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We Will Oppose Obama As Long As He Supports War
See also: 2012 Presidential Candidates on Wars
We the undersigned share with nearly two-thirds of our fellow Americans the conviction that our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq should be ended and that overall military spending should be dramatically reduced. This has been our position for years and will continue to be, and we take it seriously. We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them.
Since he became president, Obama has had three opportunities to work with Congress to reduce military spending, but instead has championed increases in that spending each time, despite the fact that this spending represents a clear threat to the economic future of our country. He has continued as well to try to hide the true costs of the wars by funding them with off-the-books supplemental spending bills, despite the fact that he campaigned against this very practice.
The President has escalated a war on Afghanistan in which rising civilian deaths and atrocities have become routine.
He has given the CIA even greater freedom of action to launch lethal drone strikes against civilian houses in Pakistan on mere assumption of some connection with Taliban or other organizations, despite the warning from the U.S. Ambassador in late 2009 -- revealed in a Wikileaks cable -- that such attacks could "destabilize" the Pakistani government, despite many reports that civilians, including children, are disproportionately victims, and despite the contention of the United Nations and many U.S. allies that this practice is illegal.
Obama has approved an increase in covert operations by CIA-controlled Afghan troops into Pakistan, and his administration has remained silent while the U.S. command in Afghanistan leaked to the New York Times plans for new Special Operations Forces raids into Pakistan aimed at Afghan Taliban targets.
The President has expanded the use of Special Operations Forces (SOF), operating in virtually total secrecy and without any accountability to Congress, in one country after another. SOF troops are presently in some 75 nations -- 15 more than when Obama took office.
President Obama has, on a later schedule than he campaigned on, finally reduced U.S. troop presence in Iraq. But he has not fully withdrawn U.S. combat forces from Iraq or ended U.S. combat there, his claims to have done so notwithstanding. His vice president has suggested, without correction by the President, the possibility of a U.S. military presence in the country even after the deadline for withdrawal under the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement, if only through the use of military contractors.
The Obama administration has announced plans to form an army of mercenary troops from private military contractors in Iraq which is to have its own air force and its own fleet of mine-resistant military vehicles. The plan includes continued contracts with the company formerly called Blackwater, despite the knowledge that it was guilty of atrocities against civilians in that country, and despite the openly declared opposition of the Iraqi government to such a continued role.
Obama has overseen increased weapons sales to foreign nations, and assisting in those sales has been a major function of his State Department. He has approved increased funding for work on nuclear weapons, even while supporting an arms control treaty. He has established a policy of potential nuclear first strike against Iran or North Korea.
President Obama has argued for the justness of war-making in widely watched speeches from the Oval Office and in Oslo, Norway, where he was accepting a Nobel Peace Prize. He has, in his Oval Office speech last August, defended false statements that took our nation into the current wars and false statements that have prolonged them.
The President has supported sanctions against Iran and Syria that punish the people, especially children, and not the leadership, of those countries. He has sent ships and missiles to Iran's border. He has risked hostilities with North Korea through the ongoing construction of new military bases in South Korea and provocative war games exercises. His administration has helped a military coup succeed in Honduras.
President Obama has sought to allow more Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories. He has protected Israel's killing of activists on a humanitarian aid ship, not even protesting at the murder of an unarmed American youth. He issued a presidential memorandum on October 25, 2010, giving U.S. approval for the use of child soldiers by Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen. He has backed Indonesian armed forces that assassinated civilian activists in late 2009. He has expanded the U.S. military presence in Colombia, Costa Rica, Haiti, Guam, Italy, and Diego Garcia, as well as overseeing an enormous military base construction project in Afghanistan.
President Obama has not closed the prison at Guantanamo Bay and continues to maintain a network of detention facilities in Afghanistan through which prisoners, according to the most recent information available, are still being subjected to harsh treatment. He has claimed the right to imprison people, including American citizens, indefinitely without charge or trial, thus further cementing in place the elimination of the rights of prisoners of war and the elimination of the right of habeas corpus for anyone, as well as the rights found in the Fourth through Eighth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The President has claimed the power of rendition. His CIA Director Leon Panetta and his senior advisor David Axelrod have asserted, without correction by the President, that the President maintains the power to torture. In the recent case of Gulet Mohamed, the Obama administration, for a time, claimed the power to forbid an American to reenter the country, absent any conviction or even any charge of a crime, and apparently collaborated with Kuwait to torture that American. The President has also openly claimed the power to order the assassination of Americans abroad. In Iraq, the U.S. military has continued to work with and protect from accountability an Iraqi military that is known to regularly use torture.
