OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
The First Year in Office and Beyond...
Dear President Obama,
You began your term of office on a wave of optimism and peaceful campaign promises. Within days after your Inauguration you spoke of closing down Guantanamo Prison; within months you spoke of nuclear disarmament. You even were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for your overtures toward peace and diplomacy and for improving U.S. relations with allies that had become strained and lacking in credibility due to the excesses of the Bush Administration. But so far we have seen nothing but promises and public statements. There has been all too little action toward fulfilling these promises.
We are encouraged by the recent summit to discuss nuclear arms reductions and the proposed START treaty but recognize that these are just initial steps—since at the same time, more funds have been allocated in the military budget for nuclear weapons. We remain optimistic that progress will be made toward nuclear disarmament at the upcoming Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review in May and anticipate that the U.S. will continue to lead the way toward global nuclear disarmament.
U.S. will continue to lead the way toward global nuclear disarmament.
We also remain cautiously optimistic that you will keep to your August 2010 timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops and contractors from Iraq. On March 19, we marked seven years in Iraq, and yet we hear little about preparations for withdrawal by this coming August.
Guantanamo Prison remains open, as does Bagram Prison in Afghanistan. Both still are holding detainees, some since the fall of 2001.
We urge you to continue negotiations with Iran and hope that the sometimes heated rhetoric against Iran never becomes more than that. Military action against Iran will not solve anything.
We wish you would have stood firm on your criticism of Israel for planning to add or expand illegal settlements. And we oppose the ongoing supply of U.S. weapons to Israel.
In Afghanistan, this year marked the death of the 1000th U.S. soldier, and on October 7, we will mark 9 years of U.S. occupation of that country. There seems no end in sight for troop withdrawal.
We again want to remind you that we will be with you, doing all we can, to make sure progress is made toward fulfilling these important promises. We continue to take to heart your call for the people to lead by organizing to advance the cause of peace in our world.
But we ask now that you hear us. We are here. Our cries for peace and justice are constant, though perhaps you do not hear them because they are drowned out amidst the din and bluster of Washington politics as usual.
The Members of NJ Peace Action