Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Averting a train wreck: what we need to do to avoid war with Iran....

During this past week I attended the Representative Meeting of Pacific Yearly Meeting and felt led to share a message about Iran, based on the Advice and Queries which were read during meeting for worship. One of the advices said: "Inaction is sometimes a form of action." I recalled the statement of MLK at Riverside Church in 1968: "Silence [on the question of Vietnam War] is complicity." I shared my concern that the US and Israeli are racing towards war with Iran like a train out of control, much like the scene from the movie "Hugo." It feels as if a train wreck is imminent and we need to do to voice our concern about this disaster while it is still avoidable.

One of the things we need to do is call Senator Feinstein's office, as recommended by FCNL:

Next week, your senators could be asked to vote on dangerous legislation that increases the risk of war with Iran. Please call your senators TODAY using FCNL’s special toll free number, 1-855-68 NO WAR (1-855-686-6927) and urge them to oppose Senate Resolution 380, the Casey-Graham-Lieberman resolution. (See letter below).

Here's what members of the Peace and Social Order Committee recommend:
What can we do to prevent a war with Iran

Members of Peace and Social Order Committee gathered together to consider the question of what we can do to prevent a war with Iran. Israel has threatened to bomb suspected nuclear sites in Iran, and the United States has also made it clear that such attacks are not “off the table.” Many experts see parallels between the current US/Iraeli approach to Iran and the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq. Some are predicting that a military attack on Iran might take place prior to the US elections.

We therefore make the following recommendations to Friends in hopes that some of you might feel led to take action or to bring forward a minute for consideration at the PYM annual session.

As Friends, we oppose taking punitive actions, such as sanctions and preemptive strikes, against Iran based on the presumption that it may be developing nuclear weapons. We also oppose covert actions, such as the assassination of Iran’s nuclear scientists or funding opposition groups to bring about regime change in Iran. We feel that such actions are tantamount to war and will destabilize the Middle East rather than promote an enduring and just peace.

As Friends, we urge our elected officials to engage in diplomatic efforts rather than military threats when dealing with Iran and other nations that some define as our enemies. We support taking steps to insure that the Middle East become a WMD-free zone, as recommended in a 1974 U.N. General Assembly resolution.

We also call upon Friends to dispel the poisonous stereotypes about Iran and Islam that are leading many people to believe that war is not only necessary, but inevitable. We recommend that Friends read books and films about Iran, reach out to their Muslim neighbors, and share truths about Islam and Iran as widely as possible. The vast majoirty of Muslims here in the United States and around the world are peace-loving, and almost all Muslims who have to emigrated to the US believe in democracy and religious freedom.

We deplore human rights violations and persecutions of religious minorities that take place in some Muslim and other countries. We stand in solidarity with those who are seeking to promote human rights and religious freedom using nonviolent means.

Actions recommended:

Ask the clerk of our Yearly Meeting to send a letter to elected officials based on the first paragraph of this minute.

Encourage monthly meetings to do likewise.

Organize book discussion groups and film showings about Iran.

Explore other creative ways to challenge the demonization of Islam and to emphasize the humanity of Iranians.

Jeff Kroeber, Lucia Van Diepen, and Anthony Manousos

March 1, 2012

FCNL Letter from Diane Randall

Dear Friends,

Next week, your senators could be asked to vote on dangerous legislation that increases the risk of war with Iran. Please call your senators TODAY using FCNL’s special toll free number, 1-855-68 NO WAR (1-855-686-6927) and urge them to oppose Senate Resolution 380, the Casey-Graham-Lieberman resolution.
Here are talking points you can use.

My name is _______ and I’m calling from _________

I'm asking that Senator _______ vote “no” on Senate Resolution 380, because it will increase the chances of a U.S. war with Iran. I also ask that Senator _____ speak out publicly against this resolution on the Senate floor.

Thank you.

Why Is This Resolution Dangerous?

It undermines diplomacy. As tensions between the U.S. and Iran escalate, Congress should be supporting the vigorous pursuit of all diplomatic options available to resolve the crisis and avert a war. Instead, S. Res. 380 puts U.S. negotiators under intense political pressure, undercutting their ability to reach a diplomatic solution, which heightens the potential war.

It is a disguised effort to allow for a war with Iran. S. Res. 380 effectively calls for a military attack on Iran when Iran when it reaches "nuclear weapons capability.”

Who Agrees?

National security and nonproliferation experts in the United States and Israel have warned against this resolution:

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell: “This resolution…is effectively a thinly-disguised effort to bless war.”

Colin Kahl, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East: “I think that all of us in this town need to be very careful of taking positions… that box in our negotiators from being able to find a diplomatic solution....That's what concerns me about the resolution.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA), Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee: “I think diplomacy should have an opportunity to work without getting involved in political discussions about a resolution.”

See who else is opposing this resolution

Why Is it Critical for YOU to Call Now?

Your senators are under intense pressure to support this resolution. This weekend, thousands of people across the country and in Washington will be lobbying for this legislation as part of the American Israel Public Affairs Council’s annual policy conference. Senators need to hear that diplomacy with Iran is the best way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and support long-term peace and security for all people in the Middle East, including Israel.

Senators could vote on this resolution on the Senate floor as early as next week. Please make sure your senators know that many of their constituents oppose this dangerous resolution.

Please Spread the Word

Senate offices need to hear from you and others in your community this week and early next week. After you make your call, please

Email 5 of your friends and ask them to call, or send a note to your community email list

Take this message to your meeting, church, or other group this weekend and ask people to call on Monday or Tuesday next week. Bring copies of this message or make cards with the phone number on it so you can pass them out.

Post this status update on Facebook:

Say no to war with Iran: Senators will soon vote on dangerous legislation that increases the risk of war. Call your senators today at 1-855-68 NO WAR (1-855-686-6927) and urge them to oppose Senate Resolution 380. Find out more:

Tweet the phone number to your followers

Thank you,

Diane Randall

Executive Secretary

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