Moving to Action – Co$t of War in Syria & Iraq

I suspect that like many of you, when I found out about the replaying of the NBC footage of the attacks on the twin towers on the anniversary of September 11th, I was livid. This just hours after President Obama’s words committing to war. “We will hunt them down wherever they are… “  Suggestions that this war that this war will last beyond his Presidency.  We know those words. We’ve heard them before – 13 years ago when we went to war with Afghanistan and then Iraq (again) – but that time it was President Bush saying them.  Today, the US started bombing Syria.

We are being lead down the same path, and they aren’t even creative enough to come up with new propaganda or slogans – it’s literally exactly what we saw 13 years ago. William Rivers Pitt’s captured it when he said “Meet the New War, Same as the Old War.”  He should write another article: “Meet the New Propaganda, Same as the Old Propaganda.”

Not only have we lived through one President that has inherited and continued the war legacy, but it looks like a third is being set up to take it on.  And wasn’t Obama elected because he opposed these wars? Or was he elected by machinery that profits from endless war at the expense of children’s educations and our vitally important safety nets?

13 years later we find the need to continue our call for peace, our call for justice and a call for true diplomacy abroad and real democracy at home.

I share below an article that is featured in this year’s STAND Voter Guide, which will be in your mailbox in the next few days.

As the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, ROP and human dignity groups around the state set out to expose the Co$t of War at home and abroad.   These last few months we have witnessed the costs of endless war at home and abroad: militarization at the border and of local law enforcement, stalled relief again for undocumented immigrants and now, once again, bombs dropped in the Middle East in our name.

How is your human dignity group considering engaging your community? What are ways human dignity groups can respond – to shake off the shock and move to action?

We may not be able to stop the war machine dead in its tracks, today. But let’s not stay silent on the Co$t of War at home and abroad.

Consider sharing the below article as a starting point. If you’d like extra copies of the STAND Voter Guide (in English or Spanish) to pass out to your neighbors, let us know.  (And thanks to Mike Edera for this article. Mike is a long time ROP leader, volunteer, smart thinker and organizer).

We reject endless, mindless war. Yes, we live in an uncertain world, but we can be certain of our own choices and their consequences. Let us create new paths toward self-empowerment, towards transformational courage. – Dennis Kucinich

My Best, Cara

PS- Stay tuned for upcoming reports on climate justice work in rural Oregon! 400,000 strong in New York City and hundreds of small town Oregonians leading the work here in our own state!

Co$t of War: Let’s Talk Money

Let’s talk money. It’s a subject that interests most people, but when the numbers get so big, it’s hard to make sense of things. Since 9/11, the USA has spent over $4 trillion for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan (http://costsofwar.org/article/economic-cost-summary). What the heck does this mean?

A trillion is one million times one million, or one thousand times one billion. If you spent a million dollars a day, every day, seven days a week, every week of the year, from the day Jesus was born until today, you would not have spent a trillion dollars.

Every time the Bush or Obama administrations requested money for these wars, Congress approved it – without delay. Virtually all this money was borrowed money, with estimated interest costs of over $300 billion.

Other Federal programs have not been so lucky. The Republican majority in the US House of Representatives refused to approve funding for the Department of Agriculture for an entire year, until they forced through $9 billion in cuts to the food stamp and emergency heating assistance program. Here’s what Rep. Greg Walden (Republican in Oregon’s 2nd District), who voted for the cuts, had to say about cutting food and heating help for the needy:

“Of all the threats that face our nation, few loom larger than the ever-growing federal debt and the impact it has on jobs and our economy,” Walden said in a statement. “That’s why I’ve backed efforts to cut federal spending and get the federal budget in balance so we can begin paying down the nation’s debt. -The Register Guard, April 14, 2014

So, Congress will borrow $4 trillion for wars, costing $300 billion in interest without a peep, but will cut $9 billion in help for needy Americans because “of all the threats that face our nation, few loom larger than the ever-growing federal debt and the impact it has on jobs and our economy”? Right.

Almost half the war spending since 9/11 went for the fighting in Iraq. In June, the Iraqi army collapsed, which the US had spent over $20 billion to fund, abandoning millions of dollars in US war equipment to ISIS, which has overrun much of the country.  It’s time to hold our elected officials accountable for this.

As a voter, here is what you can do:

Educate yourself about the cost of war: http://costsofwar.org/

Contact your US Representative or US Senator and tell hem how you feel about the cost of war: http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup

Organize. Join people who are working to put the needs of people above the needs of war spending. To find a grassroots group near you, contact: https://rop.org/

 

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