On Day One: To Save the Planet We Must Reject War

November 13th, 2020 - by Jon Rainwater / Peace Action

On Day One: Peace Action’s Message to Team Biden

Jon Rainwater / Peace Action

SILVER SPRING, Maryland (November 11, 2020) — When politicians are running for president, they often talk about what they’ll do “on day one” when they get elected to office.

It is imperative that we get President Biden focused on what he can do to reverse many of the dangerous and destructive foreign policies pursued by Trump. 

Here’s a list of the top-line actions we’ll be calling for:

 1. Stop plans for a new generation of nuclear weapons.
They’re dangerous and unnecessary. At $1.5 trillion they’re unaffordable. Oh, and as of January 22, 2021 they’re illegal under the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Additionally, we need to get back to global arms reductions by extending New START, currently the only active international treaty on nuclear arms control. Biden’s former boss spoke of “a world free from nuclear weapons,” and he has a chance to put us down that path.

2. End the forever wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.
It’s been over 19 years, and nearly $6.5 trillion later, these wars are not making anyone more safe. Indeed, over 800,000 people, mostly civilians, have lost their lives in them. It is long, long overdue to bring all of the troops home and bring an end to US wars around the globe. 

3. End US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
It’s disgraceful that the US plays part in “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.” This brutal war has killed over 100,000 Yemenis, the vast majority civilians, including children. Congress bipartisanly passed legislation that would put an end to US support last year, but President Trump vetoed the bill. The US should immediately pull all military and other support for the war, and stop selling deadly arms to Saudi Arabia.

4. End sanctions on Iran and reenter the Iran nuclear deal.
With pursuing a campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran, the Trump administration has wreaked havoc on the Iranian population. COVID is surging there, and sanctions make shipping medical supplies to Iran, and innocent civilians getting access to them, virtually impossible. Additionally, the US needs to immediately reenter the Iran nuclear deal — which will be easier said than done given the damage that has been done to the deal.

The deal was working to reduce Iran’s capacity to build a nuclear weapon just as designed when Trump pulled the US out of it. To get back on track in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear-armed state, we need to reenter the deal ASAP and create the political space for Biden to do that unimpeded.

5. Cut the bloated Pentagon budget.
It’s come time to reckon with the fact that spending three quarters of a trillion dollars on the Pentagon annually is just plain bad national security policy. As COVID rages around the world and the record hurricane season demonstrate, global pandemics and catastrophic climate change are the true, immediate threats to our security. Fighter jets, bombers, and missiles are utterly useless against these threats.

We’re ready to push the Biden administration and the new Congress on each of these areas and more from day one. We won’t be the only ones though.

The military industrial complex will be there too, with their thousands of lobbyists and millions of dollars.

If you want to ensure that these powerful, pro-peace policies are enacted, the time to act is now.  We are powerful together.

Jon Rainwater is the Executive Director of Peace Action: PO Box 8637, Silver Spring, MD 20907.

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