The House and Senate are now on recess through April 21. This is the time when members of Congress make appearances across the state and meet with constituents. In February, hundreds of thousands of people showed up across the country to put pressure on their members of Congress to resist the dangerous Trump agenda. Our friends at MoveOn.org dubbed the February action "Resistance Recess." And it was a huge success!
We need you to show up again. During this recess, we hope that you put Resistance to War at the top of your list (check out 3 questions below). On the campaign trail and as a private citizen, Trump was strongly opposed to strikes in Syria. Now, as President, with his approval ratings on the line, he has embraced them. The two tweets below illustrate Trump’s change of heart.
In previous months, his military strikes in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen have killed hundreds of civilians at the same time he has banned the most vulnerable victims of war from accessing safe haven in the United States.
We know that women are already leading the resistance to Trump's harmful agenda. And as a women’s organization focused on security and peace with justice, WAND wants to ensure that women are mobilized against further Trump actions that could lead to war and further harm those fleeing violence.
Resistance Recess Resource Page
A central resource for action is Moveon.org’s Resistance Recess page. Here you can search for your nearest town hall meeting or resistance event, download talking points and de-escalation-tips, and access guides to sign designs and social media toolkits.
Before you head over to www.resistancerecess.com, we want to make sure you have three questions to hold your Representative and Senators accountable on issues related to war and peace.
Questions for Congress!
The best way to have your voice heard is to ask questions at town halls and other in-state events. Asking these questions in front of other folks in your state has the benefit of earning a positive reaction from others which will show your member there is more support. Additionally, interesting reactions may get captured on video or published in the local paper.
Here are three specific questions you can ask your Members of Congress:
Do you support war with Syria? If so, will you seek to debate and vote on the matter in Congress, and what is your plan for getting Syrian refugees to safety? President Trump’s recent missile strikes against the Syrian government, which were launched without Congressional approval, could be the start of more robust involvement in the Syrian civil war. It is important to note that the United States has already been bombing in Syria for over two-years, against the so-called Islamic state. U.S. escalation against the Syrian regime, who the Islamic State is fighting, could put the U.S. troops already in Syria at greater risk of attack by Syrian forces or their allies, Iran and Russia. President Trump does not have a long-term strategy for resolving the Syrian civil war and alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people. One option for assisting the Syrian people would be for President Trump to immediately end the executive order banning refugees from entering the United States.
Will you support policies that ratchet down tensions between the United States and Iran, like the Iran nuclear agreement? In the summer of 2015, the United States and five other world powers came to an historic agreement with Iran to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, solving a looming international crisis without firing a shot. The agreement is working, and according to international inspectors, Iran is complying with its commitments. Since Trump came to office, however, he has ratcheted up rhetoric against Iran and risks undermining the nuclear agreement. If the agreement falls apart because of U.S. actions, the United States will be in a much weaker position to counter Iranian behavior and Iran will have more leeway to restart its nuclear program. Without the careful diplomacy of the Iran deal and implementation of it, war becomes more likely. Moreover, the strikes on Syria have raised the potential for a US-Iranian conflict even higher, because Iran has been backing the Syrian regime in its civil war. Any escalation with Iran could have consequences that would be hard to control and lead to another devastating war in the Middle East, the price of which we will be paying for decades to come.
Do you support limiting the President’s sole authority to launch nuclear war? Given that President Trump has the sole authority to launch a nuclear weapon in a matter of minutes, and has shown a serious lack of judgment or caution, will you be cosponsoring the legislation offered by Rep. Lieu and Senator Markey -- the Restricting the First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act (S.200/H.R. 669) -- preventing the President from pre-emptively launching nuclear weapons without Congressional approval.
Trump’s Broken “Foreign Policy” Promises
President Trump has campaigned under an isolationist approach to foreign policy, emphasizing the need to avoid foreign entanglements in costly and unwinnable conflicts. In April 2016, he stated that our goal as a nation should be one of “peace and prosperity, not war and destruction.” He has also said that, “You cannot have a foreign policy without diplomacy. A superpower understands that caution and restraint are really truly signs of strength.”
These sentiments are the polar opposite of his plans for a major buildup of our nuclear weapons arsenal, his condemnation of the careful diplomacy around the Iran nuclear agreement-- which prevented an Iranian nuclear weapon without the use of force, and his recent unilateral missile strikes on Syrian government forces without Congressional approval.
Additionally, over the weekend, the U.S. Navy moved an aircraft carrier strike group (the USS Carl Vinson and support ships) toward the Korean Peninsula. The danger for escalation into a military conflict is growing by the day while the Trump administration appears to be working out its strategies on the fly.
We need our Representatives now more than ever to serve as bulwarks against Trump’s dangerous and inconsistent foreign policy agenda. We must call upon them to continue to uphold and support the Iran nuclear agreement, demand a Congressional debate and authorization of the use of force in Syria, and support a new law limiting the President’s sole authority to launch nuclear weapons.
Letters from Boston: America in Syria by Martin O’Malley
Why Trump’s Syria Strike Will Not End Well by Trita Parsi
Restricting the First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017, Rep. Ted Lieu press release
Donald Trump’s Reckless War in Syria, Win Without War