U.S. Military Campaign in Iraq and Syria will be Counterproductive

Cambridge, Mass, September 10, 2014 – In response to President Obama’s speech on dealing with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Massachusetts Peace Action, the largest grassroots peace organization in Massachusetts,  made the following statements:

“We agree with the president that there is no military solution to the problems posed by ISIS. And yet his proposed ‘strategy’ relies primarily on the use of military force.   It’s time to stop the bombing, escalation and military aid and use the other tools of U.S. foreign policy.  We should pull out the over 1,000 U.S. troops now deployed in Iraq and cut off weapons shipments and funding to the belligerent parties.   We should stop supporting one side in a sectarian war,” said Cole Harrison, Massachusetts Peace Action’s executive director.

“U.S. policy in Iraq and Syria is incoherent,” continued Harrison.  “We are fighting ISIS in Iraq, while in Syria we are helping ISIS by demanding the overthrow of its most effective opponent, the Assad government.  It’s as if U.S. policy was designed to stoke the fires of conflict in the Middle East instead of resolve it.”

“History shows that US arms tend to fall into the wrong hands as they did in Afghanistan.  ISIS is largely armed with weapons the US supplied to other parties, including huge amounts of U.S.-supplied weapons that they captured from Iraqi forces. More weapons in the Mideast is not the solution and amounts to pouring fuel on a fire,” said Massachusetts Peace Action’s program director, Shelagh Foreman.

“True international support to deal with ISIS requires UN action and regional diplomacy,” observed Paul Kawika Martin, the political director of Peace Action.  

Massachusetts Peace Action is helping to organize a “No U.S. War in Iraq and Syria” rally on Saturday, September  13, 1:00 pm, at Park Street Station in downtown Boston.  The rally will also be sponsored by  United for Justice with Peace and the Committee for Peace and Human Rights.   Iraq and Vietnam veterans, military family members, and ordinary citizens will speak out against a new U.S. military intervention in the Middle East.