How the U.S. Can Stop ISIS – Peacefully

Before we hear Pres. Obama’s national address tonight, where he is expected to make the case for a “limited,” three-year “boots on the ground” reinvasion of Iraq (in addition to the 1,000 troops currently stationed there), let’s hit the pause button and consider non-military options. Yes, ISIS, a brutal offshoot of al-Qaeda that stretches from the Mediterranean in northwest Syria to the Persian Gulf in southeast Iraq, needs to be stopped. The questions are how and by whom. The U.S. has many options. Is Obama considering them all before he sends our men and women back into battle?

I’ve drafted a brief petition to the President and Members of Congress with 7 steps to stop ISIS – peacefully. Will you please take a moment to consider signing it?

If you feel as strongly as I do that more war is NOT the answer, please forward this page to your friends.

Let’s get 10,000 signatures before the President’s speech tomorrow night!

Congress has just reconvened. Today is the day to contact them and raise these non-military intervention options to stop ISIS — peacefully.

As you know, I traveled to Iraq before and after the U.S. invasion, spent a summer in Syria working with Iraqi refugees and spent last summer in Beirut interviewing Syrian refugees. I am appalled that the President seems to be moving toward military reengagement without a full, public airing of the non-military options. I’ve met the people whose lives and families are shattered by my country’s rush to war. Can we prevent more casualties on America’s conscience?

Here’s the petition with sources listed below: Read more »

BOOK: “Tongue-Tied” Singled Out by Reviewer

The_Chalk_CircleSo, here’s something cool: A book reviewer singled out my essay in The Chalk Circle — an award-winning anthology of award-winning essays — as one that particularly touched her.

(That’s me on the cover! No, not the old woman, the one eating the ice cream…natch…) Book Review

Download an mp3 of me reading the essay by signing up on this page at the right. It’s a 4-minute reading about a beggar girl I met in Iraq and shared an ice cream with!

HOUSESITTING: “One Woman’s Never Ending Story”

An interview that started out about tips for people considering retiring in Mexico morphed into a profile about me as a housesitter! How cool is that?!

California’s Kelly Hayes-Raitt has heeded a distinctive rhythm by financing a political activist’s life as a house sitter in Lake Chapala, London, Paris, Copenhagen and the outskirts of Amsterdam.

Her nomadic existence has offered the opportunity to write and edit about Iraqi and Palestinian refugees at and by blogging for Violating Sanctions [ -- my old blog].

Hayes-Raitt is a lifelong political activist and spokesperson for campaigns championing women’s rights, environmental cleanup, consumers’ rights and other social justice causes.

She has house sat in Chapala, Mexico since 2010, her away home from mid-September to mid-February and from April to June.

Read the brief blog at