Election 2016

Got Peace? Here's a Democratic Debate Guide to Ending War

Let's talk about America's war machine.

What will happen at the first 2016 Democratic Party presidential debate when a Socialist, War Hawk, Vietnam Veteran, anti-Iraq war opponent & former Maryland Governor take the stage? 

We don’t know either, but what we do know is there are a number of key issues about respect, cooperation and demilitarization that are missing from the national debates, as we’ve seen from the Republican Party thus far. 

We’d like to remind all candidates, Democratic or Republican, that U.S. foreign and domestic policies should not be based on war and policing.

As a conscious guide for candidates to address a country that is war-weary and struggling for racial justice, the women’s peace group, CODEPINK, created a 10-point peace platform, with a list of values and actions to transition the U.S. out of a war-based economy. 

View the first Democratic Party debate on Tuesday, October 13th on CNN and use the CODEPINK #President4Peace social media toolkit to gauge a candidate’s stance on the 10-peace positions.

1. REDUCE MILITARY SPENDING, INVEST AT HOME
Dramatically reduce military spending, with the freed-up funds to be invested in sustainable energy projects, infrastructure, care for veterans, education, housing, tax cuts for the lowest incomes, humanitarian aid, and payment of the federal debt. Create a transition program for workers to move from military- to peace-based jobs.

2. USE DIPLOMACY FIRST
Continue the policies started under the Obama Administration of making peace with Cuba and Iran, and extend to other conflict areas of the world, including North Korea. Cease US military involvement and  support diplomatic resolutions in the Middle East, including Israel-Palestine.

3. ABIDE BY INTERNATIONAL LAW - NO UNAUTHORIZED WARS
Abolish the presidential kill list, stop using weaponized drones for extrajudicial assassinations, and support a global treaty banning these weapons systems. Cease the practice of launching wars not authorized by Congress or the United Nations.

4. WORK TOWARD A NUCLEAR-FREE, PEACEFUL WORLD
Abide by obligations under the NonProliferation Treaty (NPT) to cut the US nuclear arsenal and promote a nuclear-free world. Stop intimidating Russia; end NATO expansion on its borders. Remove the missile defense systems from Europe.

5. PROMOTE WOMEN IN PEACEMAKING
Uphold UN Security Council Resolution 1325 that calls for the full involvement of women in preventing, resolving, and recovering from conflict.

6. CLOSE OVERSEAS MILITARY BASES
The United States spends at least $100 billion a year on over 800 bases in 70 nations, not counting permanent ongoing trainings and exercises. Close all foreign military bases.

7. OBSERVE US LAW PROHIBITING THE SALE OF WEAPONS TO HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS
Stop the practice of giving or selling weapons to countries that are human rights violators, such as Bahrain, Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

8. END THE MILITARIZATION OF POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND US BORDERS
End the policy of transferring military-grade weaponry and surveillance equipment from the military to local police departments. End the militarization of our national borders.

9. STOP ILLEGAL DETENTION OF PRISONERS IN GUANTANAMO AND ELSEWHERE, HOLD TORTURERS ACCOUNTABLE
Release prisoners who have been cleared for release and try the others in federal courts. Arrest and put on trial US personnel who engaged in torture. Close Gitmo

10. RESPECT WHISTLEBLOWERS--AND OUR PRIVACY
Recognize the value of whistleblowers in serving the best interests of the public. End mass surveillance, including the bulk collection of our personal data.

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Chelsea Byers is a political organizer and community strategist.