March 24, 2011

Tell Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: Use Diplomacy to Bring About a Ceasefire in Libya

Read Instead of Bombing Dictators, Stop Selling Them Bombs by Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis on Huffington Post

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We know that Muammar Gaddafi is a dictator and we support Libyan people who are rising up to oust him. But bringing in the cruise missiles to the “rescue”? No way! Our government's involvement should be to use creative diplomacy, negotiations, and international pressure, not war. The best thing the U.S. can do to support democracy in the Middle East is: Stop arming dictators.

Please join us in telling Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—a key player pushing for war in Libya—that we want an end to the bombing, an immediate ceasefire in Libya and an end to U.S. arms sales to the region's dictators.

Western nations were selling Gaddafi the weapons his regime has been using to suppress the Libyan people. In 2009 alone, European governments — including Britain and France — sold Libya more than $470 million worth of weapons. The Obama administration was working to provide the Libyan dictator another $77 million in weapons, on top of the $17 million it provided in 2009 and the $46 million the Bush administration provided in 2008. What is the message we send by bombing Gaddafi's forces while continuing to support brutal regimes in countries such as Yemen, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia?

The repressive government in Yemen has received more than $300 million in military aid from the U.S. over the last five years. U.S. military sales to Bahrain since 2000 total $1.4 billion. The monarchy of Saudi Arabia is set to receive $67 billion worth of weapons – the largest weapons deal in U.S. history.

The U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles fired into Libya are reportedly killing innocent civilians. According to The New York Times, European and US warplanes with “brutal efficiency” bombed “tanks, missile launches and civilian cars, leaving a smoldering trail of wreckage that stretched for miles.” The truth is that wars, even so-called humanitarian ones, entail destroying people and places. And innocents pay the price.

There's an easier, safer way to protect civilians from dictators than aerial bombardment: stop arming and propping up dictators. Send that message to Hillary Clinton, along with the call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya.

Once again, it's our job to be the voice of sanity that says, loudly and clearly, "War is not the answer."
Ali, Alli, C.J., Chelsea, Dara, Farida, Gayle, Janet, Jean, Jodie, Kristen, Medea, Nancy K, Nancy M, Natalia, Rae, Sanaa, Shaden, and Tighe

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