You are herecontent / VETERANS' GROUP TO MEMBERS: MULTIPLY RESISTANCE BY ANY PEACEFUL MEANS AVAILABLE

VETERANS' GROUP TO MEMBERS: MULTIPLY RESISTANCE BY ANY PEACEFUL MEANS AVAILABLE


By Mike Ferner, After Downing Street

In a statement today directed to the U.S. House of Representatives, President Obama and its membership, Veterans For Peace urged its chapters to demonstrate opposition to the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan by doing two things:

1) Take the actions listed below within the next several days, before President Obama decides to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and

2) Plan acts of even greater resistance during the two days following any such decision.

· Continue writing and calling our representatives and demanding peace.
· If we’ve done that: take to the streets
· If we’ve done that: sit down in the streets
· If we’ve done that: sit down in Congressional offices
· If we’ve done that: sit down, clog up, incapacitate, call in sick, withdraw consent and generally bring the nation’s business to a halt, wherever and whenever we can, with any peaceful means available.

To President Obama and the House of Representatives:

As veterans of our nation’s wars, we insist you hear our call.

British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin spoke an unassailable truth when he said, “War would end if the dead could return.” If you believe that is true, Mr. President and Members of the House, you must heed our counsel well: we are the closest anyone can come to that truth the dead would speak. Stop the killing!

Because we personally understand what war truly means, we have written, called and demonstrated repeatedly for an end to the killing in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have protested at and have been arrested in House Office Buildings, the House Gallery, the White House and Congressional offices across the nation. We have pleaded, then demanded, that you stop the suffering in these countries. Although promised prior to the election, no combat brigades have returned from Iraq. And now we can smell the mire of escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Nevertheless, we cannot cease to appeal to that spark of humanity in your hearts. We know wealthy, powerful interests such as weapons contractors, lobbyists and right-wing broadcasters daily make a deafening noise, trying to drown out the voice that insists, “Stop the killing.” We also know that no matter how quiet the voice of humanity might become, it can never be silenced.

So we lift up to you voices much more eloquent than our own, voices of soldiers who survived the worst fighting human beings have ever experienced, World War One. For nearly 100 years, the wisdom and compassion of their poetry has endured. Their words now stand as one of the world’s most powerful witnesses to the madness of war.

You must hear them.

…And you yourself would mutter when
You took the things that once were men,
And sped them through that zone of hate
To where the dripping surgeons wait;
And wonder too if in God's sight
War ever, ever can be right.
– From “Foreword” by British ambulance driver, Robert Service

And

…If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
– From “Dulce et Decorum est” (It is Sweet and Right to Die for Your Country) by British Army Lt. Wilfred Owen, killed a week before the 1918 Armistice.

More than that we cannot say to you, so we will address our former brothers and sisters in arms who are now our brothers and sisters in peace.

To members of Veterans For Peace:

At one time in our lives we bore the hardships and dangers of military service. We were not strangers to privation, or fear, or acts of courage. Although the America of our childhood history books has been shaken and some would say, shattered by what we learned in the military and since, we can still hear the call to service when it is clear and true.

Nothing could be more clear or true today than the need for us to do everything we humanly can to stop the killing. Not just stop the escalation – stop the killing. Bring all the troops home. Take care of them when they get here. Pay to rebuild what we have destroyed.

It is important for us to rededicate ourselves to the It is important for us to rededicate ourselves to the resolution we adopted at our 2008 convention: Afghanistan is not “the right war.” We must leave as soon as possible.

This is important to repeat because this administration and some in Congress would have us believe that we cannot withdraw immediately from Afghanistan, we must provide some stability and protection from the likes of the Taliban.

So we state without doubt: our occupation of Afghanistan is driving the violent opposition to it. More U.S. troops and more occupation will mean more anger and yet more violent reaction from those whose lands we occupy. We must rededicate ourselves to ending this cycle of violence.

The Taliban recruit from the ranks of the unemployed and the poor. One important way to reduce unemployment, poverty and Taliban recruits is to fund programs that provide work and income. To say that the government of Afghanistan is corrupt and that economic development funds are wasted is to conveniently ignore the real reason we are in Afghanistan.

Throughout Afghanistan, grassroots networks are making a difference at the local and tribal level. This is where we should put our money.

But we are not in Afghanistan to give them democracy, even if that were possible. Neither is our purpose to build up that country’s smaller, more democratic institutions that serve the population. We occupy Afghanistan because America the Empire demands control of its resources and to have a strategic locations from which to project military power. As the Secretary-General of NATO said recently, “We need a stable government in Afghanistan, a government that we can deal with.”

And no one – NO one, but us is going to stop the killing; neither the President nor the Congress. We can beseech them, ask them, demand from them that they stop the killing and bring all the troops home. But until we exert the power of massive resistance to the Empire that only we can exert, it will keep rolling over Afghanis, Iraqis, Pakistanis and whoever else that is in its way.

We must continue writing and calling our representatives and demanding peace. If we’ve done that we must take to the streets. If we’ve done that we must sit down in the streets. If we’ve done that we must sit down in Congressional offices and if we’ve done that we must sit down, clog up, incapacitate, withdraw our consent and generally bring business as usual to a halt wherever we can, with any peaceful means available.

If we do not take every step we can we know what will happen. Combat brigades will stay in Iraq, drone attacks, Special Forces and the CIA will continue to kill and maim in Pakistan, and 40, 60, 80,000 more troops will be sent to Afghanistan where the suffering and death will increase dramatically – for years to come.

Even when we do all of the above we must anticipate that it may not be enough to stay the hand of death. The American Empire is a mighty machine. We will need to make common cause with all those living in the heart of Empire who are also its victims. We know who they are. We see them every day – on the streets, where we work, where we shop, where we pray, where we play.

They and we are the common folk, not possessed of significant wealth. But we are skilled and numerous and creative and tenacious. And we have nothing but time. The Empire may be mighty but it is also as of glass – the next blow against it may well be the one that sends a crack through its entire length, the next blow causing it to shatter. We cannot know when that will happen or whose blow may be the deciding one. Our job is simple: to never quit. To use a military analogy, as long as an army, no matter how tattered, remains in the field, the revolution continues.

That’s all we have to do. But we must do it. Starting now.

###

Ferner is a former Navy hospital corpsman and President of Veterans For Peace mike.ferner@sbcglobal.net

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I cheer Veterans for Peace call for action on every level to fight against our escalation in Afghanistan, the continuation of the occupation of Iraq, the inhuman attack with drones in Pakistan. Many of us have been sitting in our congressional representatives offices for years. We too have gone to jail so that we can say to the judges and all who will listen, “Our beloved county is ‘Empire’ and we are killing the innocents. This article is good news, but it is still fighting against the tentacles of the beast. We have to go for the heart and kill this monster for the last time. The heart is barely mentioned in the article and that is “Empire.”

We have troops stationed in most countries around the world, why? We will not criticize Israel for the shame of Gaza, why? We do not have any foreign troops stationed here in the United States within their own bases, why? We supply the weapons to the world to continue the killing, why?

We will not join in the elimination/outlawing of ground mines, which kill a child as fast as a soldier, why?

We must stop fighting against the tentacles and drive a stake through the heart of the beast, never let it raise its violent head again, this is the great battle.

Our battle cry must be, “End of Empire, begin the Peace.” I love the story and the call to battle, we are veterans and that is what we know. Our cry must include all of the suffering, we as a nation have caused. The rest of the world must also answer the question why they just stood by and watched.

Thank you for your call for more actions; I will see you in the streets, in the congressional offices, in the insurance company’s buildings, in the town halls, in the city halls, in the very private clubs that hide our war criminals--I will be there with you my brothers and sisters of peace.

Joe Walsh
Individuals for Justice, Portland, Oregon
VVAW, Veterans Against Torture
US NAVY 1962-71

arnpeace: October 28, 2009
to Mike Ferner and Veterans for Peace,
Greetings. I read with interest your call for peaceful demonstration to call the attention to the Obama administration and the U.S.Congress, to end the war in Afghanistan. I applaud the past service of all of you Veterans for Peace, and your current attempts to bring more peace in Iraq and Afghan. An idea that is circulating now is two parts. 1) no more troops for Afghan 2) call for an international meeting with the purpose of establishing a United Nations Protectorate for Afghanistan. If the UN takes over the country then many peaceful and stabalizing things could have a chance to happen. Let us urge the administration to call for such a meeting.
Arn Specter, Phila. (Twitter)

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Speaking Events

January 10 and 11:
Events in Washington DC to present a petition telling president elect to end wars:
https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12501

January 20-21 Occupy the Inauguration
 
January 29 David Swanson speaking in Arlington, Va.
 
February David Swanson debating a war supporter in Boston, Mass.
 
April 21-23 UNAC's annual conference in Richmond, Va.

April 29 possible multi-issue protest in DC.

Find Events Here.

 

 

CHOOSE LANGUAGE

Support This Site

Donate.

Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.

 

Sponsors:

Speaking Truth to Empire

***

Families United

***

Ray McGovern

***

Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.