parties and a military family, including CALC, sent a letter to the candidates for Oregon governor asking them to pledge to keep Oregon’s National Guard from being deployed to undeclared war zones.
The letter, attached below, was sent to the four declared candidates in the Democratic, Republican, Independent and Libertarian parties, as well as the general emails for the Pacific Green Party (a signator to the letter), the Progressive Party, the Working Families Party and the Constitution Party.
The letter asks for a response by July 29th. Peace and Justice Works, which has been coordinating efforts to Keep Oregon’s Guard Home since 2005, will report back any responses and post them under the letter at <http://www.pjw.info/guardletter2016.html>.
For more information contact Peace and Justice Works at 503-236-3065 or <email@example.com>.
July 5, 2016
Dear candidates for Oregon Governor:
We are writing to you to get your opinion on a crucial life-and-death matter for many Oregonians: The deployment of our National Guard to Iraq, Afghanistan and possibly Syria, Libya and Yemen* without Congressional authorization.
In 2011, President Barack Obama withdrew most American troops from Iraq. In August and September of 2014, he began building troops back up in Iraq, sending others to Syria, and bombing both countries in an effort to repel the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). While we are peace loving people and do not support the violent tactics of ISIS, we also believe that the US presence in the region is feeding the insurgency leading to a never-ending escalation.
Moreover, President Obama is relying on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force which was cobbled together after 9/11 to go after those responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington. It was never intended as an open-ended “war on terrorism” without borders.
The Congress has been reluctant to vote on a new authorization bill. In early May 2016, Rep. Barbara Lee led a bipartisan effort to urge a vote on whether to authorize the war on ISIS.
Rep. Lee, others push House to debate war against Islamic State
Unfortunately the effort to repeal the 2001 Authorization failed 138-285.
One of the most recent American service persons to die in Iraq was a National Guard member from Washington state who grew up and went to school in Oregon.
Forest Grove, UP grad dies in Iraq non-combat incident
And, perhaps most significantly, an active duty Army Captain is suing the US government for deploying him to a combat zone without Congressional authorization.
Deployed Army captain sues Obama over ISIS fight
A number of groups from around the state of Oregon have been urging the Governors of this state to Keep Oregon’s Guard in Oregon, from Gov. Kulongoski in 2008 to Gov. Kitzhaber in 2012 and Gov. Brown last year. <http://www.pjw.info/guardhomeletter2015.html>
While several deployments of the Guard have happened in the interim, we urge you to pledge not to send any more Oregonians into an unauthorized and ill fated war.
We hope you will let us know your opinion on this matter so we can share a fact sheet with our constituents. We are non-partisan groups interested in finding alternatives to war as a solution to the world’s problems.
We look forward to your prompt reply by no later than July 29, 2016.
Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group
Community Alliance of Lane County (Eugene)
Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 (Portland)
Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter 132 (Corvallis)
Veterans for Peace Rogue Valley Chapter 156 (Medford/Grants Pass/Rogue River)
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 141 Bandon, Oregon
Michael Taylor and Linda Marshall, parents of Iraq combat Veteran
members Military Families Speak Out* (Portland)
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
Oregon Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Corvallis Branch
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-Portland
Yamhill Valley Peacemakers (McMinnville)
Albany Peace Seekers
Citizens for Peace & Justice (Medford)
Ashland Peace House
Philip H. Randall
Central Oregon Peace Network (Bend)
Pacific Green Party
Freedom Socialist Party
Recruiter Watch PDX
Individuals For Justice (Portland)
Max White and Will Singer
East Timor and Indonesia Action Network Portland
* US sends troops to Yemen, steps up anti-Qaeda strikes (AFP 5/7)
U.S. establishes Libyan outposts with eye toward offensive against Islamic State
The US continues to argue about language to explain how the President is keeping his pledge not to put any “boots on the ground” in Iraq an Syria:
As More American Boots Hit the Ground in Syria, U.S. Parses “Boots” and “Ground” (Intercept 4/29)
and tries to explain why Americans bombed a hospital in Afghanistan even though the US has supposedly ended its combat role there.
US military’s hazy “noncombat” Afghanistan role creates confusion in hospital bombing (Wash Times 5/1)
cc: Kate Brown, Democratic Party
Bud Pierce, Republican Party
Cliff Thomason, Independent Party
James Foster, Libertarian Party
Pacific Green Party
Working Families Party
Dec 24, 2014
Recruiters don’t tell the whole story
The “Ten Things Military Recruiters Won’t Tell You” listed in the Dec. 14 Register-Guard covered a number of important points, but it also missed some:
If the decision to enlist turns out to be a mistake, it can’t be changed. It’s the only career step a youth can make that’s irrevocable.
The enlistment period is eight years. Active duty is typically only four years but enlistees can be called back during the eight years, or longer, especially in wartime.
The training and job listed on the Enlistment Agreement that may entice a youth to enlist can change, and this occurs very frequently. In other words, the youth must abide by the agreement but the military can change any part of it for any reason.
Enlistment means the loss of civilian rights — not something a recruiter will tell a youth.
The military promotion machine spews out messages about turning a youth into a proud, macho adult (even women), but it fails to tell the story of the trauma of serving in combat (yes, we’re at war, even if Congress hasn’t specifically voted to go to war).
There’s a reason military recruitment is focused on 17- to 19-year-olds. Other than because of desperate unemployment, how many would actually enlist if they had a few more years of maturity and time to establish an adult life?
Those points, and more, are what we share with local youth when Truth In Recruiting visits local high schools.
Carol Van Houten
Coordinator, Truth In Recruiting, Community Alliance of Lane County