Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee





Mike Ferner



Leah Bolger

Vice – President


Kenneth Mayers



Gary May



Elliott Adams


William Collins


Anita Foster


Nate Goldshlag


Sharon Kufeldt


Patrick McCann


Michael Uhl


Hart Viges


Rev. Pierre Williams



Michael T. McPhearson

Executive Director



NATIONAL OFFICE: 216 S. Meramec Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63105

                PHONE: (314) 725-6005 FAX: (314) 725-7103 E-MAIL:



Working Together For Peace and Justice since 1985








December 9, 2009


Norwegian Nobel Committee
Henrik Ibsens gate 51
0255 OSLO


Dear Members of the Nobel Committee,

Our organization, Veterans For Peace, was asked to write you a letter to accompany the attached communication, signed by a broad representation of leaders of the U.S. peace movement. 

Forty-five years ago, your committee awarded the Peace Prize to a most deserving citizen of our country, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Please consider Dr. King's immortal words and our thoughts when you reflect on President Obama receiving Mr. Nobel's Peace Prize.

Most Sincerely,



Mike Ferner,


Veterans For Peace


Michael McPhearson

Executive Director        
Veterans For Peace                                          






December 9, 2009


An Open Letter to The Norwegian Nobel Committee.


On December 10, you will award the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama, citing “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.” We the undersigned are distressed that President Obama, so close upon his receipt of this honor, has opted to escalate the U.S. war in Afghanistan with the deployment of 30,000 additional troops. We regret that he could not be guided by the example of a previous Nobel Peace Laureate, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who identified his peace prize as “profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time -- the need for man [sic] to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression.”


President Obama has insisted that his troop escalation is a necessary response to dangerous instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but we reject the notion that military action will advance the region’s stability, or our own national security. In his peace prize acceptance speech, Dr. King observed that “Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts…man [sic] must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.” As people committed to end the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, we are filled with remorse by this new decision of our president, for it will not bring peace.


Declaring his opposition to the Vietnam War, Dr. King insisted that “no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war…We must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways… We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man [sic] of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.”


We pledge ourselves to mobilize our constituencies in the spirit of Dr. King’s nonviolent and committed example. His prophetic words will guide us as we assemble in the halls of Congress, in local offices of elected representatives, and in the streets of our cities and towns, protesting every proposal that will continue funding war. We will actively and publicly oppose the war funding which President Obama will soon seek from Congress and re-commit ourselves to the protracted struggle against U.S. war-making in Iraq and Afghanistan.


We assume that the Nobel Committee chose to award President Obama the peace prize in full awareness of the vision offered by Dr. King’s acceptance speech. We also understand that the Nobel committee may now regret that decision in light of recent developments, as we believe that the committee should be reluctant to present an Orwellian message equating peace with war. When introducing the President, the Committee should, at the very least, exhibit a level of compassion and humility by drawing attention to this distressing ambiguity.


We will do all we can to ensure that popular pressure will soon bring President Obama to an acceptance of the duties which this prize, and even more his electoral mandate to be a figure of change, impose upon him.  He must end the catastrophic policies of occupation and war that have caused so much destruction, so many deaths and displacements, and so much injury to our own democratic traditions.


This prize is not a meaningless honor.  We pledge, ourselves obeying its call to nonviolent action, to make our President worthy of it.





Jack Amoureux – Board of Directors

Military Families Speak Out


Medea Benjamin – Co-Founder, Global Exchange


Frida Berrigan – Witness Against Torture


Elaine Brower – World Can’t Wait

Leslie Cagan – Co-Founder

United for Peace and Justice


Bob Cooke – Regional Coordinator

Pax Christi USA, Pax Christi Metro, DC and Baltimore



Tom Cornell – Catholic Peace Fellowship


Matt Daloisio – War Resisters League


Marie Dennis – Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns


Laurie Dobson – Director, End US Wars


Mike Ferner – National President

Veterans For Peace


Joy First- Convener

National Campaign for Non-Violent Resistance


Sara Flounders – International Action Center


Diana Gibson – Christian Peace Witness


Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb – Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence


David Hartsough – Peaceworkers, San Francisco


Mike Hearington – Georgia Peace & Justice Coalition


Kimber J. Heinz – Organizing Coordinator

War Resisters League


Mark Johnson – Director

 Fellowship of Reconciliation


Kathy Kelly – Co-coordinator

Voices for Creative Non-Violence


Leslie Kielson – Co-Chair

United for Peace and Justice


Malachy Kilbride – National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance


Kevin Martin – Executive Director

Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund


Linda LeTendre – Saratoga [New York] Peace Alliance


Michael T. McPhearson – National Executive Director, Veterans For Peace


Gael Murphy – Co-Founder, Code Pink


Sheila Musaji – The American Muslim


Michael Nagler – Founder

Metta Center for Nonviolence


Max Obuszewski – Pledge of Resistance Baltimore and Baltimore Nonviolence Center


Pete Perry – Peace of the Action


Dave Robinson, Executive Director

Pax Christi


David Swanson –


Terry Rockefeller – Families for Peaceful Tomorrows


Samina Sundas – Founding Executive Director

The American Muslim Voice


Nancy Tsou – Coordinator, Rockland Coalition for Peace and Justice


Diane Turco – Cape Codders for Peace and Justice


Marge Van Cleef – Womens International League for Peace and Freedom


Jose Vasquez – Executive Director

Iraq Veterans Against the War


Craig Wiesner

 Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice


Scott Wright – Pax Christi Metro DC - Baltimore


Kevin Zeese – Executive Director

Voters for Peace


Along with delivering this open letter to the Nobel Peace Committee, activists will present it at a rally in Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. on Saturday, December 12th, 11 – 4, www.


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at]


"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


No comments: