Dear MoveOn member,
Today feels different.
Unlike the last three weeks, we seem to no longer be standing at the brink of war. President Obama declared on Tuesday night that he'd halted requests for an authorization to use military force so he could pursue a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Syria with Russia—and Congress has stopped moving toward a vote on that authorization. This is what we wanted. And it's only possible because progressives led the charge in calling for peace.
This campaign isn't over yet—and we'll stay vigilant until a diplomatic solution is reached. But getting this far took the work of millions of MoveOn members and grassroots activists on the outside, and progressive champions like Representative Alan Grayson inside Congress. Check out this note from Rep. Grayson, whose steadfast opposition to military strikes has helped avoid our fall down the slippery slope toward war.
Thanks for all you do.
–Ilya, Rosy, Angie, Mark, and the rest of the team—————Forwarded message—————
From: Rep. Alan Grayson
Subject: How We Stopped a War—For Now
Dear MoveOn member,
After three frenetic weeks, during which time MoveOn members and Team Grayson were burning the midnight oil every night, it's time to take stock of what we've accomplished.
Here were the headlines in late August, just before we started our campaign against U.S. military intervention in Syria.
"Syria crisis: UK and US finalise plans for military strikes"—The Guardian, August 27.
"Syria strike due in days, West tells opposition—sources"—Reuters, August 27.
"Strike Against Syria is Imminent"—Reuters, August 27.
"Obama Will Bomb Syria"—Politico, August 26.
"U.S. military ready to attack Syria, Hagel says"—CBS News, August 27.
And here are the headlines, now:
"Obama to explore diplomatic route on Syria,"—Reuters, September 10.
"U.S. to Work Through U.N. on Syria Arms Proposal" The New York Times, September 10.
"Obama Agrees To U.N. Discussion Of Putting Syria Chemical Weapons Under International Control"—Associated Press, September 10.
"Syria Will Sign Chemical Weapons Convention, Declare Arsenal, Foreign Ministry Says"—Reuters, September 10.
Let's go behind the headlines, to the numbers in Congress. Bloomberg News just came out with its own count of how every single member of the U.S. House and Senate would vote on war with Syria. In the U.S. Senate, which is institutionally designed to favor war and bailouts, the war vote is losing 34-22. That's shocking—the Senate is voting for peace?! In the U.S. House of Representatives, it's even better. House members oppose war by a 10-to-one margin. The Washington Post has it at 26 in favor, 251 against.
In other words, we are winning. Peace is winning.
How did this miracle happen?
To answer that question, look in the mirror.
Now, what's interesting is not just that we averted military action (so far). It's also what has happened, because we averted military action. We showed that successful diplomacy, shunted aside just a week ago as irrelevant, is actually possible.
Think about this. We are on the verge of a solution that:
- Removes chemical weapons from Syria, preventing another attack and putting them out of the reach of both the Assad regime and Al Qaeda,
- Does not require the use of dangerous military force by the United States,
- Compels Syria to become a signer to the Chemical Weapons Convention,
- Restores the role of Congress in matters of war and peace, and
- Rejuvenates the United Nations as a platform for peace.
Of course, we may still go to war—the war lobby is fierce and relentless. Even as we speak, warmongers in Congress are writing new war resolution language, thinking that if they tweak this word or that word, making it an itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy war, it can pass. To that, we say, "a big, fat NO."
We have shown that Peace can be more powerful than War.
And hopefully, one day soon, we will not be arguing about where to direct our bombs. If you and I keep working together, we will be trying to figure out what to do with the fruits of peace—the Peace Dividend.
Rep. Alan Grayson
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