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Talk Nation Radio: U.S. Peace and Justice Activists to Gather in Madison, Wisc.

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-u-s-peace

This summer three national gatherings of activists will converge on Madison, Wisconsin, allowing for cross-fertilization and creative planning of future actions for peace and justice in the United States.  YOU are invited.

The Student Power Convergence, Aug. 1-5
The Democracy Convention, Aug. 7-11
The Veterans For Peace Convention, Aug. 7-11

Talk Nation Radio speaks with Roshan Bliss of the Student Power Convergence, Ben Manski of Democracy Convention, and Doug Rawlings of Veterans For Peace.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

VFP Members on Hunger Strike

Close the US Prison at Guantanamo!
End Indefinite Detention and Torture of Innocent Prisoners!

Join the June 26 Action in Washington, DC

By Gerry Condon

Four members of Veterans For Peace have been fasting in solidarity with the hunger striking prisoners at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Diane Wilson, co-founder of Code Pink and a VFP member, has not eaten for 44 days.  She has been on a water-only fast for most of that time, but included juice while attending to the death of her sister in Texas.  Diane has lost over 40 pounds.

Brian Wilson, fasted publicly in Portland, Oregon for 28 days, taking in less than 300 calories a day, and losing 24 pounds.  Last week, Brian was hit by a car while riding his hand-powered bicycle, and he is following doctor’s orders to suspend his fast and eat while healing from his physical and psychological wounds. Brian will consider re-joining the fast at a later time.

Elliot Adams, former VFP national president, is currently on day 29 of his hunger strike.  He is also taking in less than 300 calories a day, and has lost 30 pounds.

Tarak Kauff, VFP Board member, is on day 7 of his hunger strike.

Veterans For Peace Stands With Bradley Manning!

Mass Rally at Ft. Meade, Maryland, Saturday, June 1

Court Martial Begins on Monday, June 3,

Military veterans are turning out in force to show support for PFC Bradley Manningthis Saturday, June 1, 1 pm at Fort Meade, Maryland, on the eve of his historic court martial, which begins on Monday.  The diminutive 25-year-old Manning, who has acknowledged giving classified Army documents to Wikileaks about U.S. conduct of the wars Iraq and Afghanistan, is facing the possibility of life in prison. In what many people see as “overkill,” the Army has charged him with “Aiding the Enemy,” the most serious of 22 charges. 

Veterans For Peace is also organizing local marches and rallies on June 1, including in Seattle,Washington, (2 pm at Westlake Park, march to Victor Steinbreuck Park) and London, England (2 pm rally outside of US Embassy).  See contact info for Seattle and London, below.  Veterans For Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War will also participate in International Days of Action, June 1-8, in over 100 cities around the U.S. and worldwide, to demonstrate widespread support for PFC Manning.

What Manning released through Wikileaks was evidence of the routine killing of civilians by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the routine cover-up of these war crimes. The Iraq War Logs and the Afghan War Diaries also revealed that military and civilian leaders were lying to the U.S. people when they presented rosy assessments of the progress of those wars.

“Bradley Manning is a hero who wanted to aid the public, not a traitor who wanted to aid the enemy,” said Gerry Condon, a spokesperson for Veterans For Peace. “It is a shame that our nation did not pay more attention to the information he shared with us three years ago. Many lives could have been saved -- hundreds of Afghani civilians and hundreds of U.S. soldiers.”

PFC Manning has been held in prison for over three years, much of it in solitary confinement and under other abusive treatment, as documented by the United Nationsl Special Rapporteur on Torture.

The Army's court martial of Manning, which begins on Monday, is expected to continue throughout the summer, with the prosecution presenting over 100 government witnesses, many of them in secret testimony.  Veterans For Peace will participate in a daily vigil outside the front gate of Fort Meade.

The Army's presecution of Bradley Manning coincides with the Obama Administration's crackdown on whistle-blowers and journalists alike.  Over twice as many people are being prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act than in all previous administrations combined.

On Thursday, February 28, Bradley Manning detailed how he released classified military and government documents to Wikileaks, and he explained why he did so.

“I believed if the public, particularly the American public, could see this it could spark a debateon the military and our foreign policy in general as it applied to Iraq and Afghanistan. It might cause society to reconsider the need to engage in counter terrorism while ignoring the human situation of the people we engaged with every day.... I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience.”

One of the most moving aspects of Manning’s testimony was his explanation as to why he released the so-called “Collateral Murder” video, which shows the gunning down in Baghdad of two Reuters journalists and bystanders by American soldiers in a US Apache helicopter. Manning described being deeply troubled by the video, especially the crew’s “lack of concern for human life” and lack of “concern for injured children at the scene.”

Veterans For Peace, an international organization with chapters in over 100 cities, demands that the US Army drop all charges against Bradley Manning and release him from prison immediately.


                           or visit
www.veteransforpeace.organd www.bradleymanning.org

Memorial Day by Doug Valentine

I'm standing on a sidewalk    

 In Pleasantville, New York.  It’s1959,
And I’m holding the American flag in my hand.

It’s really hot in the bright sunshine,
But I stand at attention, like a good soldier,

And salute my father, who smiles and waves
In this home of the free, this land of the brave.

Dad’s with the World War Two veterans.  They’re marching to the beat
Of the fire department band sweeping down the street:
The horns blare, the drums pound, the cymbals crash -
And my consciousness cracks like shattered glass.

The band's overtaken by soaring boys on bikes.
Their spokes are woven with red white and blue crepe paper,
And the fluttering streamers on their handle bars
Make them look like firecrackers on wheels.

It’s so damn dazzling I have to look away,
Down at my feet, and I'm starting to sway
From the glare reflecting off the concrete.
I squint, and swoon, and look up at the sky
Where the light on the leaves of the sugar maple trees
Reflects off the chrome of the cars on the street.
I'm breathless, and dizzy, and overdone.
The one thing I know, this isn't fun.

"Don't you ever let that flag touch the ground!"
Snaps a mean old man, twisting my arm up so it hurts.
 

Disapproving town folk stare.
I feel their looks in the depths of my soul.
What else can a ten year old boy do but slink away
And chuck that fucking flag over the first privet hedge?

It was there and then that I knew that being
A good citizen was too much responsibility
For anyone as weak and as young as me.
To this day my favorite part of the Memorial Day Parade
Is the sound of the street cleaner
Pushing the star spangled flakes of confetti
Into his pan and pouring them,
With a soft sweet swoosh, into his pail.

What Have We Done

What have we done to our daughters and sons,
What secret sent them to find?
Something written on a stone, we could not find on our own,
Our eyes open but blind.

They were husbands and wives when they laid down their lives,
They took a number and gave up a name.
They fought to the end for their families and friends,
For country, not fortune or fame.

Someone told a lie and they volunteered to die,
To lay down body and bone,
They left a family crying when they stumbled on a mine,
Now they're wrapped in a flag, flying home.

Why must they pay the price, can we share the sacrifice?
Is there courage we might find?
It's time to tell the truth, we envy them their youth,
Their future is all we leave behind.

From dust unto dust, in God we put our trust.
There is a lesson we must learn.
From the moment of our birth, we are children of this Earth,
To this Earth we shall return.

Craig Baumberger, aka, Banjohova Witness,
7/6/11

VA Whistleblower Ignites Firestorm Over Vets’ Illnesses

Epidemiologist says VA hid and manipulated data regarding burn pits and Gulf War syndrome.

  • U.S. Army / Flickr

It’s not every day that a scientist creates such intense drama on Capitol Hill.

But Dr. Steven S. Coughlin’s charges that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials hid, manipulated, and even lied about research pertaining to Gulf War Illness (GWI) and health problems plaguing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are still causing fallout a month after his stunning testimony before a key House subcommittee.

“The implications of his testimony are profound,” declared Anthony Hardie, 45, a Gulf War veteran who serves on the congressionally appointed Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses (RAC).

READ THE REST HERE.

Ducking the Full Costs of War: The Ongoing Scandal Called the Veterans Administration

 

By Dave Lindorff


 

My mother died last Thursday at the age of 89. Her death, fortunately coming peacefully after she suffered a stroke during her sleep, followed a long mental decline caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

Getting involved versus Calls For Vengeance Citizen First-Responders: Models For Responsible Democracy

 

By John Grant


I write a lot of critical things about militarism, our unnecessary wars and our growing surveillance/police state. So it was heartwarming to watch the videos and listen to the stories from the Boston Marathon bombing about civilian “first-responders” who chose not to flee but to wade into a very messy situation.

