I was out jogging my normal routine along the San Diego coast this morning which runs by the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier, a tourist attraction that is now a museum now that drawing many Veterans from all over the U.S. as well as foreign veterans. Just across the sidewalk from the USS Midway was the guy seen in the picture below who was standing next to a drone replica and a sign that read, “Drones Fly, Kids Die.”
I stopped and asked him what his purpose was in displaying the drone replica and he gave me his business card that showed he was part of a local group called San Diego Veterans for Peace.
Taking a closer look at the picture above you see the following smaller sign which reads; My name is DRONE. I work for the USA. My job is DEATH.
It takes a lot of guts to stand up to the status quo visitors who come from all over the world to visit the USS Midway. In a sense, he is trying to enlighten those who will listen as to what our government does without even a blink of an eye in threatening other countries or going to war without declaration from Congress.
This gentleman had the following “Statement of Purpose” listed on the back of his business card;
We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace by applying the concept of engaging conflict peacefully, without voilence. To this end we will work with others to:
* Increase public awareness of the total costs of war.
* Restrain our government from intervening overtly and covertly in the internal affairs of other nations.
* End the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons.
* Seek justice for Veterans and victims of war.
* Abolish war as an instrument of foreign and international policy.
As members of Veterans For Peace we pledge to use non-violent means to achieve these goals. All members are trusted to act in the best interest of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.
That’s something I think we can all get behind, whether Veteran or not. At a time when Iran is forgotten about, even before the latest N. Korea threats by the wimpy son of a forgotten leader who just wants attention to prove to his people that he has clout, you can bet the Iran issue will again come to the forefront of the U.S. media.
This San Diego group is part of a larger group of a Veterans For Peace Iran Working Group that last year marched on Washington with their concerns about the U.S. going to war with Iran, and met with with Ryan Peters, Veterans Affairs Specialist in the office of Rep. Darrell Issa and Jimmy Thomas. legislative and military assistant to Rep. Duncan Hunter to discuss support for H.R. 4173 “which calls for the president to appoint a “special envoy” to Iran and calls for a diplomatic resolution to the current stand off between the US, Israel, the 5+1 nations and Iran over the issue of the development of nuclear power.” This is not to be confused with H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, but a 2012 version of H.R. 4173 as described below.
H.R. 4173 is sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D) and has 35 co-sponsonrs, which seem to be all Democrats including Dennis Kucinich. Where are the Republican members from the House on this?
Latest Major Action: 3/8/2012 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
In other words, there is nothing being done on this. The U.S. will go off to another undeclared war because no one in Congress can stand up to those who want to take us to war. 36 people have tried. Obama has his own agenda. And evidently the Republicans are cool with that.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
- This Act may be cited as the `Prevent Iran from Acquiring Nuclear Weapons and Stop War Through Diplomacy Act’.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
- Congress finds the following:
- (1) In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech on December 10, 2009, President Obama said, `I know that engagement with repressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation. But I also know that sanctions without outreach–and condemnation without discussion–can carry forward a crippling status quo. No repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of an open door.’
- (2) In his address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on March 4, 2012, President Obama said, `I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say. That includes all elements of American power. A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored; an economic effort to impose crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.’
- (3) While the Obama Administration has rejected failed policies of the past by engaging in negotiations with Iran without preconditions, only four of such meetings have occurred.
- (4) Official representatives of the United States and official representatives of Iran have held only two direct, bilateral meetings in over 30 years, both of which occurred in October 2009, one on the sidelines of the United Nations Security Council negotiations in Geneva, and one on the sidelines of negotiations brokered by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (referred to in this Act as the `IAEA’) in Vienna.
- (5) All of the outstanding issues between the United States and Iran cannot be resolved instantaneously. Resolving such issues will require a robust, sustained effort.
- (6) Under the Department of State’s current `no contact’ policy, officers and employees of the Department of State are not permitted to make any direct contact with official representatives of the Government of Iran without express prior authorization from the Secretary of State.
- (7) On September 20, 2011, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, called for establishing direct communications with Iran, stating, `I’m talking about any channel that’s open. We’ve not had a direct link of communication with Iran since 1979. And I think that has planted many seeds for miscalculation. When you miscalculate, you can escalate and misunderstand.’
- (8) On November 8, 2011, the IAEA issued a report about Iran’s nuclear program and expressed concerns about Iran’s past and ongoing nuclear activities.
- (9) On December 2, 2011, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta warned that an attack on Iran would result in `an escalation that would take place that would not only involve many lives, but I think it could consume the Middle East in a confrontation and a conflict that we would regret.’
SEC. 3. STATEMENT OF POLICY.
- It should be the policy of the United States–
- (1) to prevent Iran from pursuing or acquiring a nuclear weapon and to resolve the concerns of the United States and of the international community about Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s human rights obligations under international and Iranian law;
- (2) to ensure inspection of cargo to or from Iran, as well as the seizure and disposal of prohibited items, as authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929 (June 9, 2010);
- (3) to pursue sustained, direct, bilateral negotiations with the Government of Iran without preconditions in order to reduce tensions, prevent war, prevent nuclear proliferation, support human rights, and seek resolutions to issues that concern the United States and the international community;
- (4) to utilize all diplomatic tools, including direct talks, targeted sanctions, Track II diplomacy, creating a special envoy described in section 4, and enlisting the support of all interested parties, for the purpose of establishing an agreement with Iran to put in place a program that includes international safeguards, guarantees, and robust transparency measures that provide for full IAEA oversight of Iran’s nuclear program, including rigorous, ongoing inspections, in order to verify that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes and that Iran is not engaged in nuclear weapons work;
- (5) to pursue opportunities to build mutual trust and to foster sustained negotiations in good faith with Iran, including pursuing a fuel swap deal to remove quantities of low enriched uranium from Iran and to refuel the Tehran Research Reactor, similar to the structure of the deal that the IAEA, the United States, China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany first proposed in October 2009;
- (6) to explore areas of mutual benefit to both Iran and the United States, such as regional security, the long-term stabilization of Iraq and Afghanistan, the establishment of a framework for peaceful nuclear energy production, other peaceful energy modernization programs, and counter-narcotics efforts; and
- (7) that no funds appropriated or otherwise made available to any executive agency of the Government of the United States may be used to carry out any military operation or activity against Iran unless the President determines that a military operation or activity is warranted and seeks express prior authorization by Congress, as required under article I, section 8, clause 2 of the United States Constitution, which grants Congress the sole authority to declare war, except that this requirement shall not apply to a military operation or activity–
- (A) to directly repel an offensive military action launched from within the territory of Iran against the United States or any ally with whom the United States has a mutual defense assistance agreement;
- (B) in hot pursuit of forces that engage in an offensive military action outside the territory of Iran against United States forces or an ally with whom the United States has a mutual defense assistance agreement and then enter into the territory of Iran; or
- (C) to directly thwart an imminent offensive military action to be launched from within the territory of Iran against United States forces or an ally with whom the United States has a mutual defense assistance agreement.
SEC. 4. APPOINTMENT OF HIGH-LEVEL U.S. REPRESENTATIVE OR SPECIAL ENVOY.
- (a) Appointment- At the earliest possible date, the President, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall appoint a high-level United States representative or special envoy for Iran.
- (b) Criteria for Appointment- The President shall appoint an individual under subsection (a) on the basis of the individual’s knowledge and understanding of the issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program, experience in conducting international negotiations, and ability to conduct negotiations under subsection (c) with the respect and trust of the parties involved in the negotiations.
- (c) Duties- The high-level United States representative or special envoy for Iran shall–
- (1) seek to facilitate direct, unconditional, bilateral negotiations with Iran for the purpose of easing tensions and normalizing relations between the United States and Iran;
- (2) lead the diplomatic efforts of the Government of the United States with regard to Iran;
- (3) consult with other countries and international organizations, including countries in the region, where appropriate and when necessary to achieve the purpose set forth in paragraph (1);
- (4) act as liaison with United States and international intelligence agencies where appropriate and when necessary to achieve the purpose set for in paragraph (1); and
- (5) ensure that the bilateral negotiations under paragraph (1) complement the ongoing international negotiations with Iran.
SEC. 5. DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE.
- (a) Elimination of `No Contact’ Policy- Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall rescind the `no contact’ policy that prevents officers and employees of the Department of State from making any direct contact with official representatives of the Government of Iran without express prior authorization from the Secretary of State.
- (b) Office of High-Level U.S. Representative or Special Envoy- Not later than 30 days after the appointment of a high-level United States representative or special envoy under section 4(a), the Secretary of State shall establish an office in the Department of State for the purpose of supporting the work of the representative or special envoy.
SEC. 6. REPORTING TO CONGRESS.
- (a) Reports- Not later than 60 days after the high-level United States representative or special envoy for Iran is appointed under section 4, and every 180 days thereafter, the United States representative or special envoy shall report to the committees set forth in subsection (b) on the steps that have been taken to facilitate direct, bilateral diplomacy with the government of Iran under section 4(c). Each such report may, when necessary or appropriate, be submitted in classified and unclassified form.
- (b) Committees- The committees referred to in subsection (a) are–
- (1) the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives; and
- (2) the Committee on Appropriations, the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate.
SEC. 7. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
- There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2012 and 2013.