Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Coming War on China














The greatest build-up of American-led military forces since the Second World War is well under way.

By John Pilger

Dec 6, 2016 - When I first went to Hiroshima in 1967, the shadow on the steps was still there. It was an almost perfect impression of a human being at ease: legs splayed, back bent, one hand by her side as she sat waiting for a bank to open. At a quarter past eight on the morning of 6 August, 1945, she and her silhouette were burned into the granite. I stared at the shadow for an hour or more, unforgettably. When I returned many years later, it was gone: taken away, “disappeared”, a political embarrassment.

I have spent two years making a documentary film, The Coming War on China, in which the evidence and witnesses warn that nuclear war is no longer a shadow, but a contingency. The greatest build-up of American-led military forces since the Second World War is well under way. They are in the northern hemisphere, on the western borders of Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific, confronting China.

The great danger this beckons is not news, or it is buried and distorted: a drumbeat of mainstream fake news that echoes the psychopathic fear embedded in public consciousness during much of the 20th century.

Like the renewal of post-Soviet Russia, the rise of China as an economic power is declared an “existential threat” to the divine right of the United States to rule and dominate human affairs.

To counter this, in 2011 President Obama announced a “pivot to Asia”, which meant that almost two-thirds of US naval forces would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific by 2020. Today, more than 400 American military bases encircle China with missiles, bombers, warships and, above all, nuclear weapons. From Australia north through the Pacific to Japan, Korea and across Eurasia to Afghanistan and India, the bases form, says one US strategist, “the perfect noose.”

A study by the RAND Corporation – which, since Vietnam, has planned America’s wars – is entitled, War with China: Thinking Through the Unthinkable. Commissioned by the US Army, the authors evoke the cold war when RAND made notorious the catch cry of its chief strategist, Herman Kahn -- “thinking the unthinkable”. Kahn’s book, On Thermonuclear War, elaborated a plan for a “winnable” nuclear war against the Soviet Union.

Today, his apocalyptic view is shared by those holding real power in the United States: the militarists and neo-conservatives in the executive, the Pentagon, the intelligence and “national security” establishment and Congress.

The current Secretary of Defense, Ashley Carter, a verbose provocateur, says U.S. policy is to confront those “who see America’s dominance and want to take that away from us.”

Friday, December 2, 2016

Trump Picks 'Mad Dog' Mattis for Defense Secretary

Donald Trump and James Mattis

President-elect Donald Trump and retired Gen. James Mattis after the two men met in New Jersey late last month. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

"It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling," said Gen. James Mattis about American invasion of Afghanistan

By Nika Knight
Common Dreams

President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Marine Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis, who once bragged about how much he enjoyed killing people, for Secretary of Defense.

"It's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them," Mattis said about Afghan men, when asked in 2005 about the people of Afghanistan. (Mattis led the Marines in the 2001 American invasion of Afghanistan.)
"Actually it's quite fun to fight them, you know," Mattis continued. "It's a hell of a hoot. It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling."

Mattis, who retired in 2013, today believes that "political Islam" is one of the greatest threats to the nation's security, reports the Washington Post.

Trump announced his pick at a rally in Ohio on Thursday evening.

Friday, November 4, 2016

An Open Letter to Undecided Voters: A Nuclear-Armed Trump is the #1 Threat to National Security


By Peace Action on November 1, 2016
There is nothing safe about nuclear weapons, but these weapons become immediately more dangerous when placed in the hands of an unpredictable bully like Trump. No one person should be able to unilaterally launch nuclear weapons, as any president is currently able to do, and while we must work to change that policy, the immediate question before us is whether or not to give Donald Trump the ability to start a nuclear war and end life as we know it. The answer is quite clearly Not. That’s why we’ve joined others in writing this letter to undecided voters urging them to take into account the risk of Donald Trump having his finger on the nuclear button.

The full text of the letter is below:

We, the undersigned organizations, represent millions of Americans. Our issues are many and our approaches are diverse. We seek to advance international security, environmental and racial justice, immigration reform, sensible gun control laws, and rights for our veterans.

You, as an undecided voter, are one of millions of Americans sitting on the fence. You’re not sure who you should vote for come November 8th. Maybe you’re wondering if you should vote at all. And with this race tighter than ever, your decision will determine the next President.