Veterans For Peace: Reject Military Spending on April 15

Veterans For Peace has just released this statement:

With 47% of federal discretionary spending going into the cost of war preparations and wars in 2013, it is time once and for all that we forbid the common American practice of opposing taxes and supporting wars.*

Veterans For Peace is joining with many other organizations to create a Global Day of Action on Military Spending this April 15th. See: http://demilitarize.org

Veterans to Fort Hood GI's: “You Don't Have to Go to Afghanistan”


By MIKE PRYSNER and GERRY CONDON

Veterans For Peace has once again teamed up with March Forward to bring the Our Lives Our Rights campaign to active duty Gis facing deployment to Afghanistan.  Since Monday, Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans—including active-duty soldiers—have been engaged in a daring outreach campaign on and around Fort Hood, TX, the biggest U.S. military base in the world.

Every morning, as soldiers flood onto Fort Hood, Our Lives Our Rights organizers have been holding a massive 50-foot banner at the base gates reading “You don’t have to go to Afghanistan.” This trip was timed ahead of the deployment of Fort Hood’s III Corps in May.

This message—and information about why and how soldiers can resist deployment to Afghanistan—is also on thousands of leaflets and educational pamphlets.

This week, our organizers are actually on base at Fort Hood, distributing all of this literature to soldiers in uniform. Soldiers are also finding this literature in waiting rooms and lobbies at the USO, mental health clinic, post hospital, art and recreation center, and more. Soldiers will also open the Fort Hood post newspaper to find our literature stashed inside. 

The goal of this outreach is to let deploying soldiers—who by mainstream polls overwhelmingly oppose the continuation of the Afghanistan war—know that they have a variety of options to not have their life thrown away. Not just that, but that they would be morally right for doing so, and that they have the support of countless other soldiers, veterans and civilians who will stand beside them. 

One of those options, seeking a discharge from the military as a Conscientious Objector, was the topic of the Thursday evening “Ribs and Rights” forum at Under The Hood Cafe and GI Outreach Center.  Several active duty GI's participated, including a young soldier who has applied for a C.O. discharge and is “hopeful.” 

March Forward organizer and VFP member Kevin Baker explained that the Our Rights Our Lives campaign.  “Withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan immediately—as favored by a large majority of Americans and Afghans—would be the right thing to do,” said Baker, a former Army sergeant who spent 28 months in Iraq, but refused his third deployment. “If this government is not willing to withdraw the troops, then individual soldiers of conscience have the right to withdraw themselves from this illegal, immoral occupation.”

VFP board member Gerry Condon spoke of the many ways to resist illegal wars and occupations and called for support for GI whistleblower Bradley Manning. VFP members Helen Jaccard and Doug Zachary also participated in the lively discussion among active duty GI's, veterans and supporters.

A Fort Hood soldier and combat veteran had the following to say:“The work this campaign is doing is more effectively fulfilling my oath to this country and humanity.  It is my responsibility to disobey an unlawful order, and these occupations are no exception. Simply by having these type of conversations, we are fostering independent thought, which is a form of resistance in itself.”

Iraq veteran Malachi Muncy, who coordinates Under the Hood and hosted the event, was a gracious host.  The ribs were great.

So far, the Our Lives Our Rights campaign has received several phone calls and emails from soldiers and military families seeking more information about resisting deployment. 

JOIN THE GI OUTREACH AT FORT HOOD

The Our Lives Our Rights efforts at Fort Hood will continue throughout April.  A concentrated effort will take place from Wednesday, April 17 through Saturday, April 20, immediately before many veterans will be attending the Bush Liebury events in nearby Dallas, April 22-26.

Veterans and friends who would like to reach out to GI's at Fort Hood should get in touch with Gerry Condon at projectsafehaven@hotmail.comor by phone at 206-499-1220 or March Forward organizer Kevin Baker at 213-925-5506.

The Future's So Much More Fun than the Past: How to Avoid the Bummer Myth

 

By John Grant


“The elite always has a Plan B, while people have no escape.”
            - Ahmad Saadawi


Men Who Kick Down Doors

Tyrants at Home and Abroad 
By Ann Jones, TomDispatch

Picture this.  A man, armored in tattoos, bursts into a living room not his own.  He confronts an enemy.  He barks orders.  He throws that enemy into a chair. Then against a wall.  He plants himself in the middle of the room, feet widespread, fists clenched, muscles straining, face contorted in a scream of rage.  The tendons in his neck are taut with the intensity of his terrifying performance.  He chases the enemy to the next room, stopping escape with a quick grab and thrust and body block that pins the enemy, bent back, against a counter. He shouts more orders: his enemy can go with him to the basement for a “private talk,” or be beaten to a pulp right here. Then he wraps his fingers around the neck of his enemy and begins to choke her.

Talk Nation Radio: Robert Fantina on War and the Bravery of Deserters

Robert Fantina discusses the courage of those who desert the military, including some 20,000 in the United States during the "global war on terra."  Fantina is the author of
Desertion and the American Soldier,
Look Not Unto the Morrow, and
Empire, Racism, and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy.
He discusses all of these books on the program.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Individual Honor versus Unpleasant History The Battle Still Rages Over What Vietnam Means

 

By John Grant


"The experience we have of our lives from within, the story we tell ourselves about ourselves in order to account for what we are doing, is thus a lie -- the truth lies rather outside, in what we do."

                -- Slavoj Zizek

No More Truthless Heroes

By Joshua Brollier

On February 11, 2013, the New York Times reported about the funeral of retired Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle, portraying him as a “warrior and family man.”  The highly politicized and massive public funeral, held at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, points to the severe moral schizophrenia our nation has internalized. We see ourselves as the shining “city on a hill” and therefore a U.S. citizen who kills people in other lands becomes an unquestionably renowned hero.  This must appear offensive and ridiculous to many people living beyond U.S. borders.

Veterans For Peace: Debt Ceiling Is No Excuse

 

Veterans for Peace has released the following statement:

U.S. interest payments on debt are at an historic low, not an historic high.  The shortage of funds in the federal government is due to an unemployment crisis, outrageously inflated military spending, and a steadfast bipartisan refusal to impose reasonable tax rates on billionaires, multi-millionaires, or some of the world's most profitable corporations -- which in some cases are paying negative tax rates.

We are spending about $525 billion per year preparing for war, including $170 billion to keep U.S. troops in 177 nations, where more often than not hostility and resentment are generated, arms build-ups are provoked, and the risk of violence is increased rather than diminished.

While we sympathize with those shouting "No cuts!" we propose that some redirection of funding is in order.  We oppose cuts to retirement and healthcare funds but support expanding them by cutting and redirecting misspent resources.  Updating the critique offered by Dr. King, we see drones carrying guided missiles deployed by misguided human beings.

To be clear, while we prioritize healthcare, we favor a single-payer system under which our nation might pay approximately half what it pays now, while providing universal coverage and a boost to the economy.

Beyond the $525 billion spent each year on war preparation is $89 billion spent on actual current wars, including a war in Afghanistan that we describe as "ending" over a period of two years, a period longer than most wars have lasted from beginning to end.  This war is 11 years old, and we're headed toward 13.  There we see spending that should be cut.

There's also $53 billion on spying and spy agencies that kill people with drones, $19 billion on muclear weapons, and $7 billion on arming other nations.  Costs like these bring the total spent on war making to over half of discretionary spending each year. In fact, the United States spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined.  Together with its NATO allies it accounts for three-quarters of global military spending. 

Our public debate has recently focused on defending this spending as a jobs program, despite the fact that military spending produces fewer jobs for the same dollars than education spending, infrastructure spending, green energy spending, or even tax cuts for working people  -- not to mention the sociopathic nature of funding a program of killing in order to generate jobs.

Then there's the State Department with its mercenaries and the work it does to market U.S. weapons sales to foreign governments (now amounting to 85% of international weapons sales).  Then there's the drug war, the record deportations, the infiltration of nonviolent organizations including chapters of Veterans For Peace, the militarization of local police with federal dollars, the $7 billion for prisons, the $42 billion for highways rather than greener transportation, and on and on.

Cuts don't kill.  Congress members who cut the wrong things and fund the wrong things kill. 

Our government is not broke.  It is broken.

I Will Not Fight For Queen and Country

By Veterans For Peace - UK

On 7th February 2013 The Oxford Union held the debate “This House Would Not Fight for Queen and Country."  It was the 80th anniversary of the original debate in 1933 in which The Oxford Union voted in favor of the motion.

Speaking for the motion were Ben Sullivan (Christ Church College), Ben Griffin (Former SAS soldier) and Gareth Porter ( US Historian).

Speaking against were Rory Stewart (Conservative MP), Nikolai Tolstoy (International Monarchist League) and Malcolm Rifkind (Former Foreign Secretary).

On the night the motion was defeated as it has been on every occasion that it has been held since 1937.

Below a transcript of the speech given by Ben Griffin of Veterans for Peace.

I Will Not Fight for Queen and Country

Fight for Queen and Country, what does that mean? It is a jingoistic phrase dream’t up by some propaganda merchant intent on stoking the fire of that false religion patriotism.

The idea of fighting for Queen and Country is held tight by those who never have and never will actually fight.

It is held by those who long to bask in the reflected glory of war.

It is held by those who have no experience of the suffering that war inflicts.

It is an idea held up by those who gain the most from war, Politicians, Generals, The Arms Industry and The Media.

It is a phrase that is dredged up again and again to stifle dissent and build unquestioning support for the aggression we choose to unleash.

Look Not Unto the Morrow

Robert Fantina, the author of a tragically nonfictional survey of the lives of soldiers in all past U.S. wars, has now published a devastatingly fictional account of the war that the Vietnamese call the American War.

I say devastatingly fictional, because Fantina condenses and concentrates into one small book and the lives of a very few characters the lead-up to, the experience of, and the aftermath of a U.S. soldier's participation in that war.  The extreme horror and tragedy recounted (leavened by much human goodness) would require the watering down of thousands of additional pages of extraneous information were it nonfiction, and yet it is all based in typical experiences endured, overcome, or surrendered to by many thousands of Americans.

The plot is not predictable, the lessons not pedantic, but the story of Look Not Unto the Morrow is a story that grabs you more firmly by the throat because of the knowledge of how many people have lived it.

Here we meet a young man who only figures out what war is once he's in it, and a young woman who loves him and who only begins to give a damn about the world and the people in it when her lover goes to war.  I find myself, as I read this, desperately hoping that someone young will read it too and get themselves together faster, before it's too late. 

Then I realize that when I grew up believing war was a sick barbaric atavism, I was growing up after the peace movement of the 1960s had happened.  Perhaps people had learned.  Perhaps that learning had reached me.  I also had the option of going to college.  I also was not drafted.  The accounts of veterans at the Winter Soldier event during the war on Iraq, just like those during the war on Vietnam, are tales of disillusionment.  These are young men, and now women too, who believed the hype, believed some good purpose could be served by mass murder, headed off to participate, and then began to have grave doubts.

The accounts of some veterans are, in fact, very mixed and complicated.  Some believe a soldier should tell the truth about a horrible genocidal crime and also continue to take part in it if so ordered.  Some believe our current wars should be denounced and actively resisted, but that a good war might start next month or next year. 

A young man recently published a column in the Washington Post headlined "I killed people in Afghanistan. Was I right or wrong?"  I interviewed him and will air the interview on my radio show.  He told me that he had opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003, supported the ongoing occupation once begun, and supported the war on Afghanistan.  I asked what he would do if another invasion were launched that he was opposed to.  He replied that he would go and fight in it.  He would go and kill people in it. 

Beneath all the differences between our era and the 1960s/1970s that come through in Fantina's novel, there is much that is the same.  Combining Fantina's novel with Nick Turse's new nonfictional account of the extended atrocity and marathon "war crime" that was the assault on Vietnam (all war is a crime, not certain bits of it) should give one a serious understanding of what was, is, and must not continue to be the fundamental error of our ways. 

I've read more autobiographical accounts of our current wars than fiction, so please send me your recommendations for the latter, as well as for accounts from Vietnamese and Iraqi and Afghan (etc.) points of view.  Autobiographies have their own advantages.  I used to wish Ralph Waldo Emerson's prediction might come true and novels might be displaced by memoirs. 

I say I used to wish that, because a good writer can invent truths, can show us what's happening inside the heads of multiple characters, can personalize public affairs with the power of mythology.  To see what I'm talking about, read Look Not Unto the Morrow.

Déjà Vu All Over Again: Notes on Jonathan Schell’s Review of 'Kill Anything That Moves'

 

By Michael Uhl


Jonathan Schell‘s probing review of Nick Turse’s new book Kill Anything That Moves originated on Tom Dispatch and migrated to Salon, where it appeared under the head “Vietnam was even more horrific than we thought.”

Veterans For Peace Asks Peabody To Stop War on Mother Earth

At 11 am, Friday, Jan. 25, members of Veterans For Peace (VFP), headquartered in St. Louis, and other organizations will gather in Kiener Plaza, across from the headquarters of Peabody Energy Corp. to demand that the company:

  1. Stop all forms of strip mining, including mountaintop removal, a practice it claims to have ended, but which continues with spinoff coal companies like Patriot.

  2. Stop polluting the watershed and air and stop coal extraction in favor of renewable energy sources.  

  3. Return millions in tax breaks to the city of St. Louis. In 2010, Peabody Coal, the largest coal-mining company in the world, received a $61 million tax break from the St. Louis Development Corporation, including $2 million from the St. Louis public schools.  

Veterans for Peace joins with MORE (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment), RAMPS (Radical Action for Mountain People's Survival) and Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) in making these demands.

They are presenting these demands because of concerns such as:

  • Peabody Western Coal Co., a subsidiary of Peabody Energy Corp., has strip-mined Black Mesa, which overlaps Navajo and Hopi lands in the Four Corners area of the Southwest, since 1968. Each year more than one billion gallons of groundwater is removed from the Black Mesa aquifer to make the toxic coal slurry needed to move the coal through a long-distance pipeline.
  • Every day in West Virginia 3 million pounds of high explosives are detonated to remove mountaintops that cover coal seams. Over the course of a year that adds up to 27 times the power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Mountains, valleys, streams and the lives of people and wildlife are forever changed and in many cases, destroyed. Peabody, which claims to have stopped MTR, has non-the-less done incalculable damage, while other coal companies like Arch Coal and Patriot Coal (a spin off of Peabody) both  headquartered in St. Louis, still use the process.
  • According to a report by Physicians for Social Responsibility and backed by other groups, pollution from burning coal kills tens of thousands of people each year due to asthma, chronic pulmonary obstruction, emphysema, heart attack, stroke and cancer. http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/psr-coal-fullreport.pdf
  • The National Academy of Sciences concluded that coal-fired plants and overall damages from coal cost U. S. taxpayers  an estimated $62 billion in environmental and health outlays in 2005  http://dels.nas.edu/Report/Hidden-Costs-Energy-Unpriced-Consequences/12794?bname=best


VFP national board member Tarak Kauff explained, “There's a battle going on between huge fossil fuel corporations like Peabody Energy Corp. and a growing public interest grassroots movement. In the end this conflict may matter more than those in Viet Nam, Iraq or Afghanistan because the outcome may determine whether life as we know it will continue on this planet. Members of VFP, many who have experienced directly the horrors of war, realize that the war on Mother Earth is potentially the most dangerous war of all. We are more than veterans of war, we are veterans for peace. Real peace is more than just the absence of war. Peace means justice, in this case environmental justice. Raping, polluting and destroying the environment is not justice.”
 
Paul Appell, a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, farmer and VFP member, added, "After working the land full time for nearly half a century, I know that one reaps what one sows. In Vietnam I learned that when one sows violence, one reaps blood. As one who has daily witnessed strip-mining here in Knox County, Illinois, for 50-plus years and farmed strip-mined ground for 35, I have experienced the war on Mother Nature. As I stand in solidarity with my fellow citizens protesting Peabody Energy Corporation’s coal removal methods, it is with intimate, firsthand knowledge that violence begets more violence."

Kids Killing Kids - Right Here in Maine

Kids Shooting Kids
 
 
There is a big dust up going on here in Maine over the discovery of a two-year spree of violent video making where local youth used public spaces to produce their "films".

A local Brunswick high school senior, who has been accepted next year at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, is the leader of the pack of about 20 kids involved in producing the videos.  Local newspapers report that the kids have made 26 videos, viewed 8.3 million times on YouTube, and have used the public library and the former US Navy airfield in Brunswick (now called Brunswick Landing) as back drops for the videos.

Veterans For Peace Demand: Keep U.S. Troops Out of Africa

http://veteransforpeace.org

Newly publicized U.S. plans to send troops into 35 African nationsshould result in red flags being raised from the U.S. public, the Congress, and active-duty members of the U.S. military.  Though these plans call for small, short-term deployments to serve in an advisory and training capacity, Veterans For Peace is concerned that the creation of AFRICOM in general, and these deployments in particular, represent the proverbial nose of the camel under the tent.

So Go Ahead and Nominate Him Already!

Obama Needs Hagel in the Pentagon

By Ray McGovern

1:47 p.m. EST, January 2, 2013

Absent from the discussion about whether former Senator Chuck Hagel would make a good secretary of defense is any focus on lessons learned from personal factors like combat in war, as well as loyalty to the president.

As I was grousing about this, my eye caught a name on a rubbing I made from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall: "Edward S. Krukowski." Many years ago, Ed and I studied Russian and were in the ROTC together.

Veterans For Peace Opposes Military Intervention in Syria

Veterans For Peace urgently calls on the United States and NATO to cease all military activity in Syria, halt all U.S. and NATO shipments of weapons, and abandon all threats to further escalate the violence under which the people of Syria are suffering.

NATO troops and missiles should be withdrawn from Turkey and other surrounding nations.  U.S. ships should exit the Mediterranean.

Veterans For Peace is an organization of veterans who draw upon their military experiences in working for the abolition of war.  We have not entered into this work without consideration of many situations similar to the current one in Syria. 

Peace negotiations, while very difficult, will be easier now, and will do more good now, than after greater violence.  Those negotiations must come, and delaying them will cost many men, women, and children their lives.

No good can come from U.S. military intervention in Syria.  The people of Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, Vietnam, and dozens of other nations in Latin America and around the world have not been made better off by U.S. military intervention.

While experts have great doubt that the Syrian government will use chemical weapons, while accounts of past use are dishonest, and while claims that such use is imminent are unsubstantiated and highly suspicious, the most likely way to provoke such use is the threat of an escalated foreign intervention.  Required now by practicality, morality, and the law is de-escalation.

The possession or use of one kind of weapon cannot justify the use of another.  Were the Syrian government to use chemical weapons against Syrians, the United States would not be justified in using other kinds of weapons against Syrians.  The United States possesses chemical and biological weapons, as well as nuclear weapons, and possesses and uses cluster bombs, white phosphorus, depleted uranium weapons, mines, and weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles  -- none of which justifies military attacks on the U.S. government.

The United States' own military actions kill far more civilians than combatants.  The United States facilitates and tolerates governments' abuses of their own people in nations around the world and around Western Asia, notably in Bahrain -- not to mention in Syria, to which the United States has in recent years sent victims to have them tortured.  The world does not believe U.S. motivations for intervention in Syria are humanitarian.  The motivation has been too openly advertised as the overthrow of a government too friendly with the government of Iran and insufficiently subservient to NATO.  Syria has been on a Pentagon list for regime change since at least 2001.

The threat of war, like the use of war, is a violation of the U.N. Charter, to which both the United States and Syria are parties.  War without Congressional declaration is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Another U.S. war will not only breed hostility.  It will directly arm and supply those already hostile to the U.S. government

How many times must we watch the same mistakes repeated? 

The options are not limited to doing nothing or escalating warfare.  Nonviolent resistance to tyranny has proven far more likely to succeed, and the successes far longer lasting.  Nations and individuals outside of Syria should do what they can to facilitate the nonviolent pursuit of justice.

But Syria's struggles should be controlled by the Syrian people without military intervention.  The first step is a cease-fire and de-escalation.  The U.S. military and NATO can assist only by departing.

Veterans For Peace Strongly Condemns the New Round of Sanctions Against the People of Iran

On Friday November 30th, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a new round of sanctions against Iran as an amendment to the so-called Defense Authorization Act. This amendment, sponsored by U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), broadens the scope of current sanctions on Iran to include Iran’s shipping industry and ports. According to Menendez, “By passing these additional measures ending sales to and transactions with Iranian sectors that support proliferation — energy, shipping, ship-building and port sectors as well as with anyone on our specially designed national list — we will send a message to Iran that they can’t just try to wait us out.”

This criminal act of collective punishment of the people of Iran is being taken at a time when the existing economic sanctions have already caused a tremendous amount of suffering for the Iranian people without having any impact on nuclear weapons proliferation in the Middle East.

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