Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Carl Sciortino And Alan Grayson Make The Case Against War


October 15 is the date of the special election primary for MA-05, Ed Markey's former House seat. EMILY's List is pushing hard to elect a conservative Democratic woman, as always, this one best known as the chief sponsor of a bill to allow more warrantless domestic spying in Massachusetts. Aside from hiding from that, Katherine Clark is hiding from taking a stand on Syria. And so all all the candidates for the seat but one: progressive state Rep. Carl Sciortino. In the simple and unambivalent words of the Boston Globe, "Sciortino said last week if he were in Congress he would vote against authorizing President Obama to use military force in Syria... He pushed instead for a 'political solution through forceful diplomacy.'"

Sciortino: "I am challenging all of my opponents in the Fifth to join me in calling for a no vote on military intervention in Syria. I’m asking all of them to stop waffling." Carl's a leader and he belongs in Congress. The rest of the pack are a bunch of careerist followers:
In the hours after the call, three of the other Democratic candidates who, as recently as Friday, had not staked out a firm position on the issue released statements saying they oppose the congressional resolution that would authorize the president to use military force in Syria.

Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian said he does “not support the resolution before Congress at this time.” He cited reservations about the United States’ acting without more international support, as well as the potential for “unforeseen consequences of a strike in that region.”

State Senator Katherine Clark said she does not “think the case has been made that US military action is the best way to move forward, and if the vote were held today, I would vote no.”

State Senator Will Brownsberger said: “I have concluded that, were I already seated in Congress, I would vote against the present resolution authorizing bombing of Syria.”

Sciortino, who has vigorously attempted to position himself to the left of his opponents, was joined on the call by US Representative Alan Grayson, Democrat of Florida, who has endorsed Sciortino and is a vocal opponent of striking Syria.
Even Senator Markey, who originally waffled by voting "present," yesterday came out against bombing Syria. Shira Schoenberg, reporting for The Republican, covered Alan Grayson's backing for Sciortino in the primary campaign.
U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat and member of the U.S. House Foreign Relations Committee, joined Massachusetts Democratic congressional candidate Carl Sciortino in a conference call on Monday to argue against U.S. military intervention in Syria.

Grayson, who endorsed Sciortino last month, has been a leader in the U.S. House in opposing U.S. military intervention in Syria. Sciortino, a state representative, was the first among five Democratic elected officials running for Congress in Massachusetts’ 5th District to say he would oppose the use of military force in Syria. However, by Monday, all five Democrats had come out against the use of force.

“I question what message a military strike will send if followed by additional bloodshed,” Sciortino told reporters Monday. Sciortino said the U.S. needs to seek a political solution through diplomacy and a negotiated ceasefire.

He said the U.S. must exhaust every diplomatic option before turning to the military. “I fear if we begin with a military option, it will lead to an escalation of war, not peace,” Sciortino said. Sciortino called on the other Democrats in his race to oppose the use of military force.

Grayson praised Sciortino for his willingness to take a stance. “The people of Massachusetts are privileged to know one of the candidates for Congress in the race now is someone willing to take a stand, who can actually make up his mind, not always put a finger in the wind to see which way the breeze is blowing,” Grayson said.

The Boston Globe reported last Tuesday that Sciortino was the only one of the candidates to come out against military action. The other Democratic elected officials said they needed more information.

...Sciortino and Grayson indicated that their views were colored by the U.S.’s decade-long involvement in the Iraq war. “Over the past decade, my generation has fought in two wars,” Sciortino said. “One based on lies, both of which dragged on well beyond expectations.”

Sciortino said after Iraq-- when Republican President George W. Bush’s administration argued that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which were not found after the U.S. went to war-- the burden of proof is high for the government to show the facts of what happened in Syria. He said the U.S. must also make sure whatever steps are taken are effective in preventing bloodshed or future attacks.
Blue America was the first national organization to endorse Carl for Congress. Now we're preparing to buy billboards in his district emphasizing his leadership and his opposition to another pointless Middle East war. If you'd like to help Carl directly, you can contribute to his campaign here. If you'd like to help us buy more billboards, you can contribute here. Either way-- Massachusetts and America win. People thinking of contributing often ask me if a candidate will join the Congressional Progressive Caucus if they win. In Carl's case... well, he was one of the founders of the Massachusetts legislature's progressive caucus.

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