The list of reasons not to vote for Donald Trump is long. There’s also a good chance many items on that list (like the issues we work on) aren’t the ones that compel you to get up and vote. But we are coming together now to talk to you about the one that should: Donald Trump and nuclear weapons.

There is no more urgent threat to Americans — and the world — than Donald Trump with absolute power over our nuclear arsenal. As President, he will have total authority over more than 4,500 of these devastating weapons of mass destruction. If a President Trump ordered a nuclear strike, no one could stop him. He could kill hundreds of millions of people at the push of a button — and provoke a response that could utterly destroy the United States.

A nuclear-armed Trump is the greatest threat to national security in recent memory.

This view is backed by leading security experts, diplomats, and the American public. Leaders from both parties, including 50 GOP national security officials, warn that Trump isn’t fit to command our nuclear arsenal and would put the nation at risk. 75 former ambassadors say that he is ignorant of the complex challenges of nuclear proliferation. Americans agree: only 27% trust him with nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump himself has repeatedly demonstrated that he does not have the temperament, the discipline, or the expertise to be our Commander-in-Chief. Time and again, he has shown himself easily baited and quick to lash out, dismissive of expert consultation, ill-informed of even basic international and military affairs. He alienates our allies and emboldens our enemies. His racist and xenophobic rhetoric endangers vulnerable populations and incites violence at home and abroad.

There is a long public record documenting the inflammatory statements Trump has made about nuclear weapons. 

Here are just a few:

In August, Donald Trump reportedly asked “If we have nuclear weapons, why can’t we use them?” three times in a 1-hour policy briefing.

When told that no one wants to hear an American president asserting he would use nuclear weapons, Trump asked “Then why are we making them? Why do we make them?”
Contradicting decades of U.S. foreign policy, he has said more countries — like South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia — should develop their own nuclear weapons.

He has refused to rule out dropping nuclear weapons on Europe because “Europe is a big place.”

Donald Trump’s reckless nuclear posturing is made all the more terrifying by the fact that our nuclear system would let him do exactly what he’s threatened, and more. It is built for first-strike and quick-launch at the president’s sole discretion. There are no checks or balances. There is nothing between President Trump’s itchy trigger finger and civilization-ending weapons. No requirement even for him to explain his decision to use them.

There’s a lot riding on this election, but one thing is clear: Donald Trump is a nuclear catastrophe waiting to happen, and that’s a risk we just can’t take.

That’s why we’re calling on undecided American voters to vote for security, and do not vote for Donald Trump.

Talk to your friends and family about why you’re terrified at the prospect of Trump’s fingers on the button. Polls have shown Americans are most concerned about the nuclear issue when it comes to a potential President Trump, so we know it will resonate. Organize and mobilize your community to turn out the vote and stop Donald Trump from becoming president.

Our country needs you. Vote against a nuclear armed Trump. Our future is in your hands.

Daily Kos
Global Zero Action
Not Who We Are
Peace Action
Women’s Action for New Direction

Monday, October 17, 2016

22 US House Democrats Press Obama to Adopt 'No-First-Use' Nuclear Weapons Policy

Barbara Lee, PDA and the Congressional Progressive Caucus Took the Initiative

By: Joe Gould

Defense News
Oct 13, 2016 - WASHINGTON — Twenty-two more US House lawmakers are calling on President Barack Obama to adopt a policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons, part of a tide of Democratic lawmakers pushing for restraint on atomic arms as the sun sets on the current administration. 

With relations between Washington and Moscow historically tense and unpredictable this week, the lawmakers in a letter to Obama on Thursday expressed worry over the two nations’ launch-under-attack postures and “the risk of catastrophic miscalculation and full-scale nuclear war.” 

“As you know, were the United States to exercise its contingency plans to use nuclear weapons first in a conflict against a nuclear-armed adversary, a full-scale nuclear exchange could ensue, killing thousands of civilians,” the letter reads. “For the security and safety of the world, military options that can spiral towards mutually assured destruction should not be on the table.” 

Thursday’s letter was led by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., the Peace and Security Task Force chair for the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Another signatory was Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn. Ellison is the caucus’ co-chair and his party’s chief deputy whip in the House.

