AND SOCIAL JUSTICE CENTER STATEMENT
ON PROPOSED SYRIA ATTACK
the president is proposing is an act of war, and illegal since
international law says only the UN can intervene militarily. If the
US accepts that the use of chemical weapons is a violation of
international law, any response by the US also has to stay within a
legal framework. Instead of further escalating the conflict by an
illegal war, we urge the government to use all available means to
press for a thorough investigation through the International Criminal
Court in The Hague.
we oppose any military attack on Syria because:
It will not help end the civil war, but only make it more deadly -
even the refugee crisis has grown worse in recent weeks because of
the fear of US bombs. And it is sure to make the brutal dictator
Assad seem like a hero. A US military attack will make it much harder
to pursue negotiations toward a ceasefire and thus only prolong the
civil war. We should listen to members of the Syrian opposition who
oppose US military intervention.
There are non-violent ways to help the refugees and stop the
violence: We should pressure Russia and Iran to stop supplying Assad
with more deadly weapons, and we should pressure Turkey, Saudi
Arabia, and the Gulf dictators to stop supplying the rebels with more
deadly weapons. We should support the efforts of joint United
Nations/Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to start a political
process. And we can increase our aid for the refugees.
The US has no moral standing to act without the UN in this: the US
used chemical warfare itself by using depleted uranium and white
phosphorus on Falluja, Reagan defended Saddam Hussein when he used
poison gas on Iranian troops in 1984, and Iraqi towns in 1988, and
Vietnam is still recovering from napalm and Agent Orange. The US and
the UK are both producers and sellers of these very chemical weapons.
The US continues to refuse to sign the ban on land mines, and is even
now selling 641 million worth of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia.
There is enormous danger that bombs will cause dispersal of the
terrible chemical weapons and make them even harder to identify and
control. This happened in the 1991 US attack on Iraq and US soldiers
and Iraqis are still suffering the effects.
In addition, we like most people in the US, want to see our resources
going to rebuilding our country and fixing our massive environmental
and social problems.
Statement of the Palestine Study Group
We are a secular group that includes Christians, Muslims and Jews who wish to see a Middle East where Palestinians and Israeli Jews can live in peace and freedom. We take no position on what form this will take, whether two states or one state. We do call for the end of the occupation of the land conquered by Israel in 1967: the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. We do call for equal rights in Israel. We also call for acknowledging the right of Palestinians to return to the homes and villages they lived in before the expulsions of 1947-49.
This is not a call to expel Israelis who have moved into the homes of the 750,000 Palestinians that were expelled, or to destroy what has been built over the remains of those 500 villages. But we do call for recognizing that this remains an injustice under the internationally recognized right of return of refugees. We believe that a compromise solution must be found that is acceptable to the Palestinians.
We advocate for the Palestinians and the Israeli movement against the occupation. We reject the idea of "balance": The occupier is Israel and it is Israel, with the fourth largest military in the world, that can remove the settlements, remove its soldiers, and end the blockade of Gaza and the West Bank.
We reject the idea that violence can solve this conflict, the violence of those resisting occupation or the vastly greater violence of the military occupier. We support the ongoing non-violent movement of Palestinians against the separation wall and other manifestations of occupation such as checkpoints, night raids, imprisonment of juveniles, and unchecked settler violence against Palestinian villages.
We urge our government to end military aid to Israel, to stop giving tax exemptions to Americans who fund the settlements, and to stop vetoing UN resolutions that call for Israel to uphold and follow basic international law.
Israel has continued for 45 years to expand the settlements, steal the water, destroy agricultural resources like livestock and olive trees, imprison and sometimes murder Palestinian protesters and political leaders, and generally make life difficult for all but Jews in Palestine. Since Israel gets away with this with almost complete impunity, we are left with boycott, divestment and sanctions, as well as education, as the main non-violent means of exerting pressure to lift the siege on the Palestinians.
The Wichita Peace and Social Justice Center supports a full and immediate withdrawal of U.S. military presence from Afghanistan. We believe strongly that democracy is a system of government that works best when responsibility for creating, benefiting from, and comprising citizen-voice is firmly in the hands of the citizens of that democracy. In short we believe that no true democracy can emerge outside of America if aided by American military might.
While the Peace Center disagrees with some norms of Afghan society,
particularly related to the treatment of women, we remain convinced that
violence, force, and oppressive military occupation model precisely the
values we would like to see diminished there and throughout the world. We endorse non-military nonviolent tactics for shifting norms and empowering Afghani female and male citizens.