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Bellingham WA Premiers as First Washington City to Oppose US Military Intervention in Iran


Late Monday night, the City of Bellingham became the first city in Washington to take an official stance against US military intervention in Iran. The council’s unanimous 7-0 vote received a standing ovation from a crowd of supporters.

Bellingham is now the thirteenth city in the nation to have approved a resolution regarding opposition to war with Iran.

“We are thrilled tonight,” stated Marie Marchand, executive director of the Whatcom Peace & Justice Center. “It is not often that my elected officials represent my viewpoint, especially given the abdication of power on the part of our national leaders. However, it’s different at the local level. The Bellingham City Council has, once again, stepped up to do their job and represent the people.”

The resolution was sponsored by City Council Member Terry Bornemann and received early support from Council President Barbara Ryan and Mayor Dan Pike. The resolution urges the Bush Administration to pursue diplomatic engagement with Iran, and it urges Congress to prohibit the use of funds to carry out any military action against Iran without explicit Congressional authorization.

“I consulted with Mayor Dan Pike before bringing this resolution forward,” said Bornemann. “We feel it is necessary for our nation’s mayors and cities to step forward and take the lead in saying no more war. It is time to move to a Peace in the Middle East, bring our troops home, and begin re-building our American cities."

Local Iraq Veteran Evan Knappenberger was present at the vote. “Dissent is paramount during these times,” he said, “even if we are in a majority. Your dissent is not only necessary, but powerful and effective. The justice of your actions can bring only good to this community.”

Many of the people who testified commended the council for its leadership in addressing a possible unprovoked attack on Iran. With national representatives ignoring their constituents, more and more people are approaching their local governments to fill the leadership vacuum.

"Hopefully, the passage of this resolution will snowball through other cities and build a unifying movement in opposition to another illegal war," stated Gene Marx, member of the Corporal Jonathan Santos Memorial Chapter of Veterans for Peace.

The resolution's text reads:

RESOLUTION OPPOSING MILITARY INTERVENTION IN IRAN SUBMITTED TO THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BELLINGHAM, WA

1. WHEREAS, the President and members of his Administration have alleged that Iran poses an imminent threat to the United States, U.S. troops in the Middle East, and U.S. allies; and

2. WHEREAS, these allegations are similar to the lead-up to the Iraq War and U.S. Occupation, with the selective use of information and unsubstantiated accusations about Iran's nuclear program and its supply of weapons to Iraqi forces as centerpieces of a case to the American people for aggression against Iran; and

3. WHEREAS, the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives are currently considering non-binding resolutions S. R. 580 and H. Con. Res. 362, respectively, encouraging President Bush to increase pressure on Iran, including authorization for a Naval Blockage, which could be perceived to be an Act of War; and

4. WHEREAS, Iran has not threatened to attack the United States, and no compelling evidence has been presented to document that Iran poses a real and imminent threat to the security and safety of the U.S. that would justify an unprovoked unilateral pre-emptive military attack; and

5. WHEREAS, a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), representing the consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, concluded that Iran froze its nuclear weapons program in 2003, and an earlier NIE concluded that Iran's involvement in Iraq "is not likely to be a major driver of violence" there; and

6. WHEREAS, Mohammed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the world’s nuclear weapons inspectorate, insisted that he does not consider Iran a danger and said he will resign if a military strike is carried out; and

7. WHEREAS, we cannot ignore the history of U.S. government misinformation used to inspire U.S. aggression in Vietnam and again in Iraq, as embodied in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution and more recently in what we know now as false claims of weapons of mass destruction; and

8. WHEREAS, we support the people of Iran who are struggling for freedom and democracy, and nothing herein should be misconstrued as support for the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but it should be understood that a unilateral, pre-emptive U.S. military attack on Iran would be counterproductive to the cause of promoting freedom and democracy there; and

9. WHEREAS, an attack on Iran is likely to cause untold thousands of American and Iranian casualties, lead to major economic dislocations, and threaten even greater destabilization in the Middle East; and

10. WHEREAS, a pre-emptive U.S. military attack on Iran would violate international law and our commitments under the U.N. Charter and further isolate the U.S. from the rest of the world; and

11. WHEREAS, an attack on Iran is likely to inflame hatred for the U.S. in the Middle East and elsewhere, inspire terrorism, and lessen the security of Americans; and

12. WHEREAS, the Iraq war and occupation has already cost the lives of 4,119 American service men and women, the wounding of over 30,000, with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) cases in excess of 300,000 from both Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a Rand Corporation study dated April 2008; and

13. WHEREAS, Iraqi mortality estimates exceed one million since the start of the Iraq War and Occupation according to recent surveys conducted by Lancet and British ORB (Opinion Research Survey), with Iranian casualties projected to be higher should Iran take retaliatory action following a U.S. pre-emptive attack, according to the Oxford Research Group; and

14. WHEREAS, the Iraq War and occupation has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $500 billion, depriving our cities of much-needed funds for services and infrastructure; and

15. WHEREAS, any conflict with Iran is likely to incur far greater costs and divert more precious national resources away from critical human needs; and

16. WHEREAS, the City of Bellingham declared itself a Troops Home! City on October 9, 2006, thus setting precedent in favor of peace and nonviolence as cornerstones of our nation’s foreign policy; and

17. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of Bellingham hereby urges the Bush Administration to pursue diplomatic engagement with Iran on nuclear issues; in pursuit of good faith negotiations toward peaceful resolutions as outlined for signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the United Nations Charter; and

18. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City of Bellingham urges Congress to prohibit the use of funds to carry out any military action against Iran without explicit Congressional authorization; and

19. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that suitable copies of this resolution be forwarded to President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, UN General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Al Khalifa, US Congressman Rick Larsen, and US Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray.

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