Raleigh City Council calls on Congress to “Bring Our War Dollars Home”

January 16, 2013

Press Release

CONTACT: JOE BURTON 919-851-5596

At its January 15th meeting, the Raleigh City Council joined the US Conference of Mayors and cities in 14 other states in approving a “Bring Our War Dollars Home Resolution.” The original resolution was submitted to the Council by ROWD (Return Our War Dollars) of Wake County with support from NC Peace Action and American Friends Service Committee.

After amending the wording, the Council approved the following: BE IT RESOLVED that the Raleigh City Council call upon the U.S. Congress and President Obama to end our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring our war dollars home, and use those and other savings in Pentagon spending to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy.

ROWD of Wake County coordinator Joe Burton (pictured above) said: “Thanks to the Raleigh City Council for its approval of the Bring Our War Dollars Home resolution and the good message it sends to North Carolina’s Congressional delegation regarding federal funding priorities, as budget negotiations go forward in Washington.”

To read the rest of the resolution, please click here.

Raleigh City Council Resolution


January 2013

Proclamation calling on Congress to Fund Urgently Needed Services and Infrastructure Repair in Raleigh and Throughout the United States by Bringing Our War Dollars Home and Reducing Military Spending.

WHEREAS the members of the Raleigh City Council and the constituents we represent want to ensure the safety, as well as the physical and mental well-being of U.S. soldiers, veterans, and their families, and

WHEREAS more than 100,000 American soldiers have been officially injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 520,000 veterans or our Middle Eastern wars have filed disability claims with costs of their care expected to total between $600 billion and $1 trillion by 2040 (1), and WHEREAS, the US government has spent well over 1 trillion dollars nationally on the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, with North Carolina taxpayers’ share of that total at $34 billion, and Raleigh taxpayer’s share of that total is $1.7 billion (3), and

WHEREAS the core defense budget has gone up for an unprecedented 13 straight years and reduction in defense spending will help reduce the federal deficit (2), and

WHEREAS the $50 billion reduction in defense spending required by sequestration under the Budget Control Act (adjusted in real dollars) is equivalent to what was spent in FY2007 and will keep defense spending above the Cold War average (2), and

WHEREAS even with a reduction of $50 billion, the United States will spend more on defense than the next 17 nations combined, most of whom are our allies, and 3 times more than the Chinese (2), and

WHEREAS the severity of the ongoing economic crisis has created budget shortfalls at all levels of government and requires us to reexamine our national spending priorities; and in Wake County budget cuts causing layoffs, cutbacks, and continual damage to our public education system (4), and

WHEREAS 1.6 million residents of NC live in poverty with nearly 50% of those having incomes less than half of the federal poverty level; in Wake County 1 in 6 children live in poverty (5, 6, 7), and

WHEREAS, cuts to federal programs such as Community Block Development Grants (CDBGs) and the Home Investment Partnership program (HOME) have forced Raleigh and local agencies and non-profits to lay off staff, reduce or eliminate services, delay infrastructure projects and reduce program benefits to low and moderate income families; and

WHEREAS, funding for a constructive economy that sustains high level educational services for the K through college, job growth, equal access to medical care, low cost housing, infrastructure repair, environmental protections, and family financing throughout North Carolina, especially in cities such as Raleigh, has been diverted to wars and occupations, therefore

BE IT RESOLVED that the Raleigh City Council call upon the U.S. Congress and President Obama to end our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, bring our war dollars home, and use those and other savings in military spending to meet vital human needs, promote job creation, rebuild our infrastructure, aid municipal and state governments, and develop a new economy based upon renewable, sustainable energy.


1. Gusterson, Hugh, “The Costs of War”, 2011 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 6, 2011

2. Korb, Lawrence J., “6 Reasons to Keep the Defense Budget Sequestration Cuts”, Center for American Progress, April 3, 2012.

3. National Priorities Project, http://costofwar.com, Nov. 1, 2012.

4. Warren, Louisa B. “A Better Future Begins in Pre-K,” Policy & Progress, North Carolina Justice Center, Spring 2012, p. 13.

5. Hawes, Julia, “Poverty Tour Exposes Lack of Economic Opportunity,” Policy & Progress, North Carolina Justice Center, Spring 2012, p. 1.

6. Sirota, Alexandra Forter and Burch, Brenna Elford, “Dismantling Pathways to Economic Mobility in NC,” Policy & Progress, North Carolina Justice Center, Spring 2012, p. 1, 10-11.

