Saturday, July 6–With Major League Baseball’s decision to hold its 2019 All-Star game in Cleveland on Tuesday, July 9, I once again saw a golden opportunity to promote peace on a national–if not world stage–just as I was able to do three years ago when the Republican National Convention was held in Cleveland. Several baseball-related activities a few days before the All-Star game provided peace-promotion opportunities, particularly near the PlayBall Park held in the Huntington Convention Center on Lakeside Avenue, with outdoor activities nearby.[Read more…]
If you agree with our press statement below, contact your Senators and ask them to support S.1039 – Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act of 2019. Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or use this link from AFSC.
This statement by Don Bryant and Francis Chiappa was sent to the media on June 20, 2019
Cleveland Peace Action calls on the Trump Administration to reverse military escalations in the Gulf of Oman and vicinity, to cease its bellicose and dangerous rhetoric, and to either return to the bargaining table with Iran or opt back in to the Iran-US nuclear agreement. While Secretary of State Pompeo was swift to blame Iran for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last Thursday, saying “the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman…that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.” Yet there are at least three other proxy groups operating in the area that have such military capabilities: the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel. We should be wary of false intelligence as it has justified past wars.
Escalatory statements and actions from the Trump Administration raise the possibility of war, either by intention or miscalculation and accident. The Trump Administration is counting on the American public to be sufficiently outraged and to support a war. Europe and China are opposed to war in the region. Many, if not a majority in Congress, are wary of this march towards war and there are bills under consideration to prevent the Administration from initiating war. The American public might be less inclined towards war if they knew that the U.S. is taking sides in a regional conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia. And that we have taken the side of Saudi Arabia, whose regime is clearly more brutal and repressive than Iran’s.
The Trump Administration has been far too cozy with the Saudis, doing its bidding in the region. This has included withdrawing from the nuclear agreement, issuing economic sanctions on Iran, and now building up military forces in Iran’s backyard. These actions have only emboldened hard-liners in Iran, in mirror-image of U.S. policy, making war a real possibility.
It’s time to de-escalate tensions and focus instead on restraint and diplomatic solutions.
“Memorable” is perhaps the best word to describe this Memorial Day weekend, as I was able to promote peace four days in a row for the first time ever, as far as I can recall. Friday evening I greeted people heading to an Indians-Rays game at Progressive Field. A few folks said they liked my peace flag and I gave my traditional response: “I wish everyone did.” Some people ignored my “Hi” greeting while others responded in kind, even though they might not have appreciated my presence. One middle-aged man walking by said, “What’s with the peace flag?” I said, “We need more peace, civility and mutual respect in our society.” He was out of earshot before I could also mention two more attributes in short supply in our “civilized” society: “tolerance” and “compassion”. One man testily said, “You’re a disgrace to the flag!” which puzzled me, since I think he meant to say that I was a disgrace to my U.S. Army dress uniform because I was holding a peace flag. At any rate, I responded: “Thank you. Very nice. Very kind.”[Read more…]
Contact: Mark Weber – 216.870.1594 – [email protected]
Statement from Cleveland Peace Action on Provocative U.S. Actions Toward Venzuela and Iran
The United States is trying to orchestrate a coup to oust socialist President Nicholas Maduro of Venezuela and install a pro-U.S. regime headed by Juan Guaido. Guaido has already called for U.S. military intervention in Venezuela. He has declared himself to be “interim president” and openly courts a military attack on his country.
At the same time, the United States is dispatching warships to the Middle East to threaten Iran. Pressured by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, the U.S. government is weighing its military options. The Trump Administration has systematically alienated the government in Tehran beginning with the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear treaty negotiated during the Obama Administration.
Neoconservative foreign policy adviser John Bolton is championing BOTH regime change in Venezuela and an attack on Iran or Iranian interests.
Cleveland Peace Action demands that the United States keep its hands off Venezuela and that there be no war with Iran. #
For some 18 years or so, attorney John “Kiks” Kikol has done a very impressive job organizing an event on the last Sunday of April devoted to show support for our active military and for veterans. The first one I went to was around six years ago.It was too chilly that day to wear my vintage dress uniform, so I wore my 1966 U.S. Army field jacket issued to me at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I was surrounded by black leather clad motorcyclists whose attire was complemented by red-white -and blue star-spangled bandannas. I figured, well, for reasons of personal safety, I ought not unfurl my peace flag, allowing only the red and white stripes to show, certain the macho bikers would assume I was carrying an American flag.. I became even more resolute in my decision when “Kiks” mentioned at the microphone that when he saw people on Public Square years earlier protesting the war in Iraq, he wanted to run them over. Well, okay, that cemented the deal for me. I kept my peace flag furled. In subsequent years of the rally, however, I carried my unfurled flag while wearing my vintage Army duds and was greeted with stunned, but respectful silence. Some even came up to shake my hand and thank me for my service. Kiks never gave me any grief and over the past couple of years we have had pleasant conversations. He even treated me to lunch at the Landmark restaurant at W. 117th Street and Clifton Boulevard a few weeks ago. The lunch was subsequent to a surprising offer he made via e-mail to speak at today’s Rally For Troops.I was one of several speakers today, others including two Gold Star mothers who lost sons in our wars in the Middle East. Before and after the event, I again was met with stunned, albeit respectful silence–save for a comment made by a man after the conclusion of the rally. He said my speech was “disrespectful.” Here it is. Judge for yourself.
Thank you, Kiks, for inviting me to provide comments from the perspective of a Vietnam veteran who also is a member of Veterans for Peace. When I was drafted in 1966, I was what you might call a “baby hawk” as opposed to the aging, elderly dove that I am today. I softly supported the Vietnam War, accepting our government’s claim that communist North Vietnam was trying to take over South Vietnam; South Vietnam was our ally and therefore we had a moral obligation to defend South Vietnam.
Over the years, however, I came to realize our government manipulates us with alarmist, fear-mongering rhetoric. Political leaders at both ends of the spectrum are guilty of such unconscionable manipulation. For example, President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, intimated in a speech in the 1960s that if we did not defeat the communists in Vietnam, we would be fighting them here. Of course, that did not happen.
Here’s another example of alarmist, fear mongering rhetoric. President George W. Bush, a Republican, lied about Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction. Excuse me, Mr. Bush. Please look in the mirror. You YOU are the one with Weapons of Mass Destruction.
When we kill people and destroy property with our WMDs we generate more hatred for the United States among survivors of our attacks and make it very easy for terrorist leaders to recruit new terrorists. Revenge REVENGE is the operative word in this tragic scenario. As we all know, of course, revenge is incompatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. He would not be happy with those taking the lives of many of His father’s other children.
Survivors of our attacks want revenge, just as WE wanted revenge after we were attacked on 9/11, which led to a dramatic increase in military enlistments. We have been sucked into a never-ending extremely costly and bloody downward spiral. Well, on that happy note, I’d like to offer a somewhat whimsical idea that I think would be very effective in generating good will for us in the Middle East among survivors of our attacks who currently hate us.
Here’s the idea: Have transport planes parachute drop large pallets enveloped in clear plastic with the words: “United States of America” on the plastic, with the pallets landing in populated areas. And what would be on those pallets? Hundreds and hundreds of boxes…of Girl Scout COOKIES!!. Oh, YEAH!! Who doesn’t love Girl Scout cookies? Everyone loves Girl Scout cookies!! And I’m positive that would include our sisters and brothers in war-torn Middle Eastern countries. We would convert survivors of our attacks from haters of the United States into lovers of the United States.
Well, enough of the whimsy. I’d like to finish on a somber, serious note. My heart goes out to Gold Star parents, especially ESPECIALLY Gold Star mothers, since they are the ones who bring new life into this world. I think we would all agree, regardless of our opinions on war and other social issues, that losing a child is a parent’s absolute worst WORST nightmare. I am so, so sorry for your loss. Thank you for listening, and thanks again, John, for inviting me.