May 23, 2013
There is no military solution to Afghan political problems. Staying longer only costs more lives and money
By Matt Southworth and Matthew Hoh
As President Barack Obama is set to discuss the future of US counterterrorism policy around the world, he should also provide a framework for a swift end to the US war in Afghanistan. It is our belief US troops should not stay one day longer or shed one more drop of blood, and US taxpayers should not spend one more penny to keep troops in Afghanistan past 2014.
It is time to truly end the US war in Afghanistan. It is pure folly and wholly counterproductive for the US to keep fighting in Afghanistan, paying the highest price in life and treasure, for one more day, let alone until a specific calendar date is reached. The current US strategy, which lacks critical political and economic transition elements, will neither accomplish US political objectives, nor provide security for the people of Afghanistan. As violence is currently on the rise, one can reasonably wonder what has been gained from years of remarkable expense and sacrifice.
April 05, 2013
By MIKE PRYSNER and GERRY CONDON
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 Hoodand hosted the event, was a gracious host. The ribs were great.
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 Library 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 email@example.com or by phone at 206-499-1220 or March Forward organizer Kevin Baker at 213-925-5506.
March 25, 2013
Members of Veterans For Peace have been examining war for many years and have always found it wanting. All wars do more harm than good, serving only the vanity and the profit of their makers. The 10th anniversary of the start of the War On Iraq serves as a powerful reminder of just how noxious and criminal the conduct of war always is, and we hope that the following account of that tragic history will keep the evil of the action fresh within our minds.
Ten years ago, on March 20, 2003, the United States invaded Iraq based on lies by the George W. Bush administration. His administration claimed that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and ties to al-Qaeda. Much of the world realized that these claims were false at the time and there were widespread demonstrations against an attack on Iraq involving 36 million people in the streets worldwide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_War). George W. Bush ordered the U.N. weapons inspectors out of Iraq before they could complete their job, in spite of the fact that they had reported no evidence of WMD. Osama Bin Laden and Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, had been enemies ever since Bin Laden had offered to fight against Hussein's earlier invasion of Kuwait. So there was never any reasonable basis for the Bush administration's claims of either WMD or links between Hussein and Bin Laden.
March 25, 2013
Speaking at the March 1st to 3rd gathering of 13 chapters was National Executive Director Michael Reid, former Air Force, who was involved in the first bombing of Libya in the 1980s; and National Board President Patrick McCann, who is a Vietnam-era vet, who refused orders to Nam. Also in attendance was Gerry Condon, VFP national board member and VN war deserter, and Mike Thurman of IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) and Courage to Resist, the principle organization in support of Bradley Manning.
March 21, 2013
The drumbeats of war had been sounding over weapons of mass destruction and uranium that Saddam Hussein allegedly had in his possession. The chatter began after the 1 year anniversary of September 11. Alex had been in basic training the summer of 2002, he wrote letters home that he had heard rumors around upcoming deployments. He wanted to know more about the countries that were discussed. Alex asked for us to send information in early August of 2002 on "Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq". Immediately, Alex's Dad Carlos and I looked at each other and wondered why Iraq?
March 21, 2013
First, the lies which brought us into that situation were not a mere mistake by some people in the U.S. intelligence community but rather a deliberate and well calculated plan by members of the Bush Administration to spread American hegemony over the Middle East, in particular the oil resources of Iraq. While the American people were being told by George W. Bush that the United States was seeking a peaceful resolution, the fix was already in and they, the administration, were determined to launch a war no matter what. This was later revealed in the Downing Street Memo, which was also called the 'Smoking Gun Meno' where the British Foreign Secretary declared the Americans were hell bent on war and there was no stopping them. Unfortunately, this report never saw the light of day in the American main stream media, which acted more like a puppet for the Bush administration and a stenographer for the Department of Defense rather than the guardian of democracy it's supposed to be.
March 19, 2013
Ten years ago, I resigned my post in opposition to President George W. Bush’s war on Iraq. I had worked in the U.S. government for most of my life, first in the Army and Army Reserves, retiring as a colonel, and then as a diplomat. I served in U.S. embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone and Micronesia. I helped reopen the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, in December 2001.
Yet after serving in eight presidential administrations, beginning under Lyndon Johnson during the war on Vietnam, I ended my career in the U.S. government in opposition to another conflict—the war on Iraq.
A decade after I stepped down as the deputy ambassador in the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia, the war in Iraq is over for Americans, but continues for Iraqis. The whirlwind of sectarian violence brought on by the U.S. invasion and occupation continues to blow there.
March 19, 2013
Tuesday March 19, 2013 marks ten years since George Walker Bush, our 43rd President, launched an invasion into Iraq on March 19th 2003.
At the time, I thought this can’t be happening, I sent a letter the day before to the corporate CEO of the company I was working for and said I will not be in tomorrow, People will be dying and I will be in the streets opposing the war. If this means I’m fired, then so be it. I will not, cannot, act as if this is just like any other day.
I am a Viet Nam veteran that failed to see what war really meant. At age 19 I hadn’t the courage to resist the draft as so many others did. I walked into a hell that has occupied my mind ever since. War is a sickness, a disease, a plague on this world, originating in the poisoned minds of arrogant, racist, greedy, power hungry monsters we call “Captains of Industry” and our “Elected Officials”.
Choose the military and you will get three meals a day, a roof over your head and the spoils of war will be yours -- sex (rape if you like, a weapon war these days) drugs, money and most of all the ability of the gods’ to hold life and death in your hands. They don’t tell you that if you survive it comes with a price. You may lose life or limb, you might suffer brain damage and not even know your own name, but even if you survive physically, you will never sleep again, at least not without the aid of drugs, prescribed or not. Your life will be like mine, haunted by the memory of participating in a horror so vile, that you will wake up shaking with fear for you own soul, even if you know you never directly killed anyone. Why? Because you know you aided the killing, the massacres, the rapes, the tortures, just because you were there. Yes, you were there, but you are no guiltier than the rest of society who sent you and then went about their day as if it were any other day. They who now turn their backs on you when look for work, who don’t understand you and who fear you.
February 11, 2013
by Ray McGovern, Veteran Member of VFP Chapter 016 in Washington DC, photo on left
CIA Director-designate John Brennan’s assertion to the Senate Intelligence Committee that Iran is “bent on pursuing nuclear weapons” is precisely the kind of dangerous “mistake” made by his mentor, former CIA Director George Tenet, who made many such “mistakes” a decade ago in greasing the skids for war on Iraq.
Former CIA Director George Tenet Of course, the appropriate word is not “mistake” but “fraud.” And perhaps what should disqualify Brennan as much as anything is his intimate connection to the lies and abuses perpetrated by the thoroughly discredited Tenet. As one of Tenet’s former protégés, Brennan could not even bring himself to admit on Thursday that waterboarding was torture.
January 26, 2013
Veterans For Peace (VFP) looks upon the recent announcement by Secretary of Defense Panetta that women may now serve in combat, as a hollow victory. VFP believes that every person should be allowed to do any job for which they are qualified and capable, no matter if they are gay or straight, black or white, male or female. But VFP also knows that we currently live under an economic draft whereby low-income young people are being exploited by the military, which promises them a steady job, health care, and money for college. The military is now saying that opening up front line combat positions is the key to advancement and opportunity for women, but in fact, if our government really wanted to support women, it could send 40 of them to college at $25,000 a year for the same price it costs to send one of them to fight in Afghanistan. Women who join the military also have a one-in-three chance of being sexually assaulted by their fellow soldiers—one of the repercussions of life in the military that the recruiters never mention.
VFP urges the removal of all combat troops—men and women—from fighting in the illegal and immoral wars of choice in which the U.S. in engaged. The grotesque Pentagon budget should be slashed, and that money used for education, health care and jobs programs—that is the real answer for the advancement of women.
Submitted by Leah Bolger, Member of Board of Directors
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