Category Archives: Position Statements

MFSO Joins 64 Organizations Calling For End to US Military Involvement in Yemen

Today, the Yemen Peace Project (YPP), along with 64 other organizations, sent a letter to the United States House of Representatives to express their support for House Concurrent Resolution 81. The Resolution directs the President of the United States to end US military involvement in Yemen’s civil war, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution. Currently, the United States provides logistical, technical, and advisory military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen without authorization from Congress. The coalition has perpetrated war crimestargeted civilians repeatedly using US-sold weapons, and created the conditions necessary for Yemen to become the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Ending the United States military role in the conflict is essential to ending the notion that the coalition can win this war in the battlefield and push for peace.

Yemen’s man-made humanitarian crisis has created severe hardships for the civilian population. Over 17 million Yemenis do not have enough food with more than 7 million facing famine, and estimates show that there will be over 1 millioncholera cases by the end of year – the largest cholera outbreak ever documented in modern history. Salaries of civil servants, teachers, and critical medical personnel have not been paid in over a year and the country faces a critical shortage of functioning medical facilities, with less than 45 percent of Yemen’s health care system still functional. Both the Saudi-led coalition and Houthi forces have contributed to the ongoing humanitarian crisis, although coalition airstrikes ate the leading cause of civilian casualties according to the UN. While efforts to hold the parties to the conflict accountable have been difficult, the United States cannot credibly push for peace while continuing to arm one side of the conflict. Congress can end this contradictory policy and move to alleviate civilian suffering in Yemen by passing House Concurrent Resolution 81.

Under the United States Constitution, Congress has the exclusive authority to declare war. US involvement in Yemen’s civil war has never been publicly debated or voted on by Congress. The Obama and Trump administrations has also consistently refused to brief Congress on the level and degree of support for the Saudi-led coalition, thus hindering efforts to create accountability for the US government’s actions. Moreover, continued support for the Saudi-led coalition could make the United States complicit in the coalition’s war crimes. Congress must exercise its constitutional authority and end US military support for the Saudi-led coalition.

The YPP and the other signatories to the letter urge members of the House of Representatives to vote in favor of House Concurrent Resolution 81 and end US involvement in Yemen’s civil war.
Read on to view a PDF of the letter here.

MFSO Responds to President Trump’s Comments

MFSO is horrified by President Trump’s comments about “taking the oil” in Iraq.

President Trump, January 2017, at the CIA: “The old expression, to the victor belong the spoils…we should’ve kept the oil…But, okay, maybe we’ll have another chance.”

This careless statement, which has not been retracted, endangers the lives of our troops in Iraq and the region.   ISIS has been losing ground in Iraq but this statement greatly assists ISIS’s ability to recruit, directly hurting the progress our troops have made in Iraq.
“There is nothing Trump could have said that would be more corrosive to our interests in the Middle East,” says Ryan Crocker, the distinguished former U.S. ambassador to Baghdad. And nothing that so displays the president’s ignorance of Middle East history and dynamics.

This talk of seizing oil is a clarion call to anti-U.S. forces,” Crocker told me, “because it plays to the myth that we were in Iraq to take their oil. Oil is the sacred touchstone of Iraqi sovereignty and independence. From 2003 all the way to Donald Trump we made clear that we understood that.
“Now Iraqis will believe that seizing oil is U.S. policy. Trump has made the myth come true.”

We strongly object to President Trump’s comments.  Taking the oil is against international law and a war crime. These unthinking words also damage our standing in the world.  We suggest that MFSO members write a letter to the editor or contact their Congressional members to demand that President Trump retract these comments which endanger our troops in Iraq as well as our troops stationed in the region.

References:
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/additional-troops-afghanistan-john-nicholson-234844
http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/trudy_rubin/20170127_Worldview__Trump_s_lust_for_Iraq_s_oil_endangers_American_soldiers.html

MFSO Continues Work, Despite Uncertain Times

Military Families Speak Out members are concerned after the Presidential election. There is great uncertainty around a Trump presidency and what it will mean for military members, veterans, and their families.

Our nonpartisan group is concerned about the endless wars that the United States has involved our military.  President Obama and numerous military officials have repeatedly stated there is no military solution in the Middle East and surrounding area, yet war has been the government’s main response. Military statements by President-Elect Trump are often vague, contradictory or unknown. A review of the individuals being considered for cabinet positions indicate an increased militaristic approach.

MFSO continues to call for: No U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and now Yemen. MFSO and the whole peace movement must stand strong against policies that call for more violence and war.

We call for continued efforts for diplomacy and humanitarian aid. In addition, we know that xenophobic rhetoric & hate speech only exacerbates the situation and sends a false message that  we are at war with Islam, which in turn only leads to more hatred from civilians in the Middle East who are mostly Muslim. It also gives ISIS the propaganda they need to continue attracting more anti-American recruits.

We have so many concerns. We need to be bold. We are extending an invitation to all members to get re-involved in the work of MFSO and reach out to other like-minded military families. There are many ways to get involved. We need help from every member if we are to end these wars once and for all.  Please reach out to other military families who are currently in the military – they need support and have a story to tell!

MFSO continues to call for quality health and mental health care for veterans and military families within the Veterans Administration. No privatization of the VA. We continue to demand education, jobs, housing, and other services for veterans. As always, we support the troops, want them home now and work hard to take care of them while abroad and when they return home.  MFSO is a 501c3 non-profit and does not endorse any political candidate. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or gender. Please consider a tax deductible donation at this time.

More Troops Sent To Iraq

President Obama is sending an additional 600 U.S. troops to Iraq to assist in the upcoming battle to drive the Islamic State from the city of Mosul.  This brings the “official” number of U.S. troops to 5,000.  But the Pentagon has repeatedly admitted to having over 6,000 troops in Iraq before this announcement.   The Pentagon states that open-end deployments are not part of the official count.
The troops will be stationed close to the fight at Qayyarah West airfield.  They will train, advise and assist teams for Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.  Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of the task force, already has authority to place U.S. advisers with the attacking force at the battalion level, in other words, involved in direct combat.
The Pentagon also expects ISIS fighters to use chemical weapons to defend Mosul.  Once again our military men and women will be put in harm’s way for a war that has no military solution.   So why is military force our continued response?   Again, there is no plan on what happens after Mosul is reclaimed.  Who will govern and rebuild Mosul?  How will the real grievances of the Iraqi people be addressed?  Why do we keep repeating the same mistakes in Iraq?

We need to stop this endless cycle of military intervention.  All U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Our government should commit its money, time and efforts in support of dedicated diplomacy creating a solid foundation for a more stable Middle East.

Please add your name to UFPJ’s appeal to the President and demand that he immediately withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and commit to regional diplomacy that begins to build a solid foundation for a nuclear and weapons-of-mass-destruction free Middle East.

References:
http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/09/28/us-sending-600-more-troops-to-iraq-to-bolster-drive-on-mosul.html
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/u-s-sends-troops-iraq-help-retake-mosul-militants/
http://news.antiwar.com/2016/08/05/more-us-troops-headed-to-iraq-will-deploy-near-mosul/