At the August 16 STAR✦PAC event featuring Maria Filippone and Isaac Christiansen, we learned a lot about the dire conditions being experienced in Gaza with a likely worsening of conditions until it becomes uninhabitable by 2020. Here are some documents that provide further resources and things you can do to address the situation.
We sponsored a two hour forum on Sunday, May 15, featuring the four Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate from Iowa. Rodger Routh, Routh Video Production, has edited the following video down to the fifteen questions posed followed by each candidate's response. We thank Rodger for his fine work in providing this recap to be shared.
(Click on the button below to open a document that lists the questions with the elapsed time on the tape where the question was asked. Once the tape begins replaying, use this information to navigate to the spots on the tape that are of the most interest to you.)
The forum was moderated by Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, who posed the questions on behalf of STAR*PAC and our ten co-sponsoring organizations. The candidates are Tom Fiegen, Clarence; Rob Hogg, Cedar Rapids; Patty Judge, Albia; and Bob Krause, Fairfield.
This blog entry is submitted by STAR*PAC Central Committee member Jan Corderman who is also a leading member of the Des Moines Branch of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
Rape as a weapon of war. Rape is one of the "rules of war"--a widespread and systematic feature of armed conflict—one of the no-cost “spoils of war” that generals bestow upon their soldiers. While rape is certainly not a new weapon of war, women in Iraq and Syria are the targets of brutal oppression and sexual attacks perpetrated by the self-defined Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Among horrible acts too numerous to track, April 14 marked two years since nearly 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped from their school dormitory in Chibok, Nigeria by ISIS affiliated Boko Haram.
STAR*PAC believes the world can put an end to rape as a weapon of war.
There are new efforts to stop this most shameful consequence of conflict. The Boko Haram kidnapping sparked the global "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign. Main stream press in this country is paying attention including Time magazine’s article in their April 18 issue that argued the silence about this crime must end. The legal community has done its work to make clear that rape is recognized as a form of torture in international law--ISIS’s and their allies’ use of sexual slavery can be treated as a war crime, point-blank.
Last July a consortium of 56 international human-rights, legal, medical, and religious groups from 22 countries petitioned President Obama to issue an Executive Order affirming the rights of female war-rape victims to comprehensive medical care, including abortion, under the Geneva Conventions. (The Helms Amendment, a US law enacted in 1973 prevents foreign-aid funds from going to programs that also provide abortions. Since most international humanitarian medical organizations rely in some part of the US funding, the executive order has been requested).
Women’s rights advocates and their allies have gathered to discuss strategies and confer with representatives of government and civil society. Formal talks were held in Istanbul, Turkey this past January and the talks have continued. Grassroots activists like MADRE’s initiative “Ending Rape as a Weapon of War” on the ground in Iraq and Syria are already reaching out to survivors and their families with aid and counseling. Emergency escape routes to activist-run shelters have been created. Humanitarian groups visit refugee camps not only to bring relief supplies but to listen to women’s stories carefully and without judgment.
What should our elected officials do to be sure the dialogue continues? What should be done to reduce the risk to those who escape and to ensure they are welcomed upon return to their communities? What can be done to encourage husbands to stop the shameful abandoning, and worse, of their wives who return home?
These are the fifteen key questions STAR*PAC has prepared for federal candidates to address our primary concerns about foreign policy, military spending and humane treatment for migrants--so that Iowa candidates for the US Senate and Congress may focus on them.
The following message was received by a STARPAC supporter and posted with her permission...On Jan 7, 2016, at 12:34 PM, [name withheld]
Des Moines, Iowa -- STAR*PAC, Iowa’s Stop the Arms Race Political Action Committee, today announced its endorsement of Martin O’Malley for the Democratic Party nomination for President. STAR*PAC’s Central Committee voted unanimously to endorse Governor O’Malley for new foreign policy leadership.
“Martin O’Malley will bring the new leadership our country needs to wage peace in the world as well as here at home,” said STAR*PAC chairperson Tom Leffler. “We urge citizens to attend Democratic Party caucuses Feb. 1 and caucus for Martin O’Malley. “
Leffler said STAR*PAC selected Martin O’Malley for his effective record as Governor of Maryland, and for his advocacy of fresh thinking and a new approach on foreign policy.
“O’Malley supports the means of waging peace that STAR*PAC stands for,” Leffler said. “Governor O’Malley knows the peril of beating the drums of war, and would adopt a more far-seeing foreign policy approach to peacefully elevate America’s strength at home and abroad.”
... [Click on button below to view/print the entire release.]
Senator Rand Paul answered several peace related questions posed by us and others at a meet-up in Altoona, November 12. Click on each button to hear his responses.
The Martin O'Malley campaign has responded to our Key Questions with specific answers. Compare his answers to those of Bernie Sanders found elsewhere on this page.
Martin O'Malley answered questions before a crowd today at his "Meet and Treat" event at Inspired Grounds Café in West Des Moines. Among them were four that addressed topics on our list of key questions. We captured his comments as voice recordings.
What do you propose to address the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis?
What are your views about military spending?
What is your overall foreign policy framework to address Middle East conflicts?
Can we overcome the hateful comments made about immigrants by some Republican candidates?