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VETERANS MEET IN PORTLAND, CHART COURSE FOR COMING YEAR
At its 26th Annual Convention in Portland, Oregon, last week, members of Veterans For Peace huddled with a wide range of experts – on everything from how to deal with military recruiters in schools, to how to deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – and everything in between.
Some 300 VFP members from 36 states were joined by 100 members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and several members from Military Families Speak Out.
Speakers included authors Robert Jensen, S. Brian Willson, Ed Tick, David Philipps, Blasé Bonpane and Jessica Goodell and Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, Kathy Kelly.
Discussion panels included Transformational Healing for Combat Vets and Their Families; Veterans in the Criminal Justice System; Helping G.I.s Get Out of the Military; Military Sexual Trauma; Organizing Grassroots Restitution for the People of Iraq; Legislation to Benefit Survivors of Agent Orange in Vietnam; the psychological effects of war on suvivors; Putting Social Media to Work; A Primer for Political Remix Videos and how to use the tactics of non-violence in a violent world.
The delegates debated and adopted resolutions on diverse issues, such as reducing the military budget, abolishing corporate personhood, the health effects of depleted uranium munitions; impeaching President Obama for war crimes and supporting Palestinian rights under international law.
Delegates also self-organized a dozen caucuses to share experiences on topics as varied as therapists and social workers working with veterans, women’s issues, G.I. resisters and military medical personnel.
The four-day convention contained within it a film festival and a veterans' art exhibit.
VFP is a national, humanitarian and educational organization with over 100 chapters and members from the Spanish Civil War, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, El Salvador, Iraq, Afghanistan and every period, hot and cold, in between.