Peace and Justice Works
Mayor Hales and Commissioners Fish, Fritz, Novick and Saltzman:
Below is a copy of Resolution #36896, passed unanimously by Portland City Council on January 12, 2012. It calls for federal money spent on war to be redirected to our domestic needs. We feel it is time for Portland to reaffirm its position to the federal government. Not only are we facing an increased war budget, but the City is desperately trying to find ways to pay for its crumbling infrastructure, including how to pay for road repair and maintenance. President Obama recently asked for $65 billion in additional "war funds" for this fiscal year. Just one tenth of one percent of that amount would cover more than the $50 million Commissioner Novick wants to raise with a street users fee; of course Parks, Housing and other City Bureaus could also benefit from these war dollars being re-directed home.
These funds are going to be used to support US military operations in Afghanistan, which are supposed to be coming to an end this year. About 950 members of the Oregon National Guard will be sent to Afghanistan soon, making up about 10% of all the soldiers there vying, as it's been said, to be the last person to die for a mistake. About $500 million, which could be re-allotted to $10 million for every State in the Union, is being used to fund "moderate" rebels in Syria, which is not a controllable outcome and will only lead to more chaos such as the militant ISIS group which has over-run huge areas of Iraq using US military equipment.
We therefore propose a new resolution reflecting the current situation, based on the earlier resolution. Here is our proposed draft which you are welcome to adapt in order to adopt:
Establishes as a position that the City of Portland opposes further deployment of U.S. troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, asking that instead funds be redirected to domestic priorities.
WHEREAS, Portland City Council unanimously adopted Resolution No. 36896 in January, 2012, calling to redirect funds spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to domestic needs; and,
WHEREAS, despite a promise to withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, the President has instead sent an extra 800 troops to Iraq and plans to keep 10,000, including 950 Oregonians, in Afghanistan; and,
WHEREAS, as evidenced by the poor services provided by the Veterans Administration, engaging in perpetual war means creating more wounded veterans and takes away money from caring for those who have returned; and,
WHEREAS, 6,823 members of the US armed forces to date have died in these wars; and at least 150,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the coalition attacks began; and,
WHEREAS, the people of the United States have collectively paid approximately $126 billion dollars per year to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the President asking for an additional $65 billion in FY 2013-2014; and,
WHEREAS, the City of Portland is not unique in its struggles to meet basic services for its residents due to shortfalls caused by lack of available tax monies;
 "Barack Obama seeks $65 billion in war funds," Politico.com, June 26:
Peace and Justice Works
American Friends Service Committee
Recruiter Watch PDX
Portland Women's International League for Peace and Freedom
Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
Establishes as a position that the City of Portland praises United States troops and their families, applauds the end of the Iraq War and supports the further drawdown of troops in Afghanistan with funds being redirected to domestic priorities.
WHEREAS, every member of the Portland City Council and the Portlanders we represent support our brave men and women in uniform and their families; and,
WHEREAS, every member of the Portland City Council praises President Barack Obama for ending the Iraq War and the last United States troops withdrew from Iraq on December 18, 2011; and,
WHEREAS, as our troops return to the United States, it is even more critical that domestic priorities are funded and that our military families and their futures are provided for; and,
WHEREAS, 6,328 members of the US armed forces to date have died in these wars; and at least 120,000 civilians have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since the coalition attacks began; and,
WHEREAS, the people of the United States have collectively paid approximately $126 billion dollars per year to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan; and,
WHEREAS, as long as the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest remain intact, the American financial system will not sustain the costs associated with domestic and foreign priorities; and,
WHEREAS, the severity of the ongoing economic crisis has created budget shortfalls at all levels of government and requires us to re-examine our national spending priorities; and,
WHEREAS, the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan should be done in a measured way that does not destabilize the region and that can accelerate the transfer of responsibility to regional authorities; and,
WHEREAS, the drawdown should include the removal of the thousands of military contractors in both Iraq and Afghanistan that the United States has funded and cancellations of their contracts which have caused additional drain on our nation's economy; and,
WHEREAS, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley submitted an amendment, which was adopted in the U.S. Senate as part of the Defense authorization bill, urging the President to expedite the reduction in U.S. forces in Afghanistan and to make periodic reports to Congress on the progress of that plan;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Portland City Council applauds the President for bringing an end to the Iraq war and extends our deepest gratitude to our brave men and women in uniform and their families who have served in this difficult conflict; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Portland City Council asks for the President to continue to remove military contractors and reduce the United States footprint in Iraq and to immediately direct his attention to ending of the war in Afghanistan; and redirect these 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 and reduce the federal debt.
Adopted by the Council: Jan. 12, 2012
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
Page posted July 25, 2014