Cindy Sheehan Speaks at VFP Convention in Dallas
It’s so great to be here. lived about 6 hours north of Santa Barbara, and
Last year when you guys had your conven- it was the May 4th before Mother’s Day, which
tion in Boston, my son had only been dead a was May 8th, and VFP was going to put it up on
few months, and we were really honored Sunday, every Sunday, so I called my husband
because the Santa Barbara chapter took my and I said, “There’s only one place I want to be
daughter’s poem A Nation Rocked to Sleep, on Mother’s Day this year, I want to be at Santa
(and they did it again this year), and I remem- Barbara. I want to go and see Arlington West.”
ber Michael Cervantes, he brought the booklet When we went, the first time we went, there
over to our house and showed it to us, and I was a little over 700 crosses, now there’s over
never dreamed in a year I’d be standing here in 1,800 crosses.
front of you as one of the speakers at your con- We have this lying bastard, George Bush,
vention, I never dreamed I’d be doing this at all, taking a 5-week vacation in a time of war. You
but isn’t it weird what life hands you. know what? I’m never going to get to enjoy
I can tell you the exact day I heard about another vacation, because of him.
VFP, it was May 4th, 2004, and my son had My vacation probably - -this is really sad
been dead exactly a month, and I was watching because I have a really cute dress I was going to
CNN, and something came on, it was a report wear to the banquet tomorrow night, but I’m
on Arlington West in Santa Barbara, and we either gonna be in jail or in a tent in Crawford, continued on page 2
Anti-war Rally in DC
By Peggy Akers wonderful people from all over this country. peace sign asking us "is this the peace move-
Mothers and fathers and grandparents, teach- ment?" It was her first time marching and we
What a privilege to be in Washington on
ers and carpenters, babies and teenagers, happily told her she was one of us and togeth-
Saturday...marching with so many amazing
Muslims and Christians, Buddhists and dream- er we joined the Code Pink crew and the
ers...lots and lots of dream- Raging Grannies...hopeful and silly.The sad-
ers...Everyone has to believe ness...the little girl with the sign saying "I want
there will be a better world. But my brother home," the soldiers, the military
marching with my daughter families, the crosses each representing a young
Annie was the piece that gives
me the greatest hope, hope that Sheehan’s speech continued on page 2
will raise their Contents
voices louder October 2005
and louder and Features
truly change 1 Cindy Sheehan’s Speech
3 E.D.’s report
this world. 1 Anti-War Rally in D.C
5 President’s Message
The entire day 4 BTHN Bus Tour
felt hopeful...a 8 Chapter News
13 Review: Sir! No Sir! 5 Celebration in Alaska
70 year old
14 The Gray Area 6 Report On Two Convention
15 Poetry Page Workshops
walked up to
17 UN NGO Report 16 St. Patrick’s Four
VFP members march at the rally in D.C. us with her
handmade 19 Merchandise 20 VFP Hurricane Relief
September 24, 2005. Photo by Wes Hamilton
Sheehan continued from page 1 is hard. But I open up the DOD site to see, who
became an angel, while I was sleeping.
waiting until that jerk comes out and tells me And that rips my heart open, because I know
why my son died. there is another mother whose life is going to be
A man emailed me yesterday, I get contacted ruined that day. So we can’t even begin to heal.
by all kinds of people with their stories, and he So anyway that filth-spewer and warmonger,
said Cindy, I read everything you write, I read it George Bush was speaking after the tragedy of
on LewRockwell.com, he said, “I get tears in the marines in Ohio, he said a couple things that
my eyes, but today I cried real tears, and I outraged me.
screamed, because my dear sweet nineteen ear-
old cousin was killed in Iraq.” Seriously outraged me.
And he said, “Cindy, why didn’t I save him? He never mentioned the terrible incident of
Why didn’t I knock him out, why didn’t I take those marines, but he did say, that the families
him to Canada?” and I wrote him back and I of the ones who have been killed can rest
Repairing Crosses at Camp Casey in assured that their loved ones died for a noble
said, “You know what? We all think that.”
Crawford, TX. cause.
I said to my son not to go. I said, you know
Photo by John Grant And, he also said, he says this often, and this
it’s wrong, you know you’re going over there.
But do you think George Bush will interrupt really drives me crazy, he said that we have to
You know your unit might have to kill innocent
his vacation and go visit the families of those 20 stay in Iraq and complete the mission, to honor
people, you know you might die. And he says,
marines that have died in Ohio this week? No, the sacrifices of the ones who have fallen.
