Sanders, Khanna announce new legislation to block funding for War with Iran
Senator Bernie Sanders co-sponsors legislation to block funding for President Trump’s war with Iran in Iraq while Americans protest across the country against the violence and targeted assassination of Iranian Military Commander Qassem Soleimani. The National Nonviolent PeaceForce denounces Trump’s violence as well as CodePink, along with other organizations, have organized national protests
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) issued the following statement Friday (Jan. 3, 2020) announcing the introduction of legislation to prohibit any funding for offensive military force in or against Iran without prior congressional authorization. The measure to restrict funds for such military activities passed by a bipartisan, 251-margin vote in the House of Representatives, but was later stripped from the National Defense Authorization Act adopted by Congress in December:
“Today, we are seeing a dangerous escalation that brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East. A war with Iran could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars and lead to even more deaths, more conflict, more displacement in that already highly volatile region of the world.
“War must be the last recourse in our international relations. That is why our Founding Fathers gave the responsibility over war to Congress. Congressional inaction in the face of the threat of a catastrophic and unconstitutional Middle East conflict is not acceptable.
“After authorizing a disastrous, $738 billion military budget that placed no restrictions on this president from starting an unauthorized war with Iran, Congress now has an opportunity to change course. Our legislation blocks Pentagon funding for any unilateral actions this president takes to wage war against Iran without Congressional authorization.
“We know that it will ultimately be the children of working-class families who will have to fight and die in a new Middle East conflict—not the children of the billionaire class. At a time when we face the urgent need to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, to build the housing we desperately need, and to address the existential crisis of climate change, we as a nation must get our priorities right. The House and Senate should pass our legislation immediately and uphold our constitutional responsibilities. We must invest in the needs of the American people, not spend trillions more on endless wars.”
The Sanders and Khanna legislation comes in response to the American air strikes in Iraq this past week which took the lives of several Iranian-backed Iraqi medical personnel and civilians, along with the targeted killing of Iran’s military commander Qasem Soleimani whom President Trump accused of being behind the killings of American soldiers and workers in Syria and throughout the Middle East.
Trump blamed Soleimani for a “reign of terror,” asserting, “The United States military executed a flawless precision strike that killed the number one terrorist anywhere in the world, Qassem Soleimani.”
But Trump never provided any evidence to back up his claims, nor informed the U.S. Congress of his military strike.
Americans organized protests across the United States for Saturday Jan. 4, 2020, issuing the following statement about Trump’s reckless conduct, including this statement from the National Nonviolent Peace Force based in St. Paul, Minnesota:
“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”
Gandhi’s astute observation is more relevant now than it was in the first half of the 20th century.
We are witnessing a terrifying and predictable escalation of violence by the US, Iranian and Iraqi militias and governments. Such an escalation will not end well. More people will die. Thousands more will suffer.
We join with people around the world demanding a STOP to this escalation and the use instead of maximum restraint. Hundreds of demonstrations in the US are called for tomorrow, Saturday, 4 January.
But it is not enough to call only for an end to the war. As a supporter of Nonviolent Peaceforce, you are already helping to build alternative approaches to dealing with violent conflict.
The basis of NP’s work is to stop the escalation of violence from the bottom up.
We currently have a team of 70 unarmed civilian protectors in Iraq working with communities on civilian protection and violence reduction. Other groups like Christian Peacemaker Teams and the Iraq Peace Team are on the ground doing similar work. All told we number around 150 local and international people.
The US is sending another 3,000 troops to the region. Imagine if there were 3,000 nonviolent peacekeepers deployed instead. We must not only imagine but demand such a shift.
2020 will be a fateful year. Resistance and viable alternatives are two sides of the same coin, and both must be rapidly developed.
Just as the environmental movement has created feasible and efficient alternatives to burning fossil fuels, the peace movement must continue to develop effective nonviolent approaches to resolving conflicts, protecting civilians and preventing violence, like Unarmed Civilian Protection.
Join this effort to develop nonviolent alternatives and de-construct the machinery of war.
On behalf of NP’s civilian protectors around the world, I want to thank you for standing with us and for your commitment to building peace.
CodePink issued the following statement protesting Trump’s violence:
On Saturday, January 4 the ANSWER Coalition, CODEPINK, Muslim Peace Fellowship, Veterans for Peace, United AntiWar Coalition (UNAC), United for Peace & Justice (UFPJ), Feminist Foreign Policy, World Beyond War, Popular Resistance and Voices for Creative Nonviolence are calling on people from around the United States to organize local demonstrations to demand: NO MORE U.S. TROOPS TO IRAQ OR THE MIDDLE EAST! U.S. OUT OF IRAQ NOW! and NO WAR/NO SANCTIONS ON IRAN!
In response to the massive protests in Iraq following the latest U.S. aerial assault that killed scores of Iraqis, Donald Trump has ordered 750 more U.S. troops to the Middle East and potentially 3,000 more. This is in addition to the 5,200 U.S. troops already stationed in Iraq. Every U.S. president over the last 28 years has ordered the bombing of Iraq. The decision by Donald Trump and the Pentagon to launch new air assaults against Iraqis in the past week ignited nationwide resistance by Iraqis who want to reclaim their full sovereignty and do not want Iraq to be used in a U.S. war on Iran.
More than a million Iraqis have died during the past 28 years as a consequence of U.S. occupation, bombings and sanctions. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops have either been killed or suffered life-changing wounds. The U.S. government has spent more than $3 trillion dollars in the on-going occupation and bombing of this oil-rich country. Instead of taking the United States out of this endless war, Trump is building up U.S. forces in the region and threatening a war with Iran.
Initiators for this call include the ANSWER Coalition, CODEPINK, Popular Resistance, Veterans For Peace, World Beyond War, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, and many other anti-war and peace organizations.