United For Peace and Justice, UFPJ

Nine years ago today, UFPJ led U.S. anti-war activists in an historic demonstration of grass-roots opposition to war in Iraq. Over 11 million people around the world took action making it the biggest protest in history. Worldwide the “power of the peaceful” was recognized by the media as the world’s Second Superpower. The troops are finally home from Iraq while fighting continues in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Now a war in Iran is looming. UFPJ is asking for your support so that we can deepen and broaden opposition to the U.S. war machine and help build the powerful justice movement growing at home.

U.S. foreign policy generates conflict as it serves the interests of those who grow wealthy from the profits of an economy of militarism. With over 700 bases girdling the globe, our policy of endless war has wreaked havoc on people around the world. The US military consumes over 50% of our national budget – tax dollars that are desperately needed here at home to promote jobs, support families, and take care of human needs.

We must stop this madness! That is why UFPJ is meeting in Philadelphia February 24-26 to Occupy Peace! We will strategize with activists from the Occupy Movement and a broad spectrum of domestic justice struggles. Together we will search for the common ground in our movements, address the political economy of militarism, and discuss actions to fundamentally shift our national economic priorities. Please donate generously to support our meeting and the work of UFPJ’s members to build a justice and peace economy.

And please, join us in Philadelphia!
Power to the peaceful,
The UFPJ Steering Committee

A Letter from Isakson and my response

Dear Ms. Dodd:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the budget of the Department of Defense. I appreciate hearing from you as well as the opportunity to respond.

As you know, the Senate passed S.365, the Budget Control Act of 2011, on August 2, 2011. President Obama signed the bill into law the same day. Initially, the legislation cut federal spending by more than $900 billion over 10 years and the debt limit was raised by $900 billion. Since the Supercommitteefailed to reach an agreement to cut an additional $1.2 trillion, backup cuts will now be triggered in 2013. The backup cuts are to be 50 percent defense and 50 percent domestic spending and will be determined by the sequestration process.

Like most Georgians, I was very disappointed when the Supercommitteefailed to come up with the $1.2 trillion in cuts. I believe that failure on the behalf of Congress should not have been an option in the first place.

On January 5, 2012, President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced a strategic review of the Department of Defense’s budget in preparation for the President’s 2013 budget request. The President stated that the plan would make the U.S. military “leaner… with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats.” The review aims to cut the Department of Defense’s budget by $487 billion over the next 10 years. When the sequestration process begins, the cuts triggered by the Supercommittee’sfailure will be in addition to the recently proposed measures.

My number one priority in the Senate is to get our country’s fiscal house in order. It is important to remember that each department, agency, and program in the federal government must be scrutinized for wasteful and unnecessary spending. The Department of Defense is no exception. However, we must maintain a strong national defense in order to protect our country. I believe that a strong U.S. military is necessary in order to protect Americans, to promote global security, and to uphold our Constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense. Additionally, we must make sure that our fighting men and women are properlyfunded since we have sent them into harm’s way. We need to ensure they are able to carry out their missions successfully and as safely as possible. Ultimately, the defense budget will require congressional approval and I will do all that I can to ensure that the defense budget provides our brave men and women of the military with the tools that they need to protect America.

As a member of both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am deeply concerned with the well-being of our soldiers as we send them to war and when they return home from the battlefield. As we discuss the budget, I will work to ensure that the United States invests in our national defense in a sustainable, effective way. Rest assured,I will keep your opinion in mind as we continue to work on the budget for the Department of Defense.

Thank you again for contacting me. Please visit my webpage at http://isakson.senate.gov/for more information on the issues important to you and to sign up for my e-newsletter.

Sincerely,Johnny Isakson

United States Senator

Dear Senator Isakson,

My response letter… While I fully understand our need for security I also feel the US has far to many military bases outside the US.
Officially the Pentagon counts 865 base sites, but this notoriously unreliable number omits all our bases in Iraq (likely over 100) and Afghanistan (80 and counting), among many other well-known and secretive bases. More than half a century after World War II and the Korean War, we still have 268 bases in Germany, 124 in Japan, and 87 in South Korea. Others are scattered around the globe in places like Aruba and Australia, Bulgaria and Bahrain, Colombia and Greece, Djibouti, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Romania, Singapore, and of course, Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — just to name a few. Among the installations considered critical to our national security are a ski center in the Bavarian Alps, resorts in Seoul and Tokyo, and 234 golf courses the Pentagon runs worldwide.” (FPIF – Foreign Policy in Focus) The massive amount of money that it takes to operate these bases go outside the US. Cost to operate these facilities total into the billions. Our local communities could use that kind of money to make investments in schools, hospitals, jobs, and infrastructure.
I agree our military should be prepared to defend and be taken care of but over spending must stop before OUR COUNTRY can begin to repair the damage done by such recklessness. Even President Bush of all people saw this as a “wastefulness of our overseas basing network.” It’s time for action sir. Our country is in crisis.