7. http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/NC-County-Data-Poverty-and-Deep-Poverty-Rates.pdf


2012 Lake Junaluska Peace Conference Report

“Love in Action:

The Transformative Power of Nonviolence”

The 2012 Lake Junaluska Peace Conference

November 8th-11th  Report

North Carolina Peace Action was well represented at the 5th annual peace conference held at the Lake Junaluska Conference Center in western NC, November 8–11.  NC Peace Action leaders were an integral part of planning this year’s program which included:
·        Rev. Dr. Bernard LaFayette Jr., Distinguished Scholar in residence at Candler School of Theology
·        Dr. Michael Nagler, founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence in Petaluma, CA
·        Rev. Alan Storey, Central Methodist Mission, Cape town, Africa
·        Ms. Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist and Nobel Prize winner.
Each of these speakers provided riveting presentations describing events where otherwise ordinary people joined together to overcome seemingly insurmountable forces of violence and oppression.
Conference workshops were an opportunity to delve in to case studies of the use of nonviolence.  “How to Start a Revolution” featured a screening of the film “From Dictatorship to Democracy” about the work of Gene Sharpe, with discussion led by Doug Wingeier; and “Civilian Diplomacy,” led by Fellowship of Reconciliation Director Mark Johnson.  Following Mark’s description of FOR’s world-wide witness, our group engaged in a round table expression of personal experiences as “citizen diplomats.”
One unforgettable presentation was provided by a young Congolese student who overcame extraordinary odds to organize soccer games between warring factions in the Congo and Rwanda.
Another highlight of the conference was a Saturday afternoon workshop moderated by NCPA’s Betsy Crites and Michael Nagler, featuring an opening, interactive exercise conducted by Clare Hanrahan and Coleman Smith of the New South Network of War Resisters.  The workshop was designed as “An Activists’ Dialogue” with the following description: “Pacifism, Nonviolence, Diversity of Tactics;  How can we engage these concepts in ways that build toward a broader, deeper justice movement?
“Join Peace Conference speaker Michael Nagler, NC Peace Action, Veterans For Peace, the New South Network of War Resisters, Katuah Earth First! & Occupy Asheville’s Nonviolent Direct Action Trainers Group in an interactive dialogue on effective strategies and tactics for fundamental social, economic, and political change.”

Fifty people attended the two-hour discussion, which then led to another hour long conversation about how to continue this dialogue.

NC Peace Action board member Rachael Bliss described her impressions of the Saturday events:
“I’m so pleased that NC Peace Action made it possible for a van load of us peace activists from Asheville to attend some of Saturday’s events.  An extra benefit was to meet new people in our region who have devoted years of their lives to cultivating peace and putting their bodies and minds on the line.
“Although I was familiar with Gene Sharpe’s list of nonviolent strategies to promote change, I particularly liked material provided by Michael Nagler.  He was able to summarize degrees of risk along a timeline.  In most instances, promoters of change increase their personal risks (up to even death) when other less risky strategies fail to bring about desired changes.  His insights were useful for our struggles.
“Lastly, the featured speaker Nobel Peace Prize Winner from Liberia Leymah Gbowee challenged us to not let rage cause us to exchange violence with more violence, but instead to “pour our rage” into nonviolent containers, so true and lasting improvements can be realized even in the most dire circumstances.
“This was truly a good day for the Spirit of Peace to bring hope into my life.”
NCPA Director John Heuer is a member of the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference planning committee, and welcomes your suggestions for future conference themes and events.



Letter to the Editor – Joe Burton

To the Editor:

It is very true that earmark spending has come to symbolize runaway spending by the Federal Government (N&O, 11/26). But, why are Republicans in Congress concerned about spending millions of dollars on domestic civic projects? After all, that spending provides work for people and infrastructure that is needed by our communities. On the other hand, congressional Republicans have no problem spending a trillion dollars in this decade on two futile wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—wars they are directly responsible for starting. That spending sends dollars abroad and unlike earmarks, has no positive effect for our nation—no new schools or hospitals or affordable housing, or the many other infrastructure needs of our nation. Since 2001, North Carolina has contributed $30 billion to the Afghanistan/Iraq wars. The dividend from that $30 billion investment by our state has been much death and destruction, incredible suffering, no benefit for North Carolina, and arguably less security for our nation. When that $30 billion expenditure over 9 years is compared to the $3.5 billion budget shortfall predicted for our state in 2011 (N&O, 11/23), it becomes obvious how misplaced the concern over earmark spending really is.

—Joe Burton