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International Peace Leaders Comimg to Eugene

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:

  1. Could U.S./NATO Conflicts with Russia trigger WWIII?
  2.  Whose Finger? On What Button? The Urgent Need to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Trump or No Trump.
  3.  Stopping Fascism and Militarism, and Building Beloved Communities in the era of Trump.
  4.  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 calcpeace@gmail.com

Michael Carrigan at CALC at 541.485.1755 or www.calclane.org

Nuclear Policy in the Trump Administration: Real Dangers, Real Possibilities

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 calcpeace@gmail.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.

Is joining the National Guard a good way to pay for college?

 

After a period of basic training, getting a monthly salary for National Guard training one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer, plus getting tuition paid, certainly has worked well in the past for some students who have joined the National Guard.

Here is a caution light however, because of recent changes to the National Guard.  Now National Guard units are “twinned” with an Active Duty Army unit so that they all have the same level of training for the time they are deployed together to combat or some other overseas commitment.    Active Duty Army units do have some time at home, but are periodically deployed overseas.  As a member of the National Guard or any branch of the military, you must deploy with your unit.  Where you are with your educational schedule makes no difference.

Last school year National Guard recruiters phoned many students at the University of Oregon and Lane Community College with great sounding deals to join the National Guard and get tuition paid.   Recruiters did not tell students about the new changes, which mean that at any time over the 8 years of their commitment, they could and likely would be called to active duty for some period of time.

So enlisting in the National Guard may still be a student’s choice, but heed this warning about likely disruptions to one’s education schedule.   The National Guard is no longer just a group of people, wanting to help in local or regional emergencies. They are a branch of the military.

Before enlisting, check out other alternatives to achieve your goals…

 

CALC’s Truth in Recruiting program

 

 

Keep Oregon National Guard Home

 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 <campaign@pjw.info>.

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
<http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Rep-Lee-s-bipartisan-effort-to-open-debate-7465184.php>
Unfortunately the effort to repeal the 2001 Authorization failed 138-285.
<http://news.antiwar.com/2016/05/18/house-rejects-bill-that-would-lead-to-debate-on-isis-war-authorization/>

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
<http://www.kgw.com/news/local/us-soldiers-dies-in-noncombat-incident-in-iraq_/182347795>

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
<http://www.armytimes.com/story/military/2016/05/04/deployed-army-captain-sues-obama-over-isis-fight/83942016>

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.

Thank you

Dan Handelman
Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group

Michael Carrigan
Community Alliance of Lane County (Eugene)

S. Jenika
Veterans for Peace Chapter 72 (Portland)

Bart Bolger
Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter 132 (Corvallis)

Allen Hallmark
Veterans for Peace Rogue Valley Chapter 156 (Medford/Grants Pass/Rogue River)

Ed Pool
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 141 Bandon, Oregon

Michael Taylor and Linda Marshall, parents of Iraq combat Veteran
members Military Families Speak Out* (Portland)

Kelly Campbell
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Susan Cundiff
Oregon Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND)

Leah Bolger
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Corvallis Branch

Natasha Beck
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-Portland

Ellie Gunn
Yamhill Valley Peacemakers (McMinnville)

Nancy Greenman
Albany Peace Seekers

Ivend Holen
Citizens for Peace & Justice (Medford)

Elizabeth Hallett
Ashland Peace House

Philip H. Randall
Central Oregon Peace Network (Bend)

Emma Lugo
Pacific Green Party

Jordana Sardo
Freedom Socialist Party

Recruiter Watch PDX

Malcolm Chaddock
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)
<http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/us-sends-troops-to-yemen/2764406html>
U.S. establishes Libyan outposts with eye toward offensive against Islamic State
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-establishes-libyan-outposts-with-eye-toward-offensive-against-islamic-state/2016/05/12/11195d32-183c-11e6-9e16-2e5a123aac62_story.html>
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)
<https://theintercept.com/2016/04/29/as-more-american-boots-hit-the-ground-in-syria-u-s-parses-boots-and-ground>
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)
<http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/1/us-militarys-hazy-noncombat-afghanistan-role-creat/print/>

cc: Kate Brown, Democratic Party
Bud Pierce, Republican Party
Cliff Thomason, Independent Party
James Foster, Libertarian Party
Pacific Green Party
Working Families Party
Constitution Party
Progressive Party

“Looking Forward” Comes to Hiroshima

Never mind an apology, Obama should admit the truth.

By David Swanson, TeleSUR

Since before he entered the White House, Barack Obama has proposed handling past crimes by powerful people and entities through a policy called “looking forward” – in other words, by ignoring them. While President Obama has targeted whistleblowers with retribution and more prosecutions than his predecessors, deported more immigrants, and kept the lights on in Guantanamo, anyone responsible for war or assassination or torture or lawless imprisonment or most major Wall Street scams (or sharing military secrets with one’s mistress) has been given a total pass. Why shouldn’t Harry Truman receive the same privilege?

This policy, now being brought to Hiroshima, has been a miserable failure. Wars based on lies to Congress have been displaced by wars without Congress at all. Assassinations and support for coups are open public policy, with Tuesday kill list selections and State Department support for regimes in Honduras, Ukraine, and Brazil. Torture, in the new Washington consensus, is a policy choice with at least one presidential candidate campaigning on making greater use of it. Lawless imprisonment is likewise respectable in the hoped-and-changed world, and Wall Street is doing what it did before.

Obama has carried this policy of “looking forward” backward into the past, prior to his upcoming visit to Hiroshima. “Looking forward” requires only ignoring criminality and responsibility; it permits acknowledging occurrences in the past if one does so with a face that appears regretful and eager to move on. While Obama disagreed with President George W. Bush on Iraq, Bush meant well, or so Obama now says. As did U.S. forces in Vietnam, Obama says. The Korean War was actually a victory, Obama has rather surprisingly announced. “The risk-takers, the doers . . . [who] settled the West” prove “the greatness of our nation.” That was how Obama euphemized the North American genocide in his first inaugural address. What might one expect him to say of the romanticized acts of mass-murder in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the Truman regime squeezed in before World War II could end?

Many peace activists whom I greatly respect have been, along with survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (called Hibakusha), urging Obama to apologize for the nuclear bombings and/or to meet briefly with survivors. I am not opposed to such steps, but rhetoric and photo ops are not what’s really needed and can often work against what’s really needed. By virtue of his rhetoric and party membership, Obama has been given a pass on his warmaking for over seven years. I’d have preferred he said nothing, made no speeches at all. By virtue of a speech in Prague in which Obama persuaded people that eliminating nukes must take decades, he has been given a pass on massive investment in new nukes, continued first-strike policy, more nukes in Europe, escalated hostility toward Russia, continued noncompliance with the nonproliferation treaty, and dangerous fear mongering around Iran’s scary (though nonexistent) nuclear weapons program.

What’s needed is not an apology so much as an admission of the facts. When people learn the facts around claims of mountaintop rescues in Iraq, or where ISIS came from, whether Gadaffi was really threatening to massacre and handing out Viagra for rape, whether Iraq really had WMDs or took babies out of incubators, what actually happened in the Gulf of Tonkin, why the USS Maine blew up in Havana harbor, and so forth, then people turn against war. Then they all come to believe that an apology is needed. And they offer apologies on behalf of their government. And they demand a formal apology. This is what should happen for Hiroshima.

I’ve joined over 50 U.S. signers on a letter drafted by historian Peter Kuznick to be published on May 23rd that asks President Obama to make good use of his visit to Hiroshima by:

  • Meeting with all Hibakusha who are able to attend
  • Announcing the end of U.S. plans to spend US$1 trillion for the new generation of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems
  • Reinvigorating nuclear disarmament negotiations to go beyond New START by announcing the unilateral reduction of the deployed U.S. arsenal to 1,000 nuclear weapons or fewer
  • Calling on Russia to join with the United States in convening the ‘good faith negotiations’ required by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty for the complete elimination of the world’s nuclear arsenals.
  • Reconsidering your refusal to apologize or discuss the history surrounding the A-bombings, which even President Eisenhower, Generals MacArthur, King, Arnold, and LeMay and Admirals Leahy and Nimitz stated were not necessary to end the war.

 

If President Obama just apologizes, without explaining the facts of the matter, then he’ll simply get himself denounced as a traitor without making the U.S. public any less likely to back wars. The need to “discuss the history” is therefore critical.

When asked if Obama would himself have done what Truman did, Obama’s spokesman Josh Earnest said: “I think what the president would say is that it’s hard to put yourself in that position from the outside. I think what the president does appreciate is that president Truman made this decision for the right reasons. President Truman was focused on the national security interests of the United States, … on bringing an end to a terrible war. And president Truman made this decision fully mindful of the likely human toll. I think it’s hard to look back and second-guess it too much.”

This is quintessential “looking forward.” One must not look back and second-guess that someone powerful did something wrong. One should look back and conclude that he had good intentions, thus rendering whatever damage he caused “collateral damage” of those all-absolving good intentions.

This wouldn’t matter so much if people in the United States knew the actual history of what happened to Hiroshima. Here’s a recent Reuters article tactfully distinguishing between what people in the United States imagine and what historians understand:

“A majority of Americans see the bombings as having been necessary to end the war and save U.S. and Japanese lives, although many historians question that view. Most Japanese believe they were unjustified.”

Reuters goes on to advocate for looking forward:

“Officials in both countries have made clear they want to stress the present and future, not dig into the past, even as the two leaders honor all victims of the war.”

Honoring victims by avoiding looking at what happened to them? Almost humorously, Reuters turns immediately to asking the Japanese government to look backward:

“Even without an apology, some hope that Obama’s visit will highlight the huge human cost of the bombings and pressure Japan to own up more forthrightly to its responsibilities and atrocities.”

As it should. But how will Obama visiting the site of a massive and unprecedented crime, and blatantly failing to acknowledge the criminality and responsibility encourage Japan to take the opposite approach?

I have previously drafted what I’d like to hear Obama say in Hiroshima. Here’s an excerpt:

“There has for many years no longer been any serious dispute. Weeks before the first bomb was dropped, on July 13, 1945, Japan sent a telegram to the Soviet Union expressing its desire to surrender and end the war. The United States had broken Japan’s codes and read the telegram. Truman referred in his diary to ‘the telegram from Jap Emperor asking for peace.’ President Truman had been informed through Swiss and Portuguese channels of Japanese peace overtures as early as three months before Hiroshima. Japan objected only to surrendering unconditionally and giving up its emperor, but the United States insisted on those terms until after the bombs fell, at which point it allowed Japan to keep its emperor.

“Presidential advisor James Byrnes had told Truman that dropping the bombs would allow the United States to ‘dictate the terms of ending the war.’ Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote in his diary that Byrnes was ‘most anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in.’ Truman wrote in his diary that the Soviets were preparing to march against Japan and ‘Fini Japs when that comes about.’ Truman ordered the bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th and another type of bomb, a plutonium bomb, which the military also wanted to test and demonstrate, on Nagasaki on August 9th. Also on August 9th, the Soviets attacked the Japanese. During the next two weeks, the Soviets killed 84,000 Japanese while losing 12,000 of their own soldiers, and the United States continued bombing Japan with non-nuclear weapons. Then the Japanese surrendered.

“The United States Strategic Bombing Survey concluded that, ‘… certainly prior to 31 December, 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November, 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.’ One dissenter who had expressed this same view to the Secretary of War prior to the bombings was General Dwight Eisenhower. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William D. Leahy agreed: ‘The use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender,’ he said.”

Fortunately for the world, the non-nuclear nations are moving to ban nuclear weapons. Bringing nuclear nations on board and effecting disarmament will require beginning to tell the truth.

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