FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Don’t Ruin the New Year with War on Iran

by CHRIS GEOVANIS

US military veterans and peace activists closed out 2014 with an appeal to one of the U.S. Senate’s most prominent members: Don’t ruin the New Year with a new war on Iran.

Dozens of U.S. military vets and their allies gathered in the bitter cold and biting wind on the last day of the year outside the downtown Chicago office of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) to push back against Kirk’s controversial new bill targeting Iran. Vets charge that Kirk’s bill — S. 1881 — could undermine the recent easing of tensions between the U.S. and Iran and increase the threat of war by thwarting ongoing diplomatic initiatives. Vets say Kirk should instead be supporting current opportunities to strike a diplomatic solution to the long-simmering and dangerous international dispute with Iran over its nuclear program.

The U.S. and its diplomatic partners are currently negotiating with Iran over the terms of its nuclear program, within the framework of a tentative agreement to slowly lift sanctions as progress in negotiations are made. But on December 19th, Kirk introduced a punitive new bill which has the strong support of AIPAC — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee — that clotheslines diplomacy in favor of hardliners in Congress and srael, who have long angled for a military assault on Iran. Kirk and his cosponsor, Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), are expected to advance the provocative bill to the next legislative stage on January 6.

Tuesday’s action was the military veterans’ first public volley in their effort to discourage Kirk and his compatriots, with plans underway to step up the campaign with actions that include a follow-up call-in day to Kirk starting today and continuing on Monday, January 6 to senators across the nation.

“We believe this bill will destroy negotiations with Iran and make war with Iran possible,” said Vietnam military veteran Barry Romo. “We need to respect the international community and the American public, who overwhelmingly want a peaceful settlement with Iran.”

Kirk’s sabre-rattling on Iran is not the first time he’s drawn the ire of veterans and progressives, who have roundly pasted him for actions that range from inflating his military service record to promoting unconstitutional schemes for mass incarceration.

Kirk’s warmongering Iran bill includes a provision that states that “If the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in legitimate self-defense against Iran’s nuclear weapon program, the United States Government should stand with Israel and provide, in accordance with the law of the United States and the constitutional responsibility of Congress to authorize the use of military force, diplomatic, military, and economic support to the Government of Israel….”

Military veterans charge that that language sets the stage for U.S. support — including the use of military force — for a pre-emptive strike by Israel against Iran, a prospect long feared in the region. The bill, they argue, is essentially a potential march to war at a time when diplomatic solutions are at their most promising stage in years.

The veterans and peace activists are urging Kirk to forgo pushing the bill and undermining the diplomatic initiatives of the Obama administration and its partners, and to make a commitment instead to respect the international community, the diplomatic process and the American public, who overwhelmingly want peace with Iran.

The stakes, say vets, are enormously high.

“We need to let the agreed settlement work — and respect the diplomatic endeavors of the Obama administration and our allies,” said Alejandro Villatoro, a U.S. military veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. “Veterans know the consequences of war, the price that veterans have to pay and also the suffering that civilians endure in war zones. We should let the diplomacy of the Obama administration and its partners work.”

The military veterans who gathered on December 31 included representatives of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and Veterans for Peace — all seasoned soldiers who have seen the horrors of war first-hand. They had choice words for Illinois’ junior senator on Tuesday: “Senator Kirk, don’t be a jerk.” Their key demands to Kirk — “Negotiations Not Sanctions” and “Diplomacy not War” — have been embraced by partner peace and civic projects that include the Civilian Soldier Alliance, which supports GI resistance within the ranks; United Electrical Workers/Western Region, which has been active in organizing low-wage workers in the Midwest; and the American Friends Service Committee, which has been active locally and nationally in the peace movement.

They expect support for their campaign against S. 1881 to grow in the coming days.

Chris Geovanis is a Chicago media activist, advocacy journalist and member of the HammerHard MediaWorks collective. You can reach her via Twitter @heavyseas, via her Facebook page or at chrisgeovanis(at)gmail.com.

Chris Geovanis is a Chicago media activist, advocacy journalist and member of the HammerHard MediaWorks collective. You can reach her via Twitter @heavyseas, via her Facebook page or at chrisgeovanis(at)gmail.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 23, 2017
Clancy Sigal
Who’s Up for This Long War?
Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail