April 2, 2012
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Long Island Office
155 Pinelawn Road
Suite 250 North
Melville, NY 11747
Dear Senator Gillibrand,
In behalf of the veterans and their families, I would like to thank you for your helpful and supportive booklet “Veterans Guide to Benefits and Opportunities.” Like you, we are very concerned about the dire physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual injuries suffered by our Service Men, Women and veterans consequent to their multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like you, we are also concerned that Servicemen, Women and veterans receive timely and quality services to help them to recover from the horrible experiences of war.
Those of us who know war’s horror understand that war must not be entered into lightly, that the course of war cannot be accurately predicted (Iraq was not a “cakewalk”), and that sending our men and women into harm’s way must remain a last resort and only in behalf of a just cause and achievable goals. We also realize, though we often think that war’s initiators do not, that wars are easy to begin but VERY difficult to end, as evidence by the delay in withdrawing our troops from a futile, though perhaps, well intentioned, effort in Afghanistan. Consequently, we are gratified that you are signatory to Senator Jeff Merkley’s letter to President Obama urging a quicker withdrawal from what has now become America’s longest war.
One would think, or better hope, that after paying such a costly price in lives and treasure fighting unnecessary and therefore, immoral and illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we would have learned that bombing and killing is not an effective substitute for the hard work of negotiations and diplomacy. As Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, if we are truly concerned about National interest and the well being of our Servicemen, Women, and veterans, we must not again be seduced into another preventive war whose impact upon this nation and people will be even more tragic. Consequently, Senator, we are very disappointed and concerned that you have chosen to co-sponsor S. Res 380 for the following reason:
•President Obama has made clear his willingness to wage yet another war, this time to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. S. RES. 380 is much more “precautionary” and moves us further down the path to war by requiring that Iran be prevented from developing a “nuclear weapons capability.” •S. RES. 380 is shrewdly silent, however, about how to interpret a nuclear capability. In the view of many, including Senators Graham, Casey, and Lieberman, who introduced the Bill in the Senate, to delay an attack until Iran has enriched weapons grade uranium and achieved the technical knowledge necessary to manufacture a bomb is to squander a limited window of opportunity. So when exactly along the means-and-know-how continuum of acquiring a nuclear weapons capability must, according to this resolution, intervention occur? Some have speculated that Iran is already within a year or two of having a nuclear weapon should they decide that they want or need one. So do we begin bombing immediately? •S. RES. 380 calls for “the full and sustained suspension of all uranium enrichment-related and reprocessing activities,” a right guaranteed under the Non Proliferation Treaty. The PEOPLE of Iran understandably value their national autonomy and see such a ban as yet another attempt by the United States and Israel to subjugate their Nation. Further, Iranians argue that their nuclear enrichment program is for peaceful purposes and necessary for their energy security, to provide medical treatment to 800,000 cancer patients, and a source of National pride. •S. RES. 380 requires “the verified end of Iran's ballistic missile programs,” a demand that is unprecedented and goes well beyond what is required by the United Nations resolutions or anything ever demanded of Saddam Hussein’s pre-war Iraq. •Given that Iran would not, could not, agree to such demands without sacrificing their national pride and autonomy, S. RES. 380 renders any negotiated settlement impossible and war inevitable. •Though S. RES. 380 is touted as “non binding,” it is only a small step from recognizing that it is in our National interest to ensure that Iran not develop a nuclear capability to deciding that military action is required to neutralize the Iranian “threat” to our National interest. Given the propensity of our President and members of Congress to see war and military adventurism as an extension of diplomacy, and embargo and economic sanctions as preferable to the hard work of negotiations, can we be confident that these resolutions do not make the next step to war inevitable? •Military experts are clear that bombing a few nuclear sites across Iran without boots on the ground – invasion – accomplishes nothing long term other than to drive Iran’s nuclear program further underground and strengthen its resolve to pursue weapons development in secret and in earnest. Will the United States and Israel then conduct periodic bombings to, so to speak, “mow the lawn” as Iran rebuilds their nuclear program? Further, it is also clear that Iran will understandably retaliate by attacking United States interests in this country and around the world.
Senator, we fear that this Resolution is irresponsible and dangerous and to cosponsor it demonstrates a lack of understanding of the inevitable horrors that war entail, and a willingness to expend precious lives and treasure in yet another unnecessary and immoral war of choice. We hope you will reconsider and withdraw your sponsorship and urge your colleagues to do so as well.
In its place, we offer for your consideration the “People’s Resolution,” what we believe to be a thoughtful, reasonable, and sane response to the Iranian “crisis.” Although we realize, sadly, that such honesty may be “unwise” in an election year, we appeal to your integrity not be influenced by powerful warist voices and lobbies, but to do what is right rather than what is politically expedient. Please become the voice of sanity, reason, and of peace in a political system that seems to have lost its political and moral compass.
If you would like to meet with me or other members of Veterans For Peace Long Island, please feel free to contact us at your convenience. Thank you for your concern for the well-being of veterans.
Camillo Mac Bica, Ph.D.
Veterans For Peace Long Island
P.O. Box 3
Commack, NY 11725
(enclosure) The People’s Resolution