“My buddies are going, I have to go.” He said,
because he doesn’t care, he doesn’t have a heart. And I say, why should I want one more moth-
“If I don’t go someone’s going to have to do my
That’s not enough to stop his little playing cow- er to go through what I’ve gone through,
job, and my buddies will be in danger.”
boy’ game in Crawford for 5 weeks. because my son is dead. You know what, the
So what really gets me is these chicken-
So, as you can imagine, the grieving parents only way he can honor my son’s sacrifice is to
hawks, who sent our kids to die, without ever
who lost - - lost, I don’t like to use that word, bring the rest of the troops home. To make my
serving in a war themselves. They don’t know
whose child was murdered, it’s extremely diffi- son’s death count for peace and love, and not
what it’s all about.
cult, you can’t even get a small scab on our war and hatred like he stands for.
30 of our bravest young men have already wound, because every day it rips open. Every
died this month, and it’s only the 5th of August. day, I don’t know why I do it because I already
Sheehan’s speech continued on page 19
And the tragedy of the marines in Ohio is awful. know that war is ugly, I already know that war
Anti-war rally cont. from page 1
life lost, the boots representing empty lives
and empty dreams.... And then a walk to the A V i e t n a m N u r s e
Viet Nam Memorial, just my daughter and (From interviews at Sept. 24 Demo in DC on Znet, by Tom Englehardt)
me...holding hands… crying quietly reach-
ing for the names of soldiers who died in my In a jaunty pink beret and a white “Stop the War” T-shirt (“My daughter made this for me!”),
arms. I wondered...how many more walls Peggy Akers is carrying a colorful hand-lettered sign that says, “Another Veteran for Peace.”
and monuments...how many more dying She’s 58, cheery, has flown in from Portland, Maine and is marching in the Code Pink contin-
children all over this world..when will it ever gent with her daughter and sister. She’s active in Veterans For Peace and promptly tells me, “I
end. The march contin- was a nurse in Vietnam.” If I want to get a sense of her sentiments about her Vietnam experi-
ues... the rallys get louder, ence, she suggests, I should check out the Commondreams website which has posted a poem
...our voices become of hers on the subject, Dear America.
stonger and stronger and (“I hear a helicopter coming in — I smell the burning of human flesh. It’s Thomas, America,
we never give up hope or the young Black kid from Atlanta, my patient, burned by an exploding gas tank... And Pham.
the dream He was only eight, America, and you sprayed him with napalm and his skin fell off in my
for a hands and he screamed as I tried to comfort him... America, we have sent another generation
peaceful of children to see life through an M-16 and death through the darkness of a body bag.”)
world. “I just feel it’s so important for people like myself to speak out about what I saw and did in
Vietnam. I’m part of the conscience of this country. If people like myself don’t speak about
what war does, it’ll never end. The images of war are not being shown to Americans. Not real-
ly. No one here knows what it’s like to see a young soldier, eighteen or nineteen years old, in
a body bag, or an Iraqi mother who has lost her son. If Americans really saw that, this could-
n’t go on.
“If it wasn’t for people marching like today, if they hadn’t done that during Vietnam, that
Wall [the Vietnam Wall honoring America’s war dead] would be wrapped around this city ten
“You know,” she says with excitement, “we met so many people coming in who had never
marched before. From Utah, from the Midwest, from everywhere. I think we should bring our
troops home and instead send in a Peace Corps — plumbers, electricians, carpenters — to help
rebuild that country; whatever the Iraqi people want from us, not what we want from them.”
Editorial: A Healthy Movement
I went to D.C. on September 24th wondering ingly urgent for the anti-Iraq War opposition to find and placards, screened onto t-shirts and printed in
what this latest mobilization might reveal about the common ground and fashion a message that is flyers and brochures. In this brief and endless two
growth of our movement against the Iraq War. clear, unambiguous and easily transportable and one- half years since our invasion of Iraq, the
Mass mobilizations are traditionally the most pow- through our filtered media into the public realm. antiwar movement has substantially united behind
erful tool we have to bring our message before the From what I observed in Washington, that com- a slogan that one heard and read everywhere on the
large majority of non-activist Americans. But mon stand has been achieved. One heard it unceas- 24th, a demand that antiwar forces must now pro-
given the skimpy coverage we are afforded by a ingly from the podium in the exhortations of the claim in every corner of this land: Bring Them
mainstream media that is either hostile or indiffer- many speakers. And wherever one turned an eye, Home Now!
ent to the protest movement, it has become increas- the same words were scripted on countless banners Michael Uhl, editor
Executive Director’s Report VFP Newsletter Fall 2005
Michael Uhl: Editor
Veterans For Peace $520,000 to help hurricane survivors. The Korea Gabriela Inderwies: Layout
continues to do some Peace campaign cosponsored a forum during the
of the most important September 24th weekend mass demo in DC, to Contributing Editors:
work in the nation. bring attention to the conflict on the Korean Peggy Akers
Our efforts with our Peninsula. Chapters continue to organize efforts to Robert Graybill
partner organizations, impeach President Bush and many of our members John Grant
Military Families will be out in force to demand the closing of the Paul Cox
Speak Out, Iraq Schools of Americas in late November.
Veterans Against the We are busy and can be assured we are making a
War, and Gold Star difference, and our message resonates because we struggle. I can find no better way to cristalize the
Families for Peace continue to grow. Today we have 127 chapters and challenge before us today, than with the warning
Michael T. McPhearson over the past two and a many members are busy organizing to form more. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once issued about
Veterans For Peace half years has chal- The national office has been swamped with new Vietnam.
Executive Director lenged our leaders and memberships, over 400 in the past three months The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far
our country to End The and over 1000 renewals. Due to our shortfall in deeper malady within the American spirit, and if
Occupation and Bring Them Home Now! The last fundraising last year, we have put a temporary hold we ignore this sobering reality, we will find our-
three months have seen our work blossom and give on upgrading the website and membership data- selves organizing "clergy and laymen concerned"
the anti-war/peace movements new energy. Today base. But standby, we will have new and better sys- committees for the next generation. They will be
a majority of Americans believe the war is a mis- tems soon. My hope over the next few months is to concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will
take and that U.S. troops should leave. While the provide our members with more timely and rele- be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia.
majority has not moved to the Now! position, the vant information so that you can better plan actions They will be concerned about Mozambique and
voices joining in on that demand are growing. and organize new members. Our first priority is our South Africa. We will be marching for these and a
Sometimes it looks like our efforts are small and membership database followed by the website. dozen other names and attending rallies without
there is no change in the status quo. But remember, As I said before, the immediate crisis is the war end unless there is a significant and profound
not long ago most U.S. citizens supported the war. in Iraq. We are making headway but we have a long change in American life and policy
Today most do not. Your activism has made space way to go. More than likely by the time you read Finally, the phrase no justice no peace is dear to
for others to speak out. People across the nation are this, more than 2000 U.S. forces will have been my heart. I believe for us to find the path to peace
waking up to the illegal actions and lies of this killed in Iraq. As of this writing 198 other coalition we must join with others and see their struggle as
administration in no small part due to your actions. troops have died along with an estimated minimum our struggle. Sexism, classism, racism, heterosex-
Your vigils, your memorials, your talks and inter- 26,000 Iraqis (www.antiwar.com). Our larger chal- ism and all other forms of bias and bigotry are
views, your protest, your petitions, your counter lenge and commitment to resist the use of war to tools used to dehumanize. War is the final conse-
recruitment and education and your exposure of the solve conflicts may appear overwhelming, but take quence of that process. It is the highest form of
true and full cost of war have begun to turn the tide. heart, we have a strong foundation. Veterans For dehumanization. While VFP cannot lead in these
The immediate crisis we face is the war in Iraq, Peace has waged peace for twenty years. We are the various struggles, we must learn how to be sub-
but Veterans For Peace continues the struggle legacy of a consciousness born from Shay's stantive allies. Without this crucial step, we will
against war on many fronts. Members have repre- Rebellion where soldiers began to see that war ben- never build a broad multicultural membership.
sented us in Japan to commemorate the bombings efits the rich and powerful and not those who fight.
Once again I must quote Dr. King,
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in Iran and Syria That consciousness lived on and took firm root dur-
as part of a fact finding team. The Vietnam Agent ing the Vietnam era, and we now express it in our “The bombs in Vietnam explode at home;
Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign work everyday. The 58,000 lives lost and the sacri- they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a
places pressure on our government to honor its fices made by many of our members are a solid decent America.”
moral and legal responsibility to compensate the platform for our resistance to war. Most of the We say every bomb dropped in Baghdad
Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange. From nation has forgotten the lessons of Vietnam. explodes in New Orleans and every other home
November 13 to December 13 VFP is cosponsor- Veterans For Peace and other like-minded organi- of the poor and marginalized. Let us not miss
ing a 10 city tour of Vietnamese Agent Orange zations are retelling the story in the context of the this opportunity to work together to build a
victims to highlight this tragedy. Members of Iraq War, and the nation is listening. The veteran's broad vision of peace and justice.
Veterans For Peace spearheaded by Chapter 116, peace movement is alive and well and will contin-
participated in Katrina relief and raised over ue to grow as long as we stay committed to the
Over the last
four months, we
have been a part of
an almost unbeliev- When Bush went back to Washington, three Many chapters are cornerstones of efforts to
able upsurge in buses left Camp Casey heading for the big UFPJ counter military recruiters who are preying on
advancement for mobilization in Washington, DC. In 28 states and our youth. In several states, political initiatives
the antiwar veter- 51 cities the Bring Them Home Now bus tour calling for a return of National Guard units are
ans and military held over 200 meetings to rally popular support picking up momentum.
families organiza- for an end to the war in Iraq. As the US casualties figures continue to grow,
tions as well as the But just as the bus tour was beginning, now approaching 2000 fatalities, vigils are
entire peace move- Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and planned throughout the nation to acknowledge
ment. After the the surrounding Gulf Coast region. "White this milestone and again raise our voices to call
V F P President confusion and, for Rose", the Mendocino, California Chapter 116 for our troops to be brought home alive..NOW!
Dave Cline some, demoraliza- bus headed to Covington, LA where they set up Veterans (Armistice) Day parades and com-
tion that followed camp and began conducting relief operations. memorations will see participation by VFP chap-
the 2004 presidential election, events this sum- Orange Country Chapter 110 began sending large ters on a broader scale this year than ever before
mer have helped turn things around and get the quantities of needed supplies on Caravans of and the annual School of the America Watch
movement moving again. And Veterans For Hope with other chapters and ordinary citizens actions at Fort Benning are again a focus for
Peace has been in the center of much of this. pitching in, giving money and going down to do mobilization.
Although some initially questioned the wis- volunteer work. These relief and reconstruction
effort still continue today and VFP is an integral Our demand for accountability and call for
dom of holding the 2005 Convention in Dallas,
part of it. impeachment of the President and Vice-President
Texas, it proved to be a unifying and inspiring
have also picked up momentum and currently the
gathering as well as the launching point for a On September 23-26 thousands of veterans scoundrels in the Washington are increasingly in
major action when Gold Star mother Cindy and military families joined with over 300,000 disarray with one revelation after another expos-
Sheehan went with a busload of VFP members to others in a massive outpouring of popular opposi- ing their deceit.
George Bush's vacation home at Crawford to tion to the continuing Iraq conflict. The veterans'
demand a meeting with him about her son contingent was one of the most powerful in the When you think about it, so much has hap-
Casey's death in Iraq. march, wearing fatigues and organization colors, pened recently that it is almost hard to compre-
carrying our banners, chanting and calling hend. But this is only the beginning. There is still
This action spurred a national outpouring for
cadence. Despite many logistical problems, we much to do if we are going to stop the war and
peace with the mainstream media giving Camp
were shown much support from other marchers turn this country around. I know that Veterans
Casey almost daily coverage. Thousands traveled
and received significant coverage in the media. For Peace is and will continue to be an important
to the camp to stand with her, other Gold Star
The vets contingent at a simultaneous march in component of this movement for change and I
and military families, returning Iraq vets and reg-
San Francisco got similar recognition as well. am proud to be a part of it.
ular citizens. Veterans For Peace members were
ever present and a cornerstone of this effort Since then efforts have continued and escalat- David Cline,
ed in cities and towns throughout the country.
BTHN Tour Helps to Bring America Together Against War
by Chris Snively The objective of the Bring Them Home Now intergenerational strength of today's peace move-
Tour was to take the heartfelt and head smart cri- ment. VFP was represented not only by veteran
As the August sun waned and the vigil in
tiques of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars put forth by members like myself, Elliot Adams, Mike Ferner,
Crawford began to wind down, it became obvious
the four allied organizations of Dallas and Ann Wright, Michael McPhearson, and Bill Perry,
to the military families and veterans at Camp Casey
Crawford: GSFP, MFSO, IVAW, and VFP, to the but also by new associate members like Vince
that something was needed to carry the energy that
public at large in ways that have not been tried in George, and dual VFP/IVAW members Michael
they had generated in Texas all the way to
awhile. To achieve this, three RVs were rented, Hoffman, Cody Camacho, Hart Viges, and Jimmy
Washington D.C. The serendipity of the moment
routes were planned, and speaking engagements Massey.
was that the UFPJ march on Washington was set to
and interviews were scheduled. The RVs were paint- The synergy of the group was perhaps best epit-
take place a little over three weeks from the end of
ed up with catchphrases of peace, staffed by mem- omized by Bill Mitchell of San Luis Obispo, CA.
the Crawford vigil. Somewhere in the dust, ditches,
bers of all four organizations, and on August 30th, Not only is Bill a Gold Star dad who lost his son
and tents of Crawford a plan was hatched to bridge
launched from the prairies of Texas toward D.C. Mike in Sadr City on 04/04/04, but he is also a
the two events together with a cross-country cara-
van. Although there were many different people Along the way the tour made sure to preach to member of MFSO and a VFP veteran of Cold War
involved in this plan, three special individuals were both the choir and the unconverted. Not only were Europe. Even though Bill is someone who has lost
instrumental in getting the tour off the ground: events scheduled with social and religious allies, more than most in this war, he never lets the sad-
Nikki Morse of MFSO, Lisa Fithian from Austin, but meetings were also arranged for the general ness of the subject take away from the message of
TX, and VFP's own Ann Wright. public and with state and federal politicians. The positive change that our organizations are working
tour members, ranging in age from the early 20s to to bring about. As Bill said, "Yeah there is a lot to
the early 60s, represented the be sad about and nothing can bring a dead son back,
but life goes on for those of us who are still here.
You gotta have fun while you are working to
bring peace. Others will see that if you can live
through your ordeals, then so can they. And when
they see that, they'll want to be with you to stop
war and keep a whole lot of other people from
having to go through the pain."
Celebration Of Peace and Reconciliation
ty dinners and even an evening of dancing in a
Among the American veterans attending,
VFP president Dave Cline told a moving story
of surviving a fierce firefight and of the young
Vietnamese soldier he killed – and how dumb
luck had meant the survival of him or Dave.
He also spoke at a public forum in Anchorage
and, despite the fact it made some conservative
Alaska veterans in the audience nervous,
spoke unambiguously against the war in Iraq,
At a story telling session attended by com-
munity members, nurse/veteran Sara Berg
from Homer spoke of her guilt at being part of
the military machine that caused so much of
the suffering in Viet Nam she had witnessed.
When Captain Liem walked over and
embraced her, there wasn’t a dry eye in the
“What surprised me,” LeMay said, “was the
healing factor in the community. People are
still coming up to me with stories. I’m
Members of the Celebration of Peace and Reconciliation gather for a group photo in One resident told how it made him recall his
Anchorage. The signs says “Welcome to Alaska.” aunt who was a nurse in Viet Nam and her sui-
cide later. He told LeMay the water ceremony
Photos by John Grant had made him realize what “a hole it was in
By John Grant After two days in Anchorage, everything my life.”
moved 200 miles southwest to the fishing vil- Alaska, with the highest per-capita popula-
As the group of veterans from the US and
lage of Homer, which featured a moving open- tion of Viet Nam vets in the nation, is political-
Viet Nam sat around sharing stories through a
ing ceremony involving the mixing of vials of ly quite conservative. Nevertheless, once the
translator at The Good Karma Inn – Viet Nam
water from all over the US and from Viet Nam. summer tourist madness eases, Lemay plans to
veteran Michael LeMay’s bed and breakfast
As a fitting bookend, in a closing ceremony, a get ten veterans together and start a VFP chap-
made of logs in Homer, Alaska – it slowly
frozen block of the water was set loose in ter in Homer. “I see us getting launched in the
became evident to Louis Block that the
Kachemak Bay. There were discussion Fall.”
Vietnamese general sitting across the table
groups, storytelling sessions, some robust
from him had commanded the troops that over- ###
salmon and halibut fishing, potluck communi-
ran his unit in Quang Tri province and caused
the spinal injury that relegated much of his life
to a wheelchair.
Block, who is married to a Vietnamese
woman and has kids with her, has worked in
Viet Nam for many years in a humanitarian
role. The gravity of the moment did not phase
him, and he broke out into a wide smile. He
and the general embraced.
That’s the way it went at the week long
Celebration of Peace and Reconciliation in
Anchorage and Homer, Alaska, in May. The
event was the brainchild of LeMay during a
trip to Viet Nam in December 2003, where he
met Hoang Cong Thuy, secretary general of
the Vietnam-USA Society, who was on the
Alaska trip to manage and translate.
The delegation also included Colonel Tran
Van Sang; National Liberation Front (“Viet
Cong”) Captain Le Thi Thanh Liem, the only
woman in the group, and Bui Van Nghi, a sec-
Hoang Cong Thuy tells a story to a gathering of American vets.
