The State Board of Nebraskans for Peace has issued the following statement about ISIS and the actions the United States needs to take to constructively address this crisis. We are asking our membership to please contact their federal elected officials and urge them to oppose President Obama's war authorization. You can find the contact information for our Nebraska federal officials by clicking HERE.

“Every act, whether it be individual or corporate, must be judged as right or wrong based solely on whether it enhances or diminishes the life of another. If our actions diminish another, it also diminishes us." John Shelby Spong, a retired American bishop of the Episcopal Church. 

Nebraskans for Peace opposes the authorization to go to war against ISIS submitted by the administration and presently being considered by Congress. For some time now, many NFP members have displayed yard signs, which say, “War is not the answer.” We do believe that war is not the answer in this context, despite the brutal character of ISIS and its very public killings of prisoners and hostages, contrary to international law. ISIS is an insurgency that has taken over in areas of the Middle East that the United States and Europe have destabilized – especially northern Iraq, eastern Syria and parts of Libya impoverished by the West’s destruction of the areas’ economic, social, and life-sustaining infrastructures (water treatment, sewage treatment, electrical grids, roads, bridges, industries, hospitals) by bombing and a long period of sanctions. In the case of northern Iraq, the United States initially destabilized the area with our war on Saddam Hussein and then helped to install and support the Shiite al-Maliki government that favored the Shia over the Sunni and failed to provide fair government to the Sunnis in northern Iraq.

On the Syrian side of the border, ISIS has taken over much of eastern Syria partly because of the failure of Sunni moderate groups opposing Assad and partly because American bombing in eastern Syria has driven many moderate groups into the arms of ISIS. Libya has had a similar history since its revolution (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/23/us-air-strikes-syra-driving-anti-assad-groups-support-isis).

ISIS came into existence partly because of the incompetence and brutality of past U.S. client governments and past U.S. military policy, and it continues to exist because of the oil money it receives from stolen oil, the financial support it receives from princes in surrounding Arab states, the absence of employment for young men in the region and competent governments in the area. Any continuation of this failed and bankrupting military strategy will likely spread ‘ISIS-like’ groups across the Middle East and into the rest of the world, as has the defeat of al-Qaida in Afghanistan. We may destroy everything in the ISIS area and still not defeat the ISIS idea – precisely the tactical trap that ISIS wishes the United States to blunder into.

Ultimately, we need to support the development of better governments in Sunni areas long neglected and the use of fiscal tools to control the flow of money and arms to insurgent groups. The international community must urgently begin work to demythologize the radical ISIS ideology that is attracting so many quixotic youth from around the world (90 countries), and the U.S. itself must encourage our regional partners in the region to act in concert to roll back the gains that ISIS has made and create and/or support good government in the area generally. NFP abhors ISIS’ execution of innocent civilians and foreigners, including Americans – but that does not justify America’s killing of thousands of innocent people in the ISIS-controlled areas on the grounds that we are eliminating ISIS. We will not eliminate an idea, however repugnant, by military means, and we should guard against becoming the evil we condemn. Finally, since ISIS is a cross-border phenomenon, international law requires that the United Nations and its panels be actively involved in seeking solutions of the problems in its areas.

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