Antiwar Letter to Obama vs. Bush 'Longer War' Pact

Clergy, Human Rights and Peace Leaders Letter to President-Elect Obama Opposing the Bush Pact with Iraq. Nov. 5, 2008 Dear President-Elect Obama, We are deeply moved to address you as our nation's first African-American president and, we proudly note, the first president whose campaign began with a pledge to an anti-war rally. Your courageous speech in October 2002, provided the rationale momentum that led to victory in Iowa and other Democratic primaries, and we still applaud you for that stand. We write amidst this exciting week to urge your immediate attention and opposition to the so-called Status of Forces Agreement on Iraq being prepared in secret negotiations by the outgoing Bush Administration. The current United Nations authorization ends December 31st, making it imperative that you take leadership even before being sworn in. The proposed agreement is a transparent attempt to circumvent Congress and formally bind your Administration to a war and occupation that far exceeds your stated commitment to a 16 month withdrawal of our combat troops. As your own website specifically states, any agreement should include a commitment to begin withdrawing our troops and avoiding any permanent bases. We also believe that thousands of Iraqi detainees should be treated according to human rights norms, or released in the absence of charges or evidence. You also have committed to a role for Congress in affirming any agreement. Already the Bush administration and Pentagon are threatening "consequences" if the Iraqi parliament fails to endorse this pact. We believe instead that you should signal your intention to abide by your pledge and work with the Congress immediately to formulate an agreement consistent with your pledge to end this war as rapidly as possible. We propose that you include the withdrawal of all American forces, including trainers and advisers caught in a sectarian crossfire, as recommended by all peace and justice organizations as well as such Washington think tanks as the Center for American Progress. In place of this counterinsurgency war. we recommend an immediate diplomatic surge, including talks with Iran, as the only alternative to the continuing quagmire in Iraq which now costs our taxpayers some ten billion dollars per month, puts lives needlessly at risk, and stains our national honor. We realize you will be hearing from all sorts of advocates for prolonging the occupation by one means or another. We urge you to keep the faith with the voices of those who put you on the road to the presidency, by implementing your pledge to end the war in 2009. TOM HAYDEN, Progressives for Obama ARIEL DORFMAN, Author, Human Rights Leader MICHAEL RATNER, President, Center for Constitutional Rights REV. GEORGE HUNSINGER, Princeton Theological Seminary STANLEY K. SHEINBAUM, Los Angeles FRANCES ANDERSON, Coordinator, 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows JEAN STEIN, New York REV. JOHN COBB, Claremont Theological School DOMINIQUE DI PRIMA REV. ED BACON, Rector, All Saints Church, Pasadena REV. RICHARD BUNCE, Interfaith Communities United for Peace and Justice TIM GOODRICH, Co-Founder, Iraq Veterans Against the War RABBI ALLEN FREEHLING, Executive Director, Human Relations Commission, City of LA DAVE ROBINSON, Executive Director, Pax Christi ANNE MILLER, New Hampshire Peace Action VERNON NAFFIER, President, Progressive Coalition of Central Iowa FRANK COWNIE, Mayor, Des Moines, Iowa PETER LAARMAN, Executive Director, Progressive Christians Uniting PATRICIA KROMMER, CSJ ELAINE KATZENBERGER, Publisher, City Lights Books ROBERT NAIMAN, Just Foreign Policy REV. JAMES CONN, United Methodist Church Urban Ministry LESLIE CAGAN, executive director, United for Peace and Justice MEDEA BENJAMIN, Cofounder, Global Exchange / CODEPINK ...and hundreds more, still signing -------------------------------- November 17,, 2008 Dear Congressman Delahunt and Committee Members, This is a follow-up letter to the petition from over one hundred clergy, human rights and peace activists opposing the so-called security pact between the United States and the US-funded Baghdad regime. In no way does the Bush Administration represent the peace aspirations of the American people, as expressed in democratic elections in 2006 and 2008. Nor can the Iraqi regime be considered genuinely independent and representative since it was installed, funded, armed and advised by our occupation force. The Baghdad regime fears the expressed opinion of the Iraqi public, registered in many surveys, favoring US withdrawal in less than 18 months. The current draft agreement would extend the timeline for American troop withdrawals until 2011, twice the 16 month timetable promised by President-elect Barack Obama. While it would remove American troops from Iraqi cities by mid-2009, it appears to leave a permanent presence for advisers, trainers, counter-terrorism units and their support forces. The proposed pact circumvents the principle of Congressional assent, attempts to bind the future administration and Congress, and could be the subject of prolonged dispute in the courts. Though rarely mentioned, the pact would leave in power a regime which is a human rights violator under Leahy standards, holding as many as 25,000 Iraqis in virtual preventive detention in addition to 20,000 still held by American forces, most of them without charges or evidence against them, in conditions of systemic abuse and even torture. Our new president and Congress must take responsibility for the sectarian gulag being left behind by the outgoing administration. Any negotiated settlement of the Iraq War must assure that these detainees, those held by the Iraqis as well as the Americans, are released, rehabilitated and protected from further sectarian abuse and violence. [See Human Rights Watch letter, April 28, 2008] To summarize: any security pact must have congressional consent; any agreement should include a timeline for American troop withdrawal beginning immediately in February 2009, and ending in no more than 16 months; any agreement should phase out American advisers and trainers and prohibit permanent US bases in Iraq; any agreement should include enforceable human rights protections for the 40-50,000 detainees at the mercy of the US-funded, US-trained Iraqi police and prison services. Sincerely, TOM HAYDEN

Sponsor

Ad Hoc Committee to Stop the Bush War Pact 10536 Culver Blvd #H2 Culver City CA 90232 Contact: Emily Louise Walker 310-559-9522 - messages 714-307-1737 - cell

Links

http://progressivesforobama.blogspot.com http://progressivesforobama.net http://stopfundingtorture.com

Discussion

No comments yet.

join the discussion

Recent signatures

  • username

    Judith LeBlancUnited States

    5 years ago
  • username

    John WilbornUnited States

    5 years ago
  • username

    David HamiltonUnited States

    5 years ago
See more

Petition highlights

There are no highlights yet.