Report on Two Dallas Convention Workshops
The End of War, or the End of US
by S. Brian Willson destroying ancient human “teaching” cultures, One of the obstacles to an emboldened
and undermining our own national and local uprising is continued faith in the exceptionali-
I have made the decision to not participate health as a society, are intended to commit ty of the United States of America – not
in war any longer…[T]to me it is simple. I ecocide. We know that the Western Way Of wanting to believe the extent of its fraudulent
have been to the war zone and I have seen Life (WWOL), and its newer version, the “Constitutional democracy.” A consciousness
the devastation it causes. Why can’t every- American Way Of Life (AWOL), are intrinsi- leap enabling extrication of our complicity
one agree that war is the most repugnant cally unsustainable! How could this be? How with a failed system is made extraordinarily
of all human endeavors? could we be so dumbed-down participating in difficult because virtually all of us have
— Sergeant Kevin Benderman, Iraq War vet- our own death?? become addicted to a Way Of Life, no differ-
eran on becoming a conscientious objector ent than addiction to drugs and alcohol, for
As we become aware of these terrifying
In April 1969, during a traumatic moment example. The U.S. possesses but 4.6 percent
of the world’s population consuming insa-
witnessing the immediate aftermath of the “We know that the tiably anywhere from 25 percent to nearly
bombing of a populated fishing village in Viet
Nam, I began to sense the LIE of the war, of Western Way Of Life half the world’s resources – a societal foot-
print 5 times that which the earth can sustain.
the shallowness of my ideological condition- (WWOL), and its newer To maintain this unjust pillage requires war,
ing, and of a fraud underlying “American”
mythology. version, the American Way or its constant threat.
Now, 36 years later, I wonder why the les- Of Life (AWOL), are John Locke described empire as a way of
life requiring the taking of wealth and free-
sons learned in those years when “democrat-
ic” practices almost took hold in “America” dom away from others to selfishly assure
are less heeded than ever? Increasingly, our one’s own welfare and power. In U.S. history,
species knows that it is at a pivotal moment realities rebutting generations of glittery rhet- empire, soft or hard, is the product of an
for survival or not in our long evolutionary oric about “exceptional” U.S. America, a spe- unwillingness to live within our means. The
journey. It is as if the “developed” human cial opportunity emerges to uncover the social United States, no less than other empires from
activities that are dangerously warming the secret that “America” is in fact an oligarchy Rome to England, was born in and has
earth, destabilizing indispensable ecosystems, committed to exploitation to assure prosperity expanded upon imperial values. The U.S.
for a minority, while “Founding Fathers” had visions of an “empire
exposing the social of liberty” (Jefferson), “imperial republican-
myth that “America” ism” (Madison) and a mercantile, expansive
is [not] a democracy nation, but NOT a vision of democracy. The
committed to justice U.S. Constitution is based on a strong vertical
for all. authority structure that makes democracy
This is indeed a impossible. The strong central government
revolutionary pre-empted the original 1773 Revolutionary
moment calling for ideas of farmers and small communities
noncooperation with whose uprising opposed any central authority
and nonviolent structure whether imposed from England or a
resistance to our home-made version of same.
Lee Zaslossky, Stephen Funk, Camilo Mejia, and Jeff fraudulent oligarchic It is time to choose to leap out of the water
Paterson at the CO workshop. political system pre- as the frog did not. The water is near the boil-
Photo by Debra Clark serving plundering ing point and we need an adrenaline rush trig-
“free” market capi- gering our autonomic nervous system to radi-
talism. A nonviolent revolution from below is cally move to avoid approaching catastrophe
capable of reviving ancient social organiza- if we remain complicit with our system
tions of autonomous, local steady-state designed to make profits at all costs (includ-
economies such as are currently witnessed in ing our catastrophic elimination) for a few.
the radically democratic Zapatista communi- As veterans many of us have been to war
ties in southern Mexico. Many localities in and seen the devastation it causes. It is time
the U.S. are now forming post oil action with our friends around the country and world
groups preparing outlines of local, authenti- to choose not to participate in war any longer
cally sustainable economies long-ago aban- by directly addressing the causes rooted in
doned as being primitive. We need courage to our Way Of Life that drive our imperial poli-
withhold further support for a one-party sys- cies. As Henry David Thoreau advised,
tem with two right-wings (soft/liberal or “Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!”
THe Impeachment bus ready to leave hard/conservative) disguised as “representa- ###
for Crawford , TX. tive democracy,” each committed to an impe-
Photo by Paul Brailsford rial “America.”
DEMILITARIZING SCHOOLS WORKSHOP
by Doug Rawlings the counter-recruitment movement; how to gain pamphlets, and web sites available to help all
school access; how to develop effective media of us become better informed.