A no-first-use policy would minimize the need for "first strike” weapons, they argue in the letter, including the next-generation nuclear-armed cruise missile and intercontinental ballistic missiles, "which could generate significant cost savings and lead other nuclear-armed states to make similar calculations."

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With Russia

NATO exercise

US Army soldiers deployed in Estonia (Reuters / Ints Kalnins)

Massive military exercises and a troop buildup on NATO’s eastern flank reflect a dangerous new strategy.

By Michael T. Klare

The Nation

For the first time in a quarter-century, the prospect of war—real war, war between the major powers—will be on the agenda of Western leaders when they meet at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, on July 8 and 9. Dominating the agenda in Warsaw (aside, of course, from the “Brexit” vote in the UK) will be discussion of plans to reinforce NATO’s “eastern flank”—the arc of former Soviet partners stretching from the Baltic states to the Black Sea that are now allied with the West but fear military assault by Moscow. Until recently, the prospect of such an attack was given little credence in strategic circles, but now many in NATO believe a major war is possible and that robust defensive measures are required. 

In what is likely to be its most significant move, the Warsaw summit is expected to give formal approval to a plan to deploy four multinational battalions along the eastern flank—one each in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Although not deemed sufficient to stop a determined Russian assault, the four battalions would act as a “tripwire,” thrusting soldiers from numerous NATO countries into the line of fire and so ensuring a full-scale, alliance-wide response. This, it is claimed, will deter Russia from undertaking such a move in the first place or ensure its defeat should it be foolhardy enough to start a war. 

The United States, of course, is deeply involved in these initiatives. Not only will it supply many of the troops for the four multinational battalions, but it is also taking many steps of its own to bolster NATO’s eastern flank. Spending on the Pentagon’s “European Reassurance Initiative” will quadruple, climbing from $789 million in 2016 to $3.4 billion in 2017. Much of this additional funding will go to the deployment, on a rotating basis, of an additional armored-brigade combat team in northern Europe. 

As a further indication of US and NATO determination to prepare for a possible war with Russia, the alliance recently conducted the largest war games in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War. Known as Anakonda 2016, the exercise involved some 31,000 troops (about half of them Americans) and thousands of combat vehicles from 24 nations in simulated battle maneuvers across the breadth of Poland. A parallel naval exercise, BALTOPS 16, simulated “high-end maritime warfighting” in the Baltic Sea, including in waters near Kaliningrad, a heavily defended Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania. 

All of this—the aggressive exercises, the NATO buildup, the added US troop deployments—reflects a new and dangerous strategic outlook in Washington. Whereas previously the strategic focus had been on terrorism and counterinsurgency, it has now shifted to conventional warfare among the major powers. “Today’s security environment is dramatically different than the one we’ve been engaged in for the last 25 years,” observed Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on February 2, when unveiling the Pentagon’s $583 billion budget for fiscal year 2017. Until recently, he explained, American forces had largely been primed to defeat insurgent and irregular forces, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now, however, the Pentagon was being readied for “a return to great-power competition,” including the possibility of all-out combat with “high-end enemies” like Russia and China. (continued)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sleepwalking into a Big War

Soldiers rehearsing for this year’s 9 May Victory Day parade in Moscow Sefa Karacan / Anadolu Agency / Getty
West fearful as it loses military advantage

The major powers are planning for war and claim that’s the best way to defend against war. Will this mutual hawkishness lead to armed conflict?

by Michael T Klare
Le Monde Diplomatique
September, 2016

As the US presidential race approaches its climax and European officials ponder the implications of the UK’s Brexit vote, public discussion of security affairs is largely confined to strategies for combating international terrorism. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are trying to persuade voters of their superior qualifications to lead this battle, while European leaders scramble to bolster their countries’ defences against homegrown extremists. 

But though talk of terrorism fills the news media and the political space, it is secondary in the conversations of generals, admirals and defence ministers: it’s not low-level conflict that commands their attention but rather what they call ‘big wars’ — large-scale, high-level conflict with great-power adversaries like Russia and China. Such major conflicts, long considered most unlikely, are now deemed ‘plausible’ by western military strategists, who claim that urgent steps are needed to deter and, if necessary, prevail in such engagements. 

This development, overlooked by the media, has serious consequences, starting with heightened tension between Russia and the West, each eyeing the other in the expectation of a confrontation. More worrying is the fact that many politicians believe that war is not only possible, but may break out at any moment — a view that historically has tended to precipitate military responses where diplomatic solutions might have been possible. 

The origins of this thinking can be found in the reports and comments of senior military officials (typically at professional meetings and conferences). ‘In both Brussels and Washington, it has been many years since Russia was a focus of defence planning’ but that ‘has now changed for the foreseeable future,’ states one such report, summarising the views at a workshop organised in 2015 by the Institute of National Strategic Studies (INSS), a branch of the US National Defence University. The report says that as a result of Russian aggression in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, many defence experts ‘can now envision a plausible pathway to war’ and this, in turn, ‘has led defence planners to recognise the need for renewed focus of the possibility of confrontation and conflict with Moscow’ (1).
‘A return to great power competition’
Such a conflict would be most likely to occur on NATO’s eastern front, encompassing Poland and the Baltic states, and would be fought with high-tech conventional weapons. But these planners also postulate that it could encompass Scandinavia and the Black Sea region, and might escalate into the nuclear realm. So US and European strategists are calling for a build-up of western military capabilities in all of these regions and for moves to enhance the credibility of NATO’s tactical nuclear options (2). A recent article in the NATO Review calls for the increased inclusion of nuclear-capable aircraft in future NATO military exercises, to create uncertainty in Russian minds about the point at which NATO commanders might order nuclear strikes to counter any Russian breakthrough on the eastern front (and presumably deter such an assault) (3). 

This way of thinking, though confined until recently to military academies and thinktanks, has begun to shape government policy in significant and alarming ways. We see this in the new US defence budget, in decisions adopted at the NATO summit in July, and in the UK’s July decision to renew the Trident nuclear missile programme. 

US defence secretary Ash Carter said the new budget ‘marks a major inflection point for the Department of Defence.’ Whereas the department had been focused in recent years ‘on large-scale counter-insurgency operations,’ it must now prepare for ‘a return to great power competition,’ possibly involving all-out conflict with a ‘high-end enemy’ such as Russia or China. These countries, Carter declared, ‘are our most stressing competitors,’ possessing advanced weapons that could neutralise some US advantages. To overcome this challenge, ‘we must have — and be seen to have — the ability to impose unacceptable costs on an advanced aggressor that will either dissuade them from taking provocative action or make them deeply regret it if they do’ (4). 

In the short term, this will require urgent action to bolster US capacity to counter a potential Russian assault on NATO positions in eastern Europe. Under its European Reassurance Initiative, the Pentagon will spend $3.4bn in fiscal 2017 to deploy an extra armoured combat brigade in Europe and to pre-position the arms and equipment for yet another brigade. To bolster US strength over the long term, there would be greater US spending on high-tech conventional weapons needed to defeat a high-end enemy, such as advanced combat aircraft, surface ships and submarines. Carter noted that, on top of this, ‘the budget also invests in modernising our nuclear deterrent’ (5). It’s hard not to be struck by echoes of the cold war.

The final communiqué adopted by the NATO heads of state and government in Warsaw on 9 July is also reminiscent of this era (6). Coming just a few days after the Brexit vote, the NATO summit drowned out any concerns over disarray in Europe with a stentorian anti-Russian attitude. ‘Russia’s recent activities and policies have reduced stability and security, increased unpredictability and changed the security environment,’ says the communiqué. As a result, NATO remains ‘open to political dialogue’ but must not only suspend ‘all practical civilian and military cooperation’ with Russia but also take steps to enhance its ‘deterrence and defence posture’ (7). 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Those Who Benefit from Endless War


Thursday, June 2, 2016

How Many Trillion More Will the Pentagon Spend on Middle East Wars Before They Confront the Disaster They've Created?

By Andrew Bacevich
TomDispatch via Alternet

May 31, 2016 - We have it on highest authority: the recent killing of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan marks [3] “an important milestone.” So the president of the United States has declared, with that claim duly echoed and implicitly endorsed by media commentary—the New York Times reporting [4], for example, that Mansour’s death leaves the Taliban leadership “shocked” and “shaken.”
But a question remains: A milestone toward what exactly?

Toward victory? Peace? Reconciliation? At the very least, toward the prospect of the violence abating? Merely posing the question is to imply that U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Islamic world serve some larger purpose.

Yet for years now that has not been the case. The assassination of Mansour instead joins a long list of previous milestones, turning points, and landmarks briefly heralded as significant achievements only to prove much less than advertised.

One imagines that Obama himself understands this perfectly well. Just shy of five years ago, he was urging Americans to “take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding.” In Iraq and Afghanistan, the president insisted, “the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance.”

“These long wars,” he promised [5], were finally coming to a “responsible end.” We were, that is, finding a way out of Washington’s dead-end conflicts in the Greater Middle East.
Who can doubt Obama’s sincerity, or question his oft-expressed wish to turn away from war and focus instead on unattended needs here at home? But wishing is the easy part. Reality has remained defiant. Even today, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that George W. Bush bequeathed to Obama show no sign of ending.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Barbara Lee Recognizes Vietnam Peace Movement In House Resolution

By Tom Hayden
Democracy Journal
April 21, 2016 - Rep. Barbara Lee has introduced a House Resolution (H.Res.695) recognizing the Vietnam anti-war movement as, “one of the largest and most prolonged efforts to achieve peace and justice in recent generations and was critical to bringing an end to the war.” Rep. John Conyers became a co-sponsor as an effort begins to seek endorsements from other congressional representatives.
The Lee resolution is a direct result of last year’s May 1-2 commemoration of the movement at a conference in Washington DC. 
The peace resolution will draw the ire of Republicans and reluctance of some Democrats. The Vietnam peace movement is the only Sixties movement that has been marginalized instead of memorialized. Yet it was a life-changing experience for many during the war, including thousands of soldiers and veterans, and the US government has tried to stamp out what they call “the Vietnam Syndrome.”

The Lee Resolution is an organizing tool for anyone wanting to respond to the Pentagon’s recent false narrative of history on its website. If grass-roots organizers visit, engage and petition their congressional offices, there is a strong chance for reinvigorating the continuing debate over Vietnam. 

Next site of the debate: April 26-28th in Austin, Texas, the Vietnam War Summit presented by the LBJ Presidential Library, with a keynotes by Henry Kissinger and John Kerry, and panel with Tom Hayden, Marilyn Young, and David Maraniss titled, "The War At Home".

Also join me May 7 at Skylight Books in LA for my conversation with  this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, author Viet Thanh Nguyen while we discuss his new book NOTHING EVER DIES: VIETNAM AND THE MEMORY OF WAR. (Text of Resolution Below)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Kurds are now key to a Middle East solution



Powers great and small must contend with group’s demands as never before, writes Henri Barkey

By Henri Barkey
Financial Times
Feb 25, 2016 - The Kurds have never been as influential in the Middle East as they are today. They hold the balance of power in Iraq and Syria, and are in the midst of an insurrection in Turkey. But this Kurdish awakening is different from previous ones — in Iraq in the 1970s or Turkey in the 1990s. Powers great and small have to contend with Kurdish demands as never before.

The US finds itself reluctantly drawn into this Kurdish denouement; it needs the Kurds as much as it needs the Turks in its efforts to defeat Isis, the jihadi group. Yet America’s primary ally in Syria, the Kurdish Democratic Union party (PYD), is being bombarded by its longstanding Nato ally, Turkey. The PYD has proven itself to be the most, if not the only, effective force against Isis; almost all the territory the jihadis have lost since conquering parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014 has been to PYD militias working in tandem with the US air force. The Turks consider the PYD, which is intimately linked to the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), as nothing more than a terrorist organisation.
While the US cannot satisfy all parties, the current conundrum also offers opportunities to Washington to push for a grand bargain between Turkey on the one hand and the Syrian and Turkish Kurds on the other that would benefit all sides involved in the region, as well as the US and its struggle against Isis.

There is also a sense of urgency as Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, mired in his own controversial effort to transform the Turkish republic from a parliamentary system into a presidential one that would give him wide if not unlimited powers, engages in a dangerous game of brinkmanship.

