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Jeff Merkley on War & Peace

Democratic Jr Senator (OR)


Opposed Iraq war from the very beginning, against Party

When the candidates were asked where their stance differs from their own party’s, Merkley mentioned having opposed the Iraq war from the very beginning. When Smith challenged that assertion, Merkley shot back. “You know about that speech, yet you choose to mislead the citizens of this state,” he said. “We are mired in war. We are mired in debt.”
Source: 2008 Oregon Senate Debate reported by AP on KATU , Oct 9, 2008

Signed onto “A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq”

Jeff was the first US Senate candidate to sign onto “A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq”. The strategy to end the war and bring our sons and daughters home was authored by several distinguished military experts. Jeff has laid out a 5-point path fo stability in the region that will redeploy American combat troops and engage the Iraqis in rebuilding their country.
    To secure the peace, Americans can’t be seen as an occupying force, so removing them from patrols and checkpoints should be job one. Iraqis must feel they have a stake in their own future to move forward. Jeff’s 5-point path includes:
  1. Remove all combat troops starting right away and completing the redeployment in 6 to 12 months;
  2. Eliminate permanent US military bases in Iraq;
  3. Engage Iraq’s neighbors in a diplomatic effort to secure the peace;
  4. Remove all American contractors from the country and replace them with Iraqi contractors;
  5. Direct our attention toward stronger engagement with the Iraqi Parliament and Courts.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Opposed the war from the start

Merkley opposed Bush’s Iraq policy from the beginning. He called for bold diplomatic efforts before pursuing military strategy. Two days after the war began in 2003, Jeff Merkley gave a speech in the Oregon House calling for a critical of Bush’s strategy: “Colleagues, I have not been and am not today persuaded that Iraq was a significant threat to the United States or that the war we fight today is the best strategy to fight terrorism or the wisest application of our superpower resources.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Jun 3, 2008

Redeploy American combat troops out of Iraq

Jeff has laid out a five-point path for stability in the region that will redeploy American combat troops and engage the Iraqis in rebuilding their country. In order to secure the peace, Jeff knows Americans can’t be seen as an occupying force, so removing them from patrols and checkpoints should be job one. And Iraqis must feel they have a stake in their own future in order to move forward. Read more.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.jeffmerkley.com, “Issues” , Mar 2, 2008

Iranian nuclear weapons: prevention instead of containment.

Merkley co-sponsored Resolution on Iran's nuclear program

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, that Congress--
  1. Reaffirms that the US Government has a vital interest in working together to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  2. warns that time is limited to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  3. urges continued and increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran until a full and sustained suspension of all uranium enrichment-related activities;
  4. expresses that the window for diplomacy is closing;
  5. expresses support for the universal rights and democratic aspirations of the people of Iran;
  6. strongly supports US policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  7. rejects any US policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.
Source: HRes568/SR41 12-SJR41 on May 24, 2012

Sponsored shutting down Iranian foreign reserves.

Merkley co-sponsored Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act

Congressional Summary:Prohibits US-based correspondent accounts or a payable-through accounts by a foreign financial institution that knowingly:

Arguments for and against bill: (New York Times, May 8, 2013): Seeking to escalate pressure on Iran, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would deny the Iranian government access to its foreign exchange reserves, estimated to be worth as much as $100 billion. The legislation would be the first major new sanction confronting Iran since its inconclusive round of negotiations last month on its disputed nuclear program.

Sponsors of the legislation contend that Iran is not bargaining in good faith while it continues to enrich uranium. Part of the reason, they say, is that Iran has been able to work around the worst effects of the sanctions by tapping its foreign currency reserves overseas, which are largely beyond the reach of current restrictions. "Closing the foreign currency loophole in our sanctions policy is critical in our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability," the sponsors said.

Critics said the new legislation risked further alienating Iranians who suspect that the sanctions' true purpose is not to pressure Iran in the nuclear negotiations, but to cause an economic implosion that would lead to regime change. "When we've cemented a sanctions escalation path, we're creating a trajectory toward actual confrontation," said the founder of the National Iranian American Council, a Washington group that opposes sanctions. Some Iranian leaders, he said, see the sanctions "as a train that can only go in one direction and has no brakes."

Source: S.892 13-S892 on May 8, 2013

Other candidates on War & Peace: Jeff Merkley on other issues:
OR Gubernatorial:
John Kitzhaber
OR Senatorial:
Jason Conger
Ron Wyden

OR politicians
OR Archives

Retiring in 2014 election:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Retired as of Jan. 2013:
AZ:Kyl(R)
CT:Lieberman(D)
HI:Akaka(D)
ME:Snowe(R)
ND:Conrad(D)
NE:Nelson(D)
NM:Bingaman(D)
TX:Hutchison(R)
VA:Webb(D)
WI:Kohl(D)
Senate Vacancies 2013:
HI:Inouye(D,Deceased)
HI:Schatz(D,Appointed)
MA:Kerry(D,Resigned)
MA:Cowan(D,Appointed)
MA:Markey(D,elected)
MA:Gomez(R,lost special election)
NJ:Lautenberg(D,Deceased)
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NJ:Booker(D,running)
NJ:Lonegan(R,running)
SC:DeMint(R,Resigned)
SC:Scott(R,Appointed)

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AL:Sessions(R) vs.Bright(D)
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NM:Udall(D) vs.Sanchez(R)
OK:Inhofe(R) vs.Silverstein(D)
OR:Merkley(D) vs.Conger(R)
RI:Reed(D) vs.Carcieri(R)
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Page last updated: Dec 23, 2013