Open letter opposing the San Diego City Council’s resolution which dramatizes the effects of the military spending “cuts” on local economy

Dear Councilmember Sherri Lightner,

I am writing to express my disappointment at your efforts to dramatize the potentially negative effects the reductions in military spending authorized by the US Congress could have on the San Diego economy and for proposing the corresponding resolution in the City Council to oppose them.

Perhaps, you are not familiar with the study conducted by the Political Economy Research Institute titled “The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities”. This study concludes that $1 billion spent on domestic priorities will create substantially more jobs within the U.S. economy than would the same $1 billion spent on the military: 1.5 times more in Clean Energy and 2.4 times more in Education. Therefore, spending shifted from the defense to the domestic sectors of the economy will actually create jobs not the other way around.

There is nothing devastating about the proposed cuts in the Military budget: Military spending has sharply risen since the beginning of the War on Terrorism, from $294b in FY 2000 to $716b in FY 2012 (Budget of the United States Government: Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2013, Table 6.1). If mandated cuts go through, military spending will amount to $600b in FY2014, which is still more than was spent on “National Defense” in 2006 at the height of the war in Iraq.

It is important to support the 75% of the people in the local economy not just the 25% working for the military economy.

In light of the above mentioned information could you notify me whether or not you changed your position on the issue and if not why?

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Please copy and paste this letter and send it to Sherri Lightner or your other Councilmember, because the City Council approved the resolution unanimously.

SDVFP Podcast Episode 2 – Ben Griffin, Veterans For Peace UK

Episode length: 16:52

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Ben Griffin, Founder, Veterans For Peace United Kingdom

In the second episode of the San Diego Veterans for Peace Podcast, SDVFP member Patrick Gokey speaks with Ben Griffin, founder of the United Kingdom Chapter of Veterans For Peace.

Ben served in the British Army and joined the Parachute Regiment in 1997. He served in Northern Ireland, Macedonia and Afghanistan before joining the Special Air Service in 2003. He deployed to Iraq in 2005 as part of a joint US/UK task force based in Baghdad. While at home on leave he refused to return to Iraq and was discharged from the British Army. Ben has been active in the anti-war movement since late 2005 and is an organizer with the United Kingdom chapter of Veterans For Peace which he helped form in 2011.

VFP UK Website

Questions or comments? Please leave your thoughts on this podcast below!

Intro/Outro Music Credit: 6 a.m taxi (Jahzzar) / CC BY-SA 3.0

Congressional Visits Report: No War On Iran

This morning at 11:00 hours, myself, Jack Doxey and Jim Brown meet with Ryan Peters, Veterans Affairs Specialist in the office of Rep. Darrell Issa. We focused on our opposition to war against Iran and pointed out the various reasons why pursuing war was an act of folly. We also focused on, and urged Mr. Peters to encourage Rep. Issa to support H.R. 4173 which calls for the president to appoint a “special envoy” to Iran and calls for a diplomatic resolution to the current stand off between the US, Israel, the 5+1 nations and Iran over the issue of the development of nuclear power. We told Mr. Peters that VFP opposes sanctions because the people being harmed are innocent Iranians. Jack requested that we hear back from Mr. Peters within the next two weeks as to Issa’s position on H.R. 4173 and whether he would support a diplomatic solution rather than going to war with Iran. Our meeting with Mr. Peters, marine veteran, lasted in excess of 30 min and he appeared to support our position. He also indicated that he thought Issa would support H.R. 4173 as it is presently written. We had a opportunity to cover all the issues on our agenda and were given plenty of time to do so.

Last Thursday, Sept. 6, Jack Doxey and I met with Jimmy Thomas. legislative and military assistant to Rep. Duncan Hunter. Mr. Thomas, a marine veterans spoke to us by conference call from Hunter’s office in Washington D.C. We were given ample time to set forth our position regarding the current standoff with Iran and H.R. 4173 along the same lines as mentioned above. While Mr. Thomas agreed that diplomacy was the best option, he was quick to point out that Israel was a strong and key ally of the US and that undoubtedly, Hunter would support coming to the aid of Israel should they take action against Iran, that the US could take preemptive action against Iran, that before the US engage in direct talks with Iran that they must improve their record on civil rights. We responded that there should be no preconditions for try to avert war with Iran and that the country with less than a stiller record on civil rights was Afghanistan. We also requested that within two weeks we hear back from them on Hunter’s position with respect to H.R. 4173.

On Sept 18 at 10:00 hours we will meet with representatives of Brian Bilbray. If you are a constituent of Bilbray and would like to join us please contact Jack Doxey (doxeyassoc@san.rr.com) or myself (bdlvfp@gmail.com).

I want to thank Jack Doxey for setting up these visits and for providing excellent documentation for us and for the congressional staffs that we met. Also, thanks to Jim Brown for adding powerful comments on our visit to Issa’s office today.

Talking Points for Meeting with Congressional Representatives Regarding Iran

Prepared by the VFP Iran Working Group.

Iran has not historically been an aggressive state in modern times, having invaded and occupied no other state for over 250 years.

Numerous retired U.S. military general staff have publicly stated that Iran poses no threat to the United States.
 
Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), allows regular inspections of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency, has formally renounced nuclear weapons, and agreed in March 2012 to six-party talks and permission for IAEA inspectors to visit its key military research site.
 
Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful energy production.
 
According to the principle of self-determination established by Article 55 of the UN Charter, no nation has the right to engage in covert or overt aggression, or interference with the internal affairs of other nations, including Iran, whose policies and conduct are in compliance with international law.
 
The government of Israel — a state with an undeclared and formidable nuclear arsenal that has refused to sign the NPT or allow IAEA inspections despite a formal IAEA request in September 2009 — has no right to dictate nuclear conditions to any other state.
 
As American citizens who have seen U.S.-supported police states abroad in violation of Article 55(c) of the UN Charter, we regrets and apologize for the suffering caused to the Iranian people by covert U.S. operations in 1953 that deposed Iran’s democratically elected president, Mohammed Mossadeq, and subsequently installed Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi who subjected the Iranian people to 25 years under a brutal police state.
 
As American citizens who have witnessed interference by the U.S. government in other states in violation of UN Charter Articles 1(2) and 2(4) that establish “the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples” and prohibit “the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state,” we are strongly opposed to the unjust, illegal and unnecessary trade and banking sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States. These sanctions have already caused a great amount of suffering for the Iranian people.

Article VI of the United States Constitution defines our treaty obligations, which include the United Nations Charter, as “the Supreme Law of the Land,” thereby establishing the above-cited UN Charter violations as Constitutional violations as well.
 
As American veterans who have seen the horrors of military violence inflicted by our country and its allies in violation of UN Charter Articles 2(3) and 2(4), which require member states “to settle international disputes by peaceful means” and “refrain from the threat or use of force,” we are alarmed at U.S. and Israeli efforts to intimidate the Iranian people with threats of military attack.
 
From these positions grounded in the UN Charter and United States Constitution, we oppose the U.S. government economic sanctions against Iran, U.S. government threats of military attack upon Iran, and any U.S. government support of Israel in preparing or launching such an attack.

We are urging you, as a member of U.S. Congress, to actively oppose the sanctions and threat of war by against Iran by U.S. and Israeli governments.

Action: Contact Congress via FCNL.