Mountain View Voices For Peace
Voces de Mountain View Por la Paz

Mr. President, Bring ALL The Troops Home!

United for Peace and Justice on the revised Afghanistan plan

June 23, 2011

President Obama last night announced token U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. He plans to remove 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan this year and 20,000 next year, leaving 70,000 U.S. troops, plus NATO allies and contractors making record profits, to fight on until 2014.

He continued to maintain the same old justifications for the war, saying that we’re there because of 9/11 and to get Al Qaeda. Offering no new diplomatic initiative, he continued to insist that the Taliban must surrender before it can enter talks.

He made clear that he intends to continue the drone attacks that are enraging the population of Pakistan, and carry on the U.S. role as the world’s policeman, albeit with “targeted strikes” rather than “large armies,” and with international allies.

Obama called for “nation building here at home” and investments in innovation, infrastructure and clean energy. But such enticing calls are likely to remain hollow; that giant sucking sound is our tax dollars being wasted on U.S. military spending in Afghanistan and around the world.

Despite our impatience, we take heart that the tide is turning. Today’s conversation is about how many troops to withdraw, not about how many to send, as it was only two years ago. The peace movement’s steady work to turn public opinion against the war is finding a receptive audience. In 2011, only 12% of the public opposed U.S. intervention in Afghanistan. Today, 64% see the war as not worth fighting. There is massive discontent in Congress over the Afghanistan and Libyan wars. The U.S. Conference of Mayors this week passed a resolution to Bring Our War Dollars Home.

The President wants to have it both ways. He knows that his supporters (and most independents and, increasingly, Republicans) hate this war. He knows the U.S. still has 14 million still unemployed, that state and local governments are cutting back essential services, and that 2/3 of U.S. corporations pay no federal taxes. He has not yet shown a willingness to take on the Pentagon and the military-industrial-Congressional complex that profits from war, but he can no longer completely ignore the people’s voice. We need to insist on a full and complete withdrawal from the disastrous Afghanistan war and on redirecting a significant chunk of the military budget to fund jobs, education, health care, and the environment.

Take action today!

  • Call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111.
  • Call your member of Congress. Ask him or her to vote for Barbara Lee’s amendment to the FY2012 defense appropriation, and to vote against the appropriation bill itself, which contains full funding for the Afghanistan war as well as many other excessive and wasteful military projects.
  • Join or organize a vigil or demonstration today or this weekend in your town. Let people know that the token reduction in troop levels is not nearly enough.
  • Write a letter to the editor commenting on Obama’s speech. A sample letter and a quick way to send one is available here.
  • Take UFPJ's post-speech Poll: Click Here
  • Donate to UFPJ!

    -- UFPJ Afghanistan Working Group

Taxpayers in the city of Mountain View, California will pay $213.6 million for proposed Department of Defense budget for FY2012.

For the same amount of money, the following could be provided:
  • 144,122 Children Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
  • 2,774 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
  • 2,804 Firefighters for One Year OR
  • 24,315 Head Start Slots for Children for One Year OR
  • 75,805 Households with Renewable Electricity - Solar Photovoltaic for One Year OR
  • 202,148 Households with Renewable Electricity-Wind Power for One Year OR
  • 22,518 Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for One Year OR
  • 22,518 Military Veterans Receiving VA Medical Care for One Year OR
  • 73,702 People Receiving Low-Income Healthcare for One Year OR
  • 2,288 Police or Sheriff's Patrol Officers for One Year OR
  • 25,570 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
  • 38,484 Students receiving Pell Grants of $5550
Visit National Priorities Project to see the costs and tradeoffs for other cities and states.

Mountain View Voices for Peace holds demonstration against the war and occupation in Afghanistan and Pakistan


End the Af-Pak War

On Friday, December 4, 2009, just days after President Obama announced that he will escalate the wars by sending 30,000 additional troops, plus thousands of additional private contractors, MVVP staged a vigil in Mountain View on the corner of El Camino Real and Castro St.

The message was clear: money and resources are needed in America for healthcare, education, and to fix the economic situation; no more blood and money for war, drone attacks against civilians, and violations of other nations' sovereignty.

See photos from the vigil here


US Mayors to Obama: Bring War Money Home! Ban the Bomb!

ByGar Smith - The Berkeley Daily Planet
Wednesday June 22, 2011

'That we would build bridges in Baghdad and Kandahar and not Baltimore and Kansas City, absolutely boggles the mind.'
-- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa

BALTIMORE (At its annual meeting in Baltimore on June 20, 2011, the US Conference of Mayors passed two historic resolutions. One called on Washington to end of our current wars to "bring … war dollars home to meet vital human needs." The other, introduced by Oakland Mayor Jean Quan on behalf of Mayors for Peace, called for nuclear disarmament, which would free billions of dollars to address unemployment in America’s cities. 

The last time the USCM issued an “anti-war” proclamation was during the height of the Vietnam War. The resolution came at a critical time — with President Obama preparing to announce the scale and pace of his promised withdrawal from Afghanistan, the House of Representatives considering amendments to block funding for the Libya War, and Dennis Kucinich and nine other congress members filing suit against the White House in an attempt to challenge to America’s costly military adventures. 

It was in 1971, that the conference passed a resolution demanding an end to the war in Vietnam. The resolution was introduced by San Leandro Jack Maltester. Although the resolution was vigorously opposed by Richard Nixon and many USCM delegates, it ultimately passed with the backing of the mayors of Chicago and New York. The new anti-war resolution, submitted by mayor Kitty Piercy of Eugene, Oregon, calls for redirecting $126 billion in military spending to domestic needs. "Our city has had to cut $20 million from our budget in the last three years," Piercy explained. "Our children and families long for, and call for, a real investment in the future of America.” 

The USCM may prove the Pentagon’s biggest nemesis. In addition to calling for an end to US wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, the USCM (whose mayors represent cities with populations over 30,000) also passed a resolution (sponsored by Mayors for Peace) that instructs President Obama to join leaders of the other nuclear weapon states to implement the United Nations Secretary-General's 5-point plan to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons, by the year 2020. The resolution further calls on Congress to terminate funding for modernization of the Pentagon’s nuclear weapons complex and nuclear weapons systems. (Simply cutting nuclear weapons spending to pre-Cold War Levels, would free billions of dollars that could be redirected to meet the urgent needs of cities.) 

Read the full article: http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2011-06-22/article/38029

 

Obamas with Karen Meredith in Arlington

Well-known Mountain View peace activist at Memorial Day ceremony meets president


Mountain View Voice
June 9, 2011
President Barack Obama joined Mountain View resident Karen Meredith at her son's grave at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day. Meredith, who makes an annual trip to toast her son at his gravesite, met with the president and First Lady Michelle Obama, who stopped by while visiting with soldiers' families. Her son, Lt. Ken Ballard, was killed in Iraq on Memorial Day in 2004. Photo by Hilarie Huley.
President Obama and Karen Meredith First Lady and Karen Meredith