600 Baltimore Ave # 303
Towson, MD 21204
September 13, 2018
Dear Representative Sarbanes:
As members of Prevent Nuclear War Maryland, we are writing to express my concerns, most of them are also the group’s concerns. First, let us inform you that on August 6, Hiroshima Day, the Baltimore City Council unanimously passed a Back From the Brink Resolution, the first large city in the USA to take a stand for preventing Nuclear War. BFTB is a national grassroots campaign seeking to fundamentally change U.S. nuclear weapons policy by laying out five common-sense steps that the United States should take to reform its current policy.
The five steps are as follows: Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first; Ending the sole, unchecked authority of any U.S. president to launch a nuclear attack; Taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert; Cancelling the plan to replace its entire nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons: and Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. On August 8, Los Angeles passed a similar resolution.
The Council’s resolution breaks down the cost to taxpayers: “Whereas just in the past year, Baltimoreans averaged $175 per capita for a ‘nuclear weapons war tax’ paying a collective “$107.5 million in federal taxes toward the cost of producing, deploying and maintaining nuclear weapons. Marylanders as a whole averaged $244 per capita, with the state collectively paying an estimated $1.45 billion in 2017 federal taxes toward our country’s cost of nuclear weapons.” These are tax dollars wasted on weapons which can never be used. Please consider entering Baltimore’s resolution in the Congressional Register.
On July 7, 2017 the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by 122 countries at the United Nations. While the United States was not a signatory, our government must be pressured into reducing the risk of nuclear war.
On July 24, you wrote this: “You will be pleased to know that I am a cosponsor of H.R. 669.” Yes, we and the group are very pleased. You also wrote about your support for the Iran nuclear agreement. And again we thank you for this. Please continue to be an advocate for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Another concern is U.S. involvement in ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Not one of these wars was authorized by Congress under the War Powers Act. Of most immediate concern is U.S. support for the Saudi Arabia/United Arab Emirates disastrous attacks on the people of Yemen. You are aware of the cholera epidemic and the famine taking place in Yemen.
Please do everything you can to stop the carnage, some of which is caused by military contractors like Lockheed Martin which provides bombs which are then used indiscriminately. Become a co-sponsor of H.Con.Res.81 - Directing the President pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution to remove United States Armed Forces from unauthorized hostilities in the Republic of Yemen.
As I am a constituent, I was tremendously disappointed that you voted for the NDAA, which gave the Trump Administration more dollars for warmongering than requested. This along with the massive tax cuts is a declaration of war on the poor and the middle class. Spending 60% of the discretionary budget on the military is money taken away from social services and infrastructure.
As you are aware, the Pentagon has not been audited since, I believe, 1961. Why is this agency rewarded with so many tax dollars which then cause us to be less safe?
Some of the rhetoric coming out of the White House is dangerous saber-rattling aimed at Syria. The situation in Idlib needs a strong U.S. government response to an impending offensive by the Syrian government and its allies. The United States should be supporting U.N. efforts to avoid a showdown in Idlib. The U.N. Secretary General called on the world community to prevent a full-scale battle that “would unleash a humanitarian nightmare unlike any seen in the blood soaked Syria conflict.” He called on all countries to support Turkish efforts for a complete ceasefire. In addition to supporting a ceasefire in Idlib, the U.S. can push for safe passage for civilians from areas engulfed in the fighting and for humanitarian access for organizations providing medical and food aid. The U.S. should also help provide aid funding for basic services including healthcare, education and clean water. The United States should also lift its woefully low caps on refugees from the region.
Another powder keg is John Bolton’s defamation of the International Criminal Court. There are 124 member countries of the international legal body. U.S. forces are alleged to have committed war crimes in Afghanistan, and Palestinians have called for an investigation of alleged crimes committed by Israeli forces during the 2014 attack on the Gaza Strip. Besides attacking the ICC, Bolton has been instrumental in punishing the Palestinians. Please endorse the ICC, and the right of Palestinians to ask for an ICC investigation.
CodePink has published a new report, War Profiteers: The U.S. War Machine and the Arming of Repressive Regimes, a handy guide to the companies that manufacture weapons. The report is primarily focused on Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon—the largest military manufacturers in the U.S., and their deals with Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Egypt.
I have been impressed by your resolve for campaign finance reform. As you are aware, there is a corrupting influence on Congress when military contractors make campaign donations to make members of Congress acquiescent to corporate interests. Please condemn the sales of U.S. weapons to acknowledged human rights abusers.
Thank you for understanding our concerns. We look forward to meeting with you in conversation about these extremely important issues.
Max Obuszewski, Apt. 206, 431 Notre Dame Lane, Baltimore, MD 21212
Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] comcast.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs