Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

U.S. Faith Leaders Call for Xmas Truce in Ukraine as Zelensky Visits D.C. Seeking More Arms & Money

Democracy Now 22 Dec 22,

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has wrapped up a one-day visit to Washington, D.C., where he called on the Biden administration and lawmakers to provide more military and financial aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia. This was Zelensky’s first overseas trip in nearly a year, since the war began. Ahead of the trip, over 1,000 faith leaders in the United States called for a Christmas truce in Ukraine. For more on the war and hopes for peace, we speak with CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin, theologian Cornel West and Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler, senior adviser to the Fellowship of Reconciliation……………………

AMY GOODMAN: During his speech to a joint session of Congress later in the day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said aid to Ukraine should be viewed as investment, not charity.

AMY GOODMAN: Ahead of President Zelensky’s trip to Washington, over a thousand faith leaders in the United States called for a Christmas truce in Ukraine. The signatories included the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Bishop William Barber and members of the Russian Orthodox Church. The letter was initiated by the Fellowship of Reconciliation, CodePink and the National Council of Elders. The groups also released this short video featuring some of the signatories.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined now by three guests involved in this call by over a thousand faith leaders for a Christmas truce in Ukraine.- Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler….. Cornel West … Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink………………..

MEDEA BENJAMIN: We feel that this war is not going to be won on the battlefield. This is something that the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said. We see that the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, who has been so hawkish on this, was asked his greatest fear; he said, “Spinning out of control. If it goes wrong, it could go horribly wrong.” We see us no longer marching towards a nuclear Armageddon with their eyes closed; it’s with our eyes opened. There will not be a military victory. There must be negotiations.

And we don’t want the moral center questioning this war to be coming from people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Donald Trump or Tucker Carlson, who are the people now questioning this war. We want it to come from the moral center of this country. That means the faith-based community, who understands that we have to protect all of God’s creations and that our moral obligation is to stop the killing, stop the fighting, stop the war. And that’s why we have called for this Christmas truce.

CORNEL WEST: ……………………… we have to be willing to have a moral witness that keeps track of the organized greed, of the routinized hatred, of the manipulated fear and the chronic hypocrisy of the wounded Russian empire and the American empire, that is, of course, 800 — has 800 military troops units around the world and doesn’t want to be honest about its own role. We know that if there were missiles in Canada or Mexico or Venezuela or Cuba, the U.S. military would blow them to smithereens. So we have no moral authority when it comes to dealing with the gangster activity of Putin. We have American gangster activity in our military-industrial complex tied to the White House.

…………….. AMY GOODMAN: And, Reverend Graylan Hagler, if you can talk about what this truce would mean, as a minister in Washington, D.C., and senior adviser to the Fellowship of Conciliation? It seems that in the United States — this is unlike even the media in France, for example, and Germany — that negotiation is viewed as capitulation. In other places, it’s viewed as how to save the planet. But talk about what it would look like here and what your response was to yesterday’s joint session of Congress, to the plea that President Zelensky made, with his people under fire across Ukraine, what it means for President Biden to agree to send this Patriot missile system. Clearly, Zelensky, to laughter, has said he’ll be asking for more.

REV. GRAYLAN SCOTT HAGLER:………………………………………….. What we’re looking at is, in 1914, on Christmas Eve, in World War I, people came out of the trenches, combatants, and celebrated for a moment an atmosphere of peace. And we’re saying that that history is speaking to us right now and calling upon us right now to create an atmosphere where we can begin the road towards peace and reconciliation, because the issue is, is weapons are not going to take us there, and combatants are not going to take us there. It’s only when we sit down and say, “Enough is enough, and we need to reason from the heart and the spirit of justice.”

…………………..MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, I think it’s important to understand that Angela Merkel, in her interview, also said, “Why would Putin ever trust the West in peace negotiations?” Basically, using those peace negotiations not to stop the inflow of weapons into Ukraine, but to start pouring them in even more. And so, there is no trust on any side at this point.

But there is a need for negotiations. Both sides have staked out their positions, maximalist positions on each side, Zelensky now saying they want every inch of Donbas and all of Crimea back, and the Russians saying they now control and owned these four regions of Ukraine that they can’t even control on the battlefield. But these are positions for negotiations. But the call for negotiations has to come from Biden. And it is not happening. We see that after he met with Macron, the head of France, Macron said there are legitimate security interests of Russia that have to be taken into account. So that all has to be dealt with at the peace table.

And so, what we are saying with this Christmas truce call is that let’s be realistic with the American people. We keep pouring more money. Now it will be another $45 billion that will be approved by the end of this week. That’s over $100 billion, without a year going by, that could have been used for so many essential needs here in this country, and instead poured into a war that is not winnable on the battlefield. 

So, we need to be honest about this. And that’s why we have this call for a Christmas truce. That’s why Reverend Barber will be giving a Christmas Eve sermon on the moral imperative of a truce. That’s why we’re having a week of protests, starting January 13th; February 19th, the Libertarian Party and the People’s Party calling for a protest in Washington, D.C.; March 8th, International Women’s Day, an international call of women to say, “Stop this war, and end all wars.” That’s what we need to do.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to two clips of President Biden. This was the joint news conference that he held with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday afternoon at the White House.

…………… (Biden – ) the United States is committed to ensuring that the brave Ukrainian people can continue, continue to defend their country against Russian aggressions as long as it takes.

AMY GOODMAN: And Biden went on to indicate he would let Zelensky set the timetable for any negotiated settlement with Russia.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: It can succeed in the battlefield with our help, and the help of our European allies and others, so that if and when President Zelensky is ready to talk with the Russians, he will be able to succeed, as well, because he will have won on the battlefield……………………..

AMY GOODMAN: ………………………………….There’s also discussion that this moment that President Biden and President Zelensky have seized for Zelensky’s joint session of Congress address is right before the House changes hands to Republicans, because a number of Republicans — not clear if the House speaker will be McCarthy — are demanding that this money and weapons flow stop. How do you feel as a progressive antiwar activist — two things — being allied with far-right Republicans and, secondly, being called by some a Russian apologist?

MEDEA BENJAMIN: I feel that if I were in Russia, I would be in jail for protesting this war. I also feel terrible that my congresspeople in the Progressive Caucus were cowed and silenced. I think the 30 who signed on that letter, in their heart of hearts, probably believe that negotiations is the only way. And we have to pressure them more to come out and say that their original stance was right………………. So, it’s our job to put the pressure on our members of Congress, whether they’re Republican or Democrat, to come out with the only rational position right now.

The U.S., unfortunately, and the Biden administration, has been against negotiations, nixed the negotiations that were going on in late March, early April, and told the Ukrainians, basically, “You don’t have to negotiate, because we’re going to keep pouring more weapons in.” This is only helping the weapons companies, who actually were the sponsors of a reception at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C., on December 8th, brought to you by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. They are the ones who are getting rich in this. The Ukrainians are suffering. ………. …………………………………more https://www.democracynow.org/2022/12/22/christmas_truce_letter

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December 26, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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