The President has expanded the use of warrantless spying. Under his leadership, the FBI has infiltrated peace groups and raided the homes of peace activists. It has set up and entrapped in terrorism charges people whose training and motivation came largely or even entirely from the FBI. He has supported the re-authorization of the PATRIOT Act, which strips away Americans' civil liberties.
President Obama, in direct violation of the Nuremberg Charter, a U.S. treaty commitment, has publicly instructed his Attorney General not to prosecute individuals responsible for crimes, including torture. His administration has worked hard to provide retroactive immunity to corporations engaged in warrantless spying and individuals engaged in sanctioning torture. He has kept secret a vast trove of documents, photos, and videos pertaining to prisoner abuse. He has advanced unprecedented claims of secrecy powers in defending the crimes of his predecessor. President Obama's White House has put great pressure on European states not to investigate or prosecute U.S. war crimes.
This president has restricted the release of the names of White House visitors and has pursued the prosecution and punishment of government whistleblowers more aggressively than any previous president. His administration is responsible for the cruel and unusual lengthy confinement in a 6' by 12' cell, prior to any trial, of alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning. His vice president, Joe Biden, has publicly labeled an Australian journalist, Julian Assange, a "terrorist." President Obama has used a private propaganda firm that had been exposed planting lies in Iraqi media, to screen potential embedded reporters for coverage of the U.S. military. He has used the military to restrict reporting by American journalists on an oil spill in American waters.
Perhaps most perilously, President Obama has claimed the right to engage in many of these activities without the authorization of Congress. He has even claimed the power first developed by his predecessor to rewrite new laws through the extra-Constitutional use of presidential signing statements. Expanded powers that are not opposed now will be far more difficult to oppose later with another president able to claim past precedent.
The President's own deficit commission recommended cuts of $100 billion to the military budget. The United States spends about $1 trillion each year on the military, through a variety of departments, and has spent over $1 trillion already on the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Over half of every U.S. dollar of income tax is going to war making. The Department of Defense budget alone is larger than the military expenditures of the next largest 16 militaries in the world combined. That budget could be cut by 85% and still be the largest in the world. In addition to the lessening of hostility toward our country that would result from a significant decrease in U.S. military presence around the world, by shifting our financial resources we could create jobs, green energy, top quality free education, public transportation and infrastructure. We could also end all talk of reducing our Social Security or health coverage. We intend to support public servants who put our money where it serves the public.
We are not concerned with whether President Obama is acting enthusiastically or reluctantly in pursuing a militaristic policy abroad and more repression of dissent at home. It matters little whether he is submitting to powerful forces or freely following his preferred course. We do not elect his soldiers or spies, his advisors, his campaign funders, or the owners of our major media outlets. We elect the president. We will not support his nomination for another term, and we believe that a large proportion of Americans who voted for him in 2008 will not do so again unless he reverses the most egregious policies to which we have referred -- especially by taking decisive steps to end the war on Afghanistan and to make deep cuts in the military and war budgets.
Some of those who have signed:
Nic Abramson, U.S. Boat to Gaza
Meredith Aby, MN Anti-War Committee
Elliott Adams, president, Veterans For Peace
Beth Adams, Leverett Peace Commission
Will Allen, author, The War on Bugs
Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson
Robert Anderson, political science professor, organizer, Stop the War Machine
Maria Allwine, Pledge of Resistance Baltimore
Vicki Andrews, Peace Circle - Grand Rapids MN
Jean Athey, coordinator of Peace Action Montgomery (MD)* and national board member, Peace Action*
Nellie Hester Bailey, Harlem Tenants Council & Black Agenda Report
Anna Baltzer, activist
Missy Beattie, activist and writer
Mark Bebawi, producer/host, The Monitor, KPFT
Medea Benjamin, cofounder, Code Pink*
Frida Berrigan, War Resisters League*
Toby Blome, activist, Bay Area Code Pink
William Blum, author of books on U.S. foreign policy
Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), Vice-President, Veterans For Peace
Roy Bourgeois, founder, School of the Americas Watch
Linda Boyd, activist
Lenni Brenner, author, Zionism in the Age of the Dictators
Jean Hay Bright, Maine's 2006 Democratic US Senate candidate
Elaine Brower, military mom, World Can't Wait
Mike Byerly, Alachua County Commissioner, Gainesville, Fla.
