We in ComeHomeAmerica condemn our government’s war on Syria, prosecuted first with sanctions, then with covert support through “allies” like the dictatorial petro-monarchies of the Gulf and now with overt provision of arms for the anti-government forces and perhaps even a bombing campaign. We demand an immediate cessation of this bellicose policy by our government. Sanctions and military intervention in Syria are not in the interests of the American people; nor are they in the interests of the Syrian people.
We are far from alone in our opposition. Fully 70% of Americans are opposed to armed intervention in Syria – a number that has only increased over the months according to Pew polls. And yet the President and a majority in Congress favor intervention, revealing a crisis of our political institutions, which are far removed from the will of the people on this and many other issues.
We in ComeHomeAmerica are a very diverse group. We are traditional conservatives, progressive activists, libertarians of the Ron Paul type, old-fashioned Leftists, religious people appalled by war and non-religious who also harbor disgust over our numerous wars for over a century now. We are not pacifists, although there are pacifists in our ranks. But we do believe that any war must be defensive and a last resort, not a constant option to further the perceived interests of our elite. Our roots go deep in our country’s history, at least as far back as the Anti-Imperialist League, which was organized to oppose the war in the Philippines and included members as different as Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie, the wealthiest man in America.
We protest our government’s actions not simply because of the specific conditions in Syria but based on general principles. The same principles would have kept us from launching the recent wars on Iraq and Libya and many others over the past century and longer.
Our first principle is that war inflicts enormous damage on human beings and we are repulsed by it, a revulsion that is found in most human beings. Hence the war-makers try to keep their deeds hidden or covered in fantasies of glory. Secrecy in turn leads to suborning the press, a mainstay of our democracy.
Our second principle, the easiest one, is that we do not want to pay for these wars and the belligerent imperial colossus, including the DoD, CIA, NSA and others, costing about one trillion a year, roughly the sum that is raised in personal income taxes on April 15. Some of us simply want the money back and others want it to be spent on social needs. But while we differ on that, we agree that the money must no longer go to a war complex. On that we are firmly united.
A third principle is that the sovereignty of other nations is to be respected. Sovereignty is a concept introduced into international law to protect weak nations from powerful ones. The U.S. is presently the most powerful, and hence we have a special obligation to respect that principle and the Nuremberg principle that prohibits wars of aggression, which includes “wars of choice” or “pre-emptive wars.” A corollary to that is that U.S. foreign policy is not based on “human rights.” Unfortunately, “humanitarian” rationales are too often used to justify or disguise bellicose policies made for other reasons. We reject such rationales for wars of aggression.
A fourth principle is that an Empire is incompatible with liberty and democracy. The US has now become a worldwide Empire with more than 1200 military bases and outposts overseas. Every Empire must perforce be a military one, because it seeks to dominate others, which elicits resistance, and that in turn calls forth military oppression. The result is that others who could be friends turn into enemies; this is the “blowback” with which we have become so familiar over the last decade and more. Our own American Revolution is an example of a successful revolt against an empire. Furthermore, imperial designs can too readily lead to a global conflagration such as World War One. And an Empire is doubly dangerous, because in the end it is incompatible with democracy as citizens tire of wars and hence must be monitored and their opposition countered. The recent revelations about the extent of domestic spying by the NSA should bring that home to us once again.
We welcome those who agree with one or more of these principles to make common cause with us in ComeHomeAmerica. We cannot afford to let other differences separate us and hence allow agents of war to defeat us by the tactic of divide and conquer. We must join together. In the end our very survival depends on it.
The CHA Steering Committee:
Paul Buhle(WI), Retired Prof.; author; producer of radical, progressive comic books.
Doug Fuda(MA), Activist, Boston Chapter of CHA
Bill Kauffman(NY), Author, Ain’t My America
Angela Keaton(CA), Chair, Outright Libertarians; Operations Director, Antiwar.com
Dan McCarthy(VA), editor, The American Conservative
George O’Neill (FL), Co-founder of CHA
Coleen Rowley(MN), FBI Whistleblower; a Time Person of the Year, 2002
John V. Walsh,MD(MA), Neuroscience Prof.; writer for CounterPunch, DissidentVoice
Kevin Zeese (MD), Co-founder of CHA, PopularResistance.org (October2011.org)
Additional Signers (If you wish to add your name to this list, go to the CHA website)
Sam Smith, Progressive Review
David Swanson, author, War is a Lie; blog
David MacMichael, Former CIA analyst who resigned in protest, Founding member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
Murray Polner, Author, We Who Said No To War
Sheldon Richman Vice President, Future of Freedom Foundation.
Jeff Taylor, Associate Prof. of Political Science, Dordt College
David Henderson, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution
Dave Wagner, Co-author, Radical Hollywood