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September 9, 2013
Bulletin #177: What road to Damascus – war or peace? NM Democrats disappoint so far, except Udall; more actions and background
Dear friends –
Congressional approval, as much as can be ascertained from the latest whip counts and media coverage, is so far not growing, although the effects of today’s White House briefings, tomorrow’s presidential speech, the invasion of Capitol Hill by 250+ lobbyists from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and the quiet distance from popular opinion that comes from being back in the Washington, DC bubble remain to be tallied.
Today the President acknowledged that Congress might reject his proposal for an attack, amid confusion as to whether such an attack would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort” (Kerry), or something much powerful (Obama: “The U.S. does not do pinpricks”).
Disappointingly, NM Senator Martin Heinrich today came out in favor of authorizing military strikes. Comments on his choice, which we believe to be unprincipled, dishonest, and cowardly, will follow tomorrow.
NM Democrat Ben Ray Lujan is silent on the issue so far. Congresswoman Lujan Grisham has decided to deal with the issue for now via an on-line constituent poll.
Today’s offhand remark by Secretary of State Kerry for Syria to promptly surrender its chemical munitions very quickly grew political legs around the world and in Congress this afternoon. Senator Reid reportedly postponed the Senate vote scheduled for Wednesday.
Please see Bulletin 176 for what you can do. Contact the NM delegation at these numbers and places.
FYI, no one came to our office today to help make calls. Tomorrow, bring friends and phones and let’s work together. Remember, our anti-war work will take place from 10:30 to 2:30.
Upcoming public actions:
Protests at Senator Heinrich's offices
3. Background information and talking points
A bit of background makes it relatively easy to expose the lies in the Administration’s talking points – which are not, it appears, consistent or stable anyway.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) understands the gravity of the situation and has staffed up to fight against this new war. Their talking points and background materials are excellent.
CODEPINK has been quite active and good we think.
The news and commentary on antiwar.com is superb. To take just one example, see “The Lies Behind this War” (Justin Raimondo, Sept. 5). Kelly Vlahos is also very good (see for example ‘Surgical Strikes’ an Orwellian Dream – Syrian civilians in Damascus know better,” Sept. 3).
The Western States Legal Foundation has an excellent briefing paper on the illegality of any U.S. strike on Syria.
Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s “Top 10 Unproven Claims for War Against Syria” are lawyerly but good. “Obama's Case for Syria Didn't Reflect Intel Consensus,” as Gareth Porter has written. The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have issued some excellent memos, like this one calling on General Dempsey to resign, for the sake of his oath to protect the Constitution.
As Jeremy Scahill’s painstakingly-documented Dirty Wars describes, the U.S. already has “boots on the ground” in dozens of countries in the world, no doubt including Syria. You can be sure that secret military, paramilitary, contractor, and intelligence personnel will flow to Syria like a river if force is authorized by Congress. We will be paying plenty to the warlords and gangsters who thrive in war and chaos to do our killing for us, as we already do elsewhere.
Or take a look at the “9 Ways America Has Fueled the Bloody Civil War in Syria,” by Nicolas J. S. Davies.
The “US Has No Credibility Dealing with Chemical Weapons,” as Stephen Zunes explains.
That’s it for tonight. We are begging you to step up your opposition to this war.
Greg and Trish, for the Study Group