He has raised the political ante not just by shelling PYD positions in Syria — shells are designed to hurt the PYD as much as disrupt the PYD-American relationship — but also attributing a recent terrorist attack in Ankara to the PYD, despite the latter’s denials and the rest of the world’s disbelief. Turkey does not want to differentiate between the PKK and the PYD, despite the efforts of PYD leader Salih Muslim to convince the Turks that the group has no design on Turkish territory and, on the contrary, seeks to co-operate with Ankara.

What worries Mr Erdogan is that in three of the countries with sizeable Kurdish minorities — Turkey, Iraq and Syria — the Kurds are on the move. Only in Iran has the regime been more or less successful in holding down overt manifestations of Kurdish nationalism, and then only through repression.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

War, Peace, and Bernie Sanders

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaking in 2013 at the Civil Rights Luncheon during AFGE's annual Legislative Conference. (Photo: AFGE/flickr/cc)

By Robert C Koehler

Common Dreams

It’s the day after the big vote and I’m doing my best to dig Tulsi Gabbard’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders out from beneath the pile of Super Tuesday numbers and media declarations of winners and losers.

As a Boston Globe headline put it: “Clinton and Trump are now the presumptive nominees. Get used to it.”

But something besides winning and losing still matters, more than ever, in the 2016 presidential race. War and peace and a fundamental questioning of who we are as a nation are actually on the line in this race, or could be — for the first time since 1972, when George McGovern was the Democratic presidential nominee.

Embrace what matters deeply and there’s no such thing as losing.

Gabbard, an Iraq war vet, congresswoman from Hawaii and “rising star” in the Democratic establishment, stepped down as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee in order to endorse Sanders — because he’s the only candidate who is not financially and psychologically tied to the military-industrial complex.

“As a veteran of two Middle East deployments, I know firsthand the cost of war,” she said, cracking the mainstream silence on U.S. militarism. “As a vice chair of the DNC, I am required to stay neutral in democratic primaries, but I cannot remain neutral any longer. The stakes are just too high.”

Because of Gabbard — only because of Gabbard — the multi-trillion-dollar monstrosity of U.S. militarism is getting a little mainstream media attention amid the reality-TV histrionics of this year’s presidential race, the Donald Trump phenomenon and the spectacle of Republican insult-flinging.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bernie Sanders: The 2016 Peace Candidate

By Lawrence S. Wittner
History News Network

Feb. 12, 2016 - On February 10, 2016, Peace Action—the largest peace organization in the United States—announced its endorsement of Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination for President.

Peace Action is the descendant of two other mass U.S. peace organizations:  the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and the Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign (the Freeze).  SANE was founded in 1957 with the goal of ending nuclear weapons testing.  Soon, though, it broadened its agenda to include opposing the Vietnam War and other overseas military intervention, reducing military spending, and backing nuclear disarmament treaties, as well as supporting economic conversion from military to civilian production.  Among SANE’s early supporters were Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Walter Reuther, and Dr. Benjamin Spock.  The Freeze, initiated by Randy Forsberg, appeared in the late 1970s and reached a peak in the first half of the 1980s, when it led a widespread campaign to halt the Reagan administration’s dramatic nuclear weapons buildup and the dangerous slide toward nuclear war.  With much in common, SANE and the Freeze merged in 1987 to form Peace Action.  Like its predecessors, Peace Action devoted its efforts to building a more peaceful world.

Although the three peace organizations rarely endorsed Presidential candidates, they did so on occasion.  Appalled by the Vietnam War, SANE backed the peace campaigns of Eugene McCarthy in 1968 and George McGovern in 1972.  In 1984, challenging the Reagan administration’s bellicose approach to international affairs, SANE and the Freeze endorsed Walter Mondale.  Then, in 1992, fed up with twelve years of Republican hawkishness, the newly-combined organization threw its support behind Bill Clinton.
In its statement endorsing Bernie Sanders, Peace Action praised his opposition to both Iraq wars, support of legislation to reduce spending on nuclear weapons, strong backing of the Iran agreement, votes to curb military spending, and championing of diplomacy over war.  According to Kevin Martin, the executive director of the peace organization, Sanders “best represents the values that Peace Action and its 200,000 supporters have espoused.”  And, in fact, before Peace Action’s board of directors voted overwhelmingly to have the organization’s Peace PAC back the Sanders campaign, an online poll of Peace Action’s members revealed support for endorsement by 85 percent of the respondents.