This month, we're recounting the success stories of 2013. Last week, it was getting the US to talk to Iran. Today's win: preventing war with Syria.
Back in August when President Obama announced his intention to bomb Syria, Just Foreign Policy was the first progressive organization to say that the President should go to Congress to seek authorization. We mobilized the grassroots to urge their reps in Congress to demand that Obama come to them for approval. We then urged Congressional Democrats to sign Virginia Republican Scott Rigell's letter demanding the President come to Congress. We also worked with Rep. Barbara Lee's office to get a similar letter going for Democrats.
As a result of these efforts, 192 Members of the House went on record demanding that Obama come to Congress. The next day, President Obama announced that he would go to Congress for authorization.
The fight that resulted in Congress—and the resistance to another war that erupted on the streets across the US—delayed military action long enough for a diplomatic solution to present itself.
Just Foreign Policy was a first responder in the Syria fight. Because we're small, we can move quickly. And as we've proven, that comes in handy.
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Thank you for all you do to help prevent another US war,
Megan Iorio, Chelsea Mozen and Robert Naiman
Just Foreign Policy
People have noticed the silence of former Secretary of State and widely presumed 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry. Where does she stand? How long can she dodge? And how long can former President Bill Clinton dodge?
It's not like the Clintons have gone into seclusion on public affairs in general or U.S. foreign policy in particular.
Press clips from vigil against the U.S. bombing of Syria in Illinois' 13th Congressional District (Rep. Rodney Davis)
WCIA-TV (with video): Former lawmaker joins anti-war vigil
WICD-TV (video): Some In CU Say: Don't Strike Syria
WAND-TV (video): Residents urge lawmakers to vote against attacks on Syria
News-Gazette: Candlelight vigil held over proposed strikes against Syria
News-Gazette photo gallery: Vigil Against Bombing Syria: 9/9/13
WILL-AM: At Rally, Fmr. Rep. Johnson Speaks Out Against Possible Military Strike
Daily Illini: Community members plead for peace
When the news broke that President Obama wanted to launch military strikes in Syria, I was sitting in a hotel in Jerusalem nearing the end of a fact-finding mission examining the situation on the ground in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What I had recently witnessed was the failure of the US to uphold not only international law but its own stated policy as Israel effectively colonized East Jerusalem and vast swathes of the West Bank, encircling Palestinian cantons in a sea of Israeli-only settlements, roads, state lands, and military zones.
Even the initiation of the US-brokered peace process seems to have had little impact on the Israeli calculus. I arrived in the country the same week as Martin Indyk, the US envoy for the talks. In the days immediately preceding my arrival, and in the three weeks I spent in the country, the Israeli government announced the construction of over 4,400 new settlement units. In the same period of time, 11 Palestinian families were made homeless through house demolitions. Under present circumstances, a contiguous Palestinian state seems like an impossible dream.
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We are within reach of doing something unprecedented: stopping a U.S. war before it starts by means of a Congressional vote. We have public opinion our side including a majority of Democrats, a majority of Republicans, and a majority of Independents. We have MoveOn, CREDO, VoteVets, and Win Without War, among many other groups, active on the left; meanwhile the Campaign for Liberty and Heritage Action are active on the right. ABC's whip count has 217 Members of the House as "oppose" or "likely to oppose."
It's a historic victory for peace, democracy and the rule of law that President Obama has agreed to seek Congressional authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) in Syria. As a Just Foreign Policy supporter, you can take some credit for this: we helped get the ball rolling when we put out an alert last Monday morning calling for President Obama to seek authorization and for Congress to demand that he seek authorization, at a time when many were saying that trying to get Congress involved was futile.
But despite the President's promise that he only intends to conduct "limited strikes" in Syria, the AUMF he sent to Congress Saturday is a blank check for war.
Here's what you can do to pressure Congress to vote NO on the Syria AUMF:
- Call your representatives NOW. Many in Congress are undecided as to how to vote on the Syria AUMF. Taking two minutes out of your day could help prevent another US war. All the information you need to call your reps can be found here:
You can get an idea about where your reps currently stand using this Washington Post graphic. Just scroll over the dots to find your rep.
- Sign and share our petition. You can sign at MoveOn using the following link or via the action box below.
The office of Rep. Scott Rigell (VA-02) is circulating the following letter on Congressional war powers. It closes at noon Wednesday, August 28. Urge your Representative to sign the Rigell letter by calling the Congressional switchboard, 202-225-3121. There is a Roll Call article about this letter here: Get Authorization for Syria, House Lawmakers Say
Dear Mr. President,
We strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria. Your responsibility to do so is prescribed in the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
On Sunday, Republican Sen. Bob Corker and Rep. Eliot Engel - a Democrat who voted for the Iraq war - told Fox News that President Obama should strike Syria first and get Congressional approval afterwards.