Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Activists to Blumenthal: Stop Supporting War

By Reginald Johnson

      HARTFORD --- A coalition of peace activists is criticizing U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn for supporting President Trump’s recent decision to launch a missile attack on Syria.

    Members of the Connecticut Peace and Solidarity Coalition recently submitted petitions to Sen. Blumenthal’s office saying that the attack only served to kill more people, make more enemies and contribute to more terrorism.

   “Your support for President Trump’s bombing emboldens the recklessness of military escalation. It emboldens Trump’s wars on Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen. It enables Trump to threaten war with North Korea, China, Russia and the world,” the petition said.
  The group also wrote that by endorsing the missile strikes, Blumenthal was “in actuality” supporting Trump’s proposal to expand the approximately $600 billion military budget by $54 billion. This means more war and less money for social programs like Meals on Wheels, school lunches, food stamps, Medicare and Medicaid, they said.

   “Bombing abroad kills us at home,” the petition reads.

   The statement implores Blumenthal to "Stop Supporting Wars" and "Fund Our Cities."

Peace activists confront Sen. Richard Blumenthal over his support for Syrian missile strikes.

 President Trump ordered the missile strike on April 7 in response to what the administration claimed was a “chemical weapons attack” by the Assad government in Syria days earlier that killed more than 100 people.

  Trump’s decision to launch the strike --- consisting of 59 Tomahawk missiles fired from two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean at a Syrian airfield --- has won bi-partisan support.

  Blumenthal issued a statement saying that the U.S. attack “sent a message to the murderous Assad regime and his enablers, Russia and Iran.”

    However, the senator did question the legality of the missile strike, since there was no congressional authorization and also noted that the administration needed a broader strategy for dealing with Syria.

   Days after the American strike, members of the coalition decided to protest outside Blumenthal’s office at Statehouse Square and submit the petitions.  The senator heard about the activists gathering and came outside for a brief meeting with the group before he headed off for another appointment.

   Blumenthal listened politely to various comments questioning the U.S. assault, but gave no ground.

  Steve Krevisky, a professor at Middlesex Community College told Blumenthal he was skeptical about the claim that Syrian government forces were responsible for the chemical attack. He noted that initial claims that Assad had used chemical weapons in 2013 --- which nearly prompted an American military response at that time --- were proven wrong after an investigation.

  Blumenthal commented, however, that “there is a lot of evidence” that Assad was guilty this time.

 Henry Lowendorf, of the Greater New Haven Peace Council, also said how the Iraq war – which left hundreds of thousands dead, millions of people displaced and spawned ISIS terrorism ---  was based on the false assertion that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

  “We’re not getting the truth,” he said.

  He also lamented the fact that Congress keeps paying for massive military appropriations, which underwrite the cost of wars.

  “You can’t say stop the wars as long as Congress keeps signing the checks,” he said. 

   “Right,” said Blumenthal, then saying “believe it or not, I have another appointment to go to.”

  The senator said he was glad he had a chance to speak with the group and then left.

Demanding an end to U.S. intervention in Syria

  Asked later how he felt the impromptu meeting with Blumenthal had gone, Lowendorf said, “I think Senator Blumenthal listened to us as best he could, but I don’t think he hears us. I think what he hears is the military-industrial complex, and that’s what he supports.”

   Krevisky said that going forward, “we need to be out there mobilizing” against war. “A lot of us were part of the Vietnam era protests, and they had a very big impact. We need to be out there in large numbers. A lot of us feel that way and that’s why we set up the Connecticut Peace and Solidarity Coalition, to achieve something like that.”
(The next meeting of the Connecticut Peace and Solidarity Coalition is Saturday, May 13, 10 a,m.-12 noon in the student lounge at Middlesex Community College in Middletown. For information contact Joe Wasserman at, or Steve Krevisky at or Henry Lowendorf at