Arlene Inouye of the Coalition Against
relations; and how to frame the debate on •Veterans have a credibility level that is virtu-
Militarism in Our Schools presided over the
recruiting. It was during this conversation that I ally unassailable when talking to young peo-
morning session of this two part workshop. Her
found two very workable phrases when dealing ple about military service. Oftentimes,
presentation was superb - she used first-hand
knowledge from an organizer’s perspective to recruiters have not served in war and are real-
show us how to get into schools and how to get “Veterans have a ly hanging on to a cushy duty — students
things done (included in the workshop was a credibility level that is vir- should be made aware of this.
comprehensive folder on how to organize and
tually unassailable when
•Go to Project YANO (www.projectyano.org)
hand-outs ready for copying); she used a strong for case histories on how to deal with school
foundation of facts and a firm understanding of talking to young people access.
government policies to inform us on how to get
around Byzantine school regulations; and she about military service.” •When dealing with the media (and the par-
ents that engage the media), emphasize the
used her own well-earned experience as a pub-
fact that schools are intended for educational
lic school teacher to capture the mind set of
with recruiting in our schools: “we are not here purposes not for national defense, that stu-
American high school students (“just get across
to bash the military; we are merely here in a dents are underage minors who are entitled to
the ‘unfairness’ of an issue, and you’ve got
‘consumer reports’ capacity to help young peo- protection and oversight that would (or
them on your side”). She talked about how she
ple make a very hard decision” and “we are should) discourage recruiters preying on
urged the Los Angeles teachers’ union to use its
here to encourage ‘full disclosure’ - i.e., we them, and that recruiters often omit or mis-
Human Rights Committee to address militarism
want students to be as fully informed about all represent true facts about war and military
in the city’s schools. She discussed how impor-
aspects of military service as they can be before service.
tant it is to attend school board meetings to
they decide to make an eight year commit- •Frame your message around specific princi-
carve out accessible “opt-out” policies to count-
ment.” As the panel discussion continued, par- ples and values: empathy for others, responsi-
er recruiters’ open season in our schools. She
ticipants were able to latch onto some interest- bility to oneself and one’s community, the
made us see how important it is to garner stu-
ing and useful pointers: need to protect those less fortunate than us,
dents’ support through existing student groups
in our high schools. When Ms. Inouye wrapped •Recruiters are quite capable of spitting out the fairness of any policy, the right to respon-
up her presentation, workshop participants “straight-forward untruths” (lies), “medium sible freedom in this country, the need for
knew that they had a tool kit in their hands, no untruths” (myths that are the bread and butter meaningful service to one’s fellow citizens,
matter where they lived, to counter recruiters’ of recruiting such as financial aid bonuses, the need for trust to be nurtured and main-
invasion into their communities. travel opportunities, career advancement pos- tained in all relationships, and the crucial
sibilities), and “larger untruths” (false ideolo- need for open communication to be main-
The second half of the workshop was turned
gies promoted by the military such as the tained in all relationships.
over to a panel of four VFP activists (Tim
nation as the highest unit of affiliation a per- At the end of this workshop, all of us left bet-
Jones, Todd Boyle, Michael Cervantes, and
son can have or the belief that unconditional ter informed, more motivated, and better pre-
Thomas Heikkala) who addressed the following
obedience is a virtue). pared to carry on counter-recruiting in our com-
issues: myths and lies of recruiting; the current
state of counter-recruiting; how vets can fit into •The counter-recruitment movement is alive munities.
and well and growing with plenty of books, ###
VFP Convention 2005 in Irving, TX
The VFP Board
lution business in
Photo by A. Davis
Doug Rawlings from
chpater 001, Maine Ann Wright, Colleen Rowley, and
is one of the original Jesselyn Radack at the "Speaking Truth
VFP members. to Power (Whistleblowers)" workshop. Code Pink members in Crawford.
Photo by A. Davis Photo by Debra Clark -7- Photo by Jim Brown
Chapter 10, Albany, New York Out, the DC AntiWar Network (DAWN) and
Chapter 10 has been very busy. Our members others.
assisted a group of veterans being evicted from a The Doctor, the Depleted Uranium and the
veterans housing faculty. Tyler Arms, provided Dying Children is a 2004 award winning
food, solidarity and help with moving and is German documentary about Prof. Siegwart-
working to secure decent future veterans housing. Horst Gunther, a physician who worked with
We sponsored a major regional peace confer- Albert Schweitzer and was the first European
ence. The keynote speakers were Colleen Kelly, physician to bring back hard evidence from Iraq,
cofounder of September 11 Families For that ‘depleted’ uranium projectiles contaminated
Peaceful Tomorrows, Blase Bonpane, Director Iraq. More than 300 tons of radioactive, urani-
of the Office of Americas and Bill Quigley, law um projectiles conataminated Iraq during the
professor, attorney and the advisor for the St. 1991 Gulf War. The Telepool produced film is
Patrick’s Day Four. The St. Patrick’s Day Four distributed in the US and may be obtained
also spoke at our conference. All of these folks through the Traprock Peace Center
are highly recommended as speakers for VFP (www.TraprockPeace.org)
events both regional and national. Besides raising money for DC Chapter 16
Elliot Adams was in Crawford, Texas at and the Traprock Peace Center, the film’s show-
The Smedley D. Butler Brigade of the
Camp Casey and continued to Washington on ing resulted in groups organizing a DU public
VFP took part in a Labor Day Blog-a- the very important Bring Them Home Now bus information booth for the 24 September peace
thon on Cape Cod. A photo essay of
tour. John Amidon is traveling to Iran and Syria ralley in Washington DC.
this action can be found on democra- with the U. S. Academics Against the War Peace
ticunderground.com. Doug Nelson
Delegation representing VFP leaving September
Photo by Ken Farr 10, 2005. He will speak at the Univ. of Tehran on Chapter 21, New Jersey
the U.S. Peace Movement. For the second time in recent weeks,
Chapter 1, Maine Chapter 10 also has supported an important President Dave Cline hosted a call-in/interview
DVD project, NO Running Water, a DVD music show on radio station WBAI (subbing for Al
Maine Chapter 001 members have been very
video designed to help close the School of the ‘grandpa” Lewis). It was a huge success with
active this late summer and early fall. We have
Americas. If you would like a free copy please several live reports, including one with Cindy
been leading other peace action groups in a
email John Amidon at firstname.lastname@example.org This Sheehan from Camp Casey in Crawford, Texas.
series of “read-ins” in our Representatives’ and
video is entered in the Sundance Film Festival VFP members are now urging WBAI manage-
Senators’ offices (six so far) – we occupy the
and is receiving strong support from many ment to air a regularly scheduled show by-for-
offices and read the names of all American sol-
peace groups nationwide. and about veterans to be hosted by Dave.
diers killed in Iraq followed by the names of
Iraqi civilians killed. Every time a name is John Amidon Joe Attamante continues his work on details
read we put a slash on a burlap wall covering. for an Iraq War Veterans Forum that he will con-
Chapter 12, Houston, Texas duct at Drew University in November. He has
Each read-in takes about six hours. We also
organized and led a 350 person march and In response to the determination and invigor- lined up Stan Goff and Alex Rybov and is seek-
rally protesting the Blue Angels show at ation shown throughout the summer up at Camp ing two more participants to round out the
Brunswick Naval Station. After an all-night Casey, local Houston veterans, many contrib- forum.
vigil on Friday, September 9th, we marched utors to the weeks of Texas protest, re-initiated Ken Dalton has taken on the reigns of bring-
21/2miles on September 10th to the gates of their call of duty to the national Veterans For ing Chapter 21 together on a more regular basis,
the base and held a rally that featured Kathy Peace organization amongst a small but commit-
Kelly from Voices in the Wilderness. We ted group on September 13th. Officers were
called for the immediate withdrawal of troops elected and groundwork laid in several local
from Iraq. In mid-September we staffed a project initiatives to build with other local peace
table at the statewide Common Ground Fair organizations. We will co-sponsor and support
(50,000 attendees) that featured a series of a 2000th soldier fallen in the Iraq War memorial
counter-recruitment handouts. Our display to be displayed in Houston at the appropriate
won “Most Educational” prize at the fair. We time this fall.
are currently sending speakers into high Sarah Wilton
schools and colleges through our “Speakers
Chapter 16, Washington, D.C.
Bureau” (we placed an ad in the state
The D.C. Chapter 16 presented the The
Principals’ magazine asking them to invite us
Doctor, the Depleted Uranium and the Dying
in), distributing our “Cost of War” brochures
Children, to a broad coalition of DC-based peace
and setting up “Cost of War displays in state
action groups on July 17 at the Sangha
libraries, and pushing for a resolution in our
Performance Space in Takoma Park, Md.
state legislature that would call for the with-
Standing-room-only participants represented
drawal of our National Guard troops from Iraq.
Code Pink, Peace Action, Takoma Park Peace
And much, much more. Members of chapter 45 at the
Committee, Montgomery County Coalition for
Doug Rawlings Alternatives to War, Military Families Speak
with meetings at several rotating locations in NJ. Peace on a non-stop VFP express to D.C. where base at Bangor, WA . At noon on July 4th we
Anyone who can help out on this should contact we joined the thousands in taking it to the streets held a public reading of the VFP Declaration of
Ken at email@example.com. Ken and for peace and justice. Our next immediate goal is Impeachment at Terry Schrunk Plaza, conve-
Dave Cline attended the large rally for Camp to find a place to hold periodic meetings, plan
Casey in NYC. Ken has been interviewed on our strategy, improve our comradeship and
Dave’s WBAI radio shows. increase our numbers. Anyone out there reading