Scott Camil, President, Gainesville Florida Chapter, Veterans For Peace
Patty Casazza, 9/11 widow, former 9/11 Commission Family Steering Committee Member
Oskar Castro, board member, War Resisters League
Zach Choate, operation recovery field organizer, Iraq Veterans Against the War
David Cobb, Move To Amend coalition*
Jeff Cohen, author/media critic
William A. Collins, former mayor, Norwalk, CT, board member, Veterans for Peace
William John Cox, Voters Evolt!
Catarina Correia, video editor, coordinating committee member, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Bud Courtney, New York Catholic Worker
David Culver, publisher, Evergreene Digest
Ronnie Cummins, national director, Organic Consumers Association
Matthew W. Daloisio, Witness Against Torture*
Nicolas J S Davies, author, Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq
Elena Day, People's Alliance for Clean Energy
Laurie Dobson, director, EndUSWars.org
Frank Dorrel, publisher, Addicted To War
Jane Swift Dugdale, Main Line Peace Action
Sibel Edmonds, founder & director, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
Cherie Eichholz, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Roy Eidelson, past president, Psychologists for Social Responsibility
Pat Elder, Coordinating Committee, National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth*
Daniel Ellsberg, former State and Defense Dept. official, whistleblower of Pentagon Papers
Samuel S. Epstein, professor
Desiree Fairooz, Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice
Mike Ferner, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Joy First, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Robert Fitrakis, professor, editor
Lisa Fithian, convenor, United for Peace and Justice
Margaret Flowers, M.D., Physicians for a National Health Program*
Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report*
George Friday, Independent Progressive Politics Network
Sarah Fuhro, board member, Military Families Speak Out*
James Clay Fuller, retired newspaper editor
Monica Gabrielle, 9/11 widow, former 9/11 Commission Family Steering Committee Member
Bruce K. Gagnon, coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space*
Lila Garrett, radio host
Nate Goldshlag, national board member and treasurer, Veterans For Peace
Michelle Gross, president, Communities United Against Police Brutality
Thomas John Gumbleton, retired Roman Catholic Bishop
DeeDee Halleck, founder, Paper Tiger Tv, Deep Dish Network, emerita professor, UCSD
Connie Hammond, Progressive Peace Coalition, Columbus, Ohio
Kathy Hass, activist, Central Florida Code Pink
Bill Habedank, Veterans for Peace
Jim Haber, coordinator, Nevada Desert Experience
Susan Harman, Progressive Democrats of America*, Code Pink*
David Harris, Veterans for Peace
David Harris, draft resister, author
Leslie Harris, activist, Code Pink Greater Dallas*
Bob Heberle, former national board member, Veterans for Peace
Chris Hedges, author, Death of the Liberal Class
Dud Hendrick, Maine chapter president, Veterans for Peace
Steve Hendricks, author, A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial
Martha Hennessy, Catholic Worker
John Heuer, chair and national board member, NC Peace Action
Herbert J. Hoffman, vice president, Maine Veterans for Peace
Connie Hogarth, Cofounder WESPAC (Westchester Peoples Action Coalition)*
Will Hopkins, executive director, NH Peace Action, national board member, Veterans for Peace, member, IVAW
Lydia Howell, writer and host, "Catalyst", KFAI Radio
Sam Husseini, activist
Hugh Iglarsh, writer/editor
Rick Jahnkow, Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft*
Dahr Jamail, journalist/author
Mark C. Johnson, executive director, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Larry Kalb, former Democratic congressional candidate
Tarak Kauff, Veterans For Peace
Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence*
Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation
Joey King, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Howie Klein, publisher, DownWithTyranny.com
Michael Knox, professor and clinical psychologist
Georg Koszulinski, filmmaker
Joel Kovel, author, The Enemy of Nature, Overcoming Zionism
Andrew Kolin, author, State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W Bush
Steve Lane, activist
Jesse Lemisch, Historian, Emeritus Prof, John Jay Coll of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Tikkun/Network of Spiritual Progressives
Linda LeTendre, LMSW Christian Peace Witness
Dave Lindorff, editor, Thiscantbehappening.net
Erik Lobo, Veteran For Peace
Ralph Lopez, JobsForAfghans.org
Jan Lundberg, independent oil industry analyst
David MacMichael, Ph.D., former CIA analyst
Karen Malpede, playwrite
Bruce Marshall, ACT Independent: Antiwar Coalition for Truth, Independent
Sarah Martin, subpoenaed antiwar and international solidarity activist
Gene Marx, national board member, Veterans for Peace
Ethan McCord, IVAW, VFP, former army specialist from "collateral murder" video
Ray McGovern, former CIA analyst
Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party Nominee for U.S. President
David McReynolds, Socialist Party USA*
Bob Meola, War Resisters League National Committee* and Courage to Resist Organizing Collective*
Michael T. McPhearson, co-convenor United For Peace and Justice, former executive director of Veterans For Peace
Camilo E. Mejia, activist, resister
Linda Milazzo, activist, writer
Dede Miller, activist
Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor
Nick Mottern, Consumers for Peace
Gael Murphy, co-chair, Legislative Working Group, United for Peace and Justice*, co-founder, Code Pink*
Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy*
Tom Neilson, folk musician
Bruce Nestor, past president, National Lawyers Guild
Brad Newsham, activist
Georgianne Nienaber, activist and author
Stirling Newberry, former military contractor
Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Jeanne Olson, veteran, activist
Paul Ortiz, Veterans for Peace, author
Michael Parenti, author and activist
Cynthia Papermaster, director, National Accountability Action Network*
Judith Mahoney Pasternak, War Resisters League*
Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist
Marc Pilisuk, author, Who Benefits from Global Violence and War: Uncovering a Destructive System
Lewis Pitts, Legal Aid of NC
Gareth Porter, author and journalist
Bill Quigley, Center for Constitutional Rights and professor of law, Loyola University New Orleans*
Jesselyn Radack, former Department of Justice legal adviser
Garett Reppenhagen, chair of the board of directors, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Ward Reilly, advisory committee member, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, VVAW
Jill Richardson, author
Katie Robbins, national organizer, Healthcare-NOW!
Stephen Roblin, Pledge of Resistance Baltimore, Baltimore Indypendent Reader
David Rovics, singer/song writer
Coleen Rowley, retired FBI agent, one of TIME's 2002 Persons of the Year
Richard E. Rubenstein, author, Reasons to Kill: Why Americans Choose War
Stephanie Rugoff, project coordinator, War Criminals Watch
A.F. Saidy, M.D., Coalition for Peace in M.E. in L.A.
Nicole Sandler, radio host
Lisa Savage, Code Pink Maine*
Linda Schade, WikiLeaksisDemocracy.org
Bill Scheurer, PeaceMajority Report
Sue Serpa, coordinator, JobsForAfghans.org
Jamilla El-Shafei, Peace Action Maine, Code Pink
Joanne Sheehan, coordinator, War Resisters League New England
Robert Shetterly, artist, Americans Who Tell the Truth
Gar Smith, Environmentalists Against War
Michael Steven Smith, Law and Disorder Radio; board member, Center for Constitutional Rights*
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, Democracy Unlimited
Jeffrey St Clair, CounterPunch
John Stauber, author, Weapons of Mass Deception
Josh Stieber, conscientious objector
John Stockwell, former intelligence officer, author
David Swanson, WarIsACrime.org
Rev. James L. Swarts, professor, Veterans For Peace, Progressives In Action Peace Committee Chair
Dennis Trainor, Jr., NoCureForThat.org
Diane Turco, Cape Codders for Peace and Justice
Sue Udry, Defending Dissent Foundation*
Jose N. Vasquez, executive director, Iraq Veterans Against the War
Elizabeth De La Vega, former assistant U.S. attorney, author
Robert C. Walter, Peace Action Maine, associate member of Veterans for Peace
Harvey Wasserman, author
Janet Weil, military family member
Alison Weir, president, Council for the National Interest
Beverley Whipple, Fla. chapter leader, Military Families Speak Out
Paki Wieland, activist
S. Brian Willson, Viet Nam Veteran, activist
Diane Wilson, shrimper, activist, author, Veterans for Peace
Marcy Winograd, former Democratic congressional candidate
Ann Wright, US Army Reserve Colonel and former US diplomat
Bill Wylie-Kellermann, pastor, St Peter's Episcopal Church - Detroit
Dan Yaseen, Peace Fresno
Charles M. Young, contributing editor, Thiscantbehappening.net
Kevin Zeese, Voters For Peace
Maggie Zhou, Climate SOS
*for identification purposes only
Also check out the text and audio commentary from Black Agenda Report.
Promote this statement with a flyer: PDF.
The Imperial War Presidency
Our statement opposing Obama as long as he supports wars is spreading rapidly and being discussed by media outlets.
Here's The Guardian.