The Cornell Forum for Justice and Peace (CFJP) was created by Cornell University faculty, staff and graduate students who joined together after the 9/11 attacks to oppose America’s use of military force against terrorist regimes. On November 25, 2001, the organization issued a statement saying: “We oppose the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. It violates basic human rights, and has brought about and will continue to bring about grievous consequences in Afghanistan, the United States, and throughout the world.” The statement also called for an international police action against terrorists, rather than a military operation: “If international law as it stands is unable to deal with international terrorism, then effective measures against such violence must begin with appropriate legislation and the building of the necessary international institutions. The principles of justice and due legal procedure do not stand abrogated because of the international nature of this case.” Consistent with its stance on the invasion of Afghanistan, CFPJ similarly condemns America’s waging of the War in Iraq.
CFPJ has also denounced the Patriot Act, claiming that it constitutes an assault on the civil liberties of Americans.
From February 8 to 15, 2003, CFJP and United for Peace and Justice jointly staged a “Week Against War” campaign of sit-ins, cultural awareness programs and workshops with anti-war and anti-American themes. CFPJ stated: “The impending war in Iraq represents the gravest danger faced by the U.S. in more than a generation. It is already both a humanitarian catastrophe and a constitutional crisis. As in the 1991 Gulf War, advanced American weaponry will kill and wound thousands and inflict lasting social and environmental damage. At home, the war reflects a disturbing deterioration of our political life. The Administration’s National Security Strategy, which proclaims as a goal U.S. military domination of the world and justifies first-strike doctrine, dangerously threatens traditional conceptions of international law. Legislation in support of a vaguely defined War on Terror undermines traditional conceptions of civil liberties.”
CFJP member Anke Wessels, a socialist who leads Cornell’s Center for Religion, Ethics and Social Policy, helped coordinate not only the Week Against War activities, but also a mock-Guantanamo Bay prison in April 2004. The latter project was designed to draw attention to the hardships allegedly suffered by the detainees — mostly al Qaeda members who were captured on the battlefield — being held in Guantanamo.