You are here

UJP Statement on the campaign to prevent a U.S. attack on Syria

Today the U.S. is NOT bombing Syria. Yes, the U.S. is still training armed groups to send into Syria. It is maintaining severe sanctions. Its warships patrol the area. And CIA spooks of all kinds roam the whole region while commando attacks take place in nearby countries.

But today we are not bombing Syria. This fact, which seemed so unlikely to be true just weeks ago, is due to the widespread public opposition to this war in the U.S. and abroad which for the first time thwarted the desires of an American president to go to war.

While the public opposition was complex, bringing together constituencies of all political stripes, it is clear that our actions and petitions and pressure on congress played some role in this historic denial of the desires of the war makers. Most important, these events indicate a strong anti-war sentiment among the general public which carries all kinds of implications for the future.

Of course, we must be ready for an emergency response if there are indications that Washington is once again moving in the direction of war. We should keep our network alive as an emergency response network in preparation for this possibility.

But for now, with the United Nations brokered deal to contain and remove Syria’s chemical weapons, the movement is toward negotiations and diplomacy instead of U.S. attack.  These negotiations are marked by incredible hypocrisy on the part of the U.S. and other big powers, but they are preventing the U.S. from attacking nonetheless.

There also seems to be spillover of the momentum toward diplomacy instead of military attack in regard to U.S. policy toward Iran. Again, the hypocrisy of the world’s largest nuclear power --  along with Israel, the Middle East’s only nuclear power -- threatening a country that has no atomic weapons and which has never invaded another country is monumental. But this slight movement toward diplomacy and away from a U.S. attack on Iran is quite significant.

We propose that our tasks in this period include:

  • Maintain an emergency response network to oppose new threats of an attack on Syria or Iran.
  • Support an international peace conference with all countries involved at the table and full Syrian participation, leading to a Syrian resolution of the conflict.
  • Support a legitimate and neutral humanitarian effort to help the millions of Syria’s wounded and displaced
  • Mobilize widespread anti-war sentiment throughout the population to take the military option off the table, to get out of Afghanistan now, to end drone attacks, and to re-direct Pentagon spending to support employment, a green energy future, and vital public programs
  • Encourage the U.S. to remain engaged in diplomacy to resolve its confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program
  • Bring to bear whatever pressure we can to end U.S. threats against Iran and the sanctions that are devastating Iranian society as they devastated Iraq in the 1990’s.
  • Use the current public discussion about chemical and nuclear weapons to push for the removal of these weapons from all the countries of the Middle East (why should only Syria and Iran be prevented from having these weapons). Press the U.S. to 1) fulfill its binding commitment to co-convene a Middle East nuclear weapons- and WMD-free Zone conference and 2. commence the “good faith” negotiations required by Article VI of the NPT to negotiate the complete elimination of the world’s nuclear arsenals.

But for now, let us celebrate the fact that today we are not bombing Syria. 

       -- UJP Planning Group (adopted Oct 23, 2013)

Filed under: