On May 18, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy submitted the War Dollars Home Resolution to the US Conference of Mayors. The resolution highlights the fact that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are projected to cost $126 billion this year, and calls on Congress to end these deadly wars and bring our war dollars home to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy.
Mayors from cities with populations of 30,000 or more use the US Conference of Mayors to ensure federal policy meets urban needs. The Conference determines its advocacy priorities by debating and passing resolutions at an annual meeting; thanks to Kitty Piercy -- named the 2010 Most Valuable Local Official by The Nation -- peace will be on the table this year.
As John Nichols noted,
Active with US Mayors for Peace and Women's Action for New Directions/Women Legislators' Lobby, (Piercy) shows up at peace rallies to declare: "Some may scorn our local efforts to change national priorities, but I, like you, believe in the power of our city, the fierce grassroots power of our people to do what needs to be done."
With the visionary leadership of Mayor Piercy, we are increasing the pressure on Obama and Congress to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we can't wait for her and her 17 co-sponsors to discuss the resolution with the mayors' conference. We have to continue flexing our own fierce grassroots power.
We must encourage Congress to make rational, long-term decisions when debating oversight of the military: remove the ridiculous blank check for never-ending war, bring the troops and contractors home from Afghanistan and Iraq, remove all barriers to immediate implementation of the New START agreement, allow gays to serve openly in the military, and cut the bloat. We understand Congress is addicted to the military dollars spent in every Congressional district, but an economy built on death and destruction does not create a thriving community.
To start the vitally needed process of transforming our federal priorities, we should ask our Representatives to support HR 780, the Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan. As Representative Barbara Lee--another powerful woman's voice for peace--noted in support of this bill, we must reorient United States foreign policy. Even Richard Holbrooke appeared to agree with our assessment that diplomacy must lead our interaction with foreign governments, not the military. As Representatives McGovern and Jones said, it's time to end the wars and bring the money home for nation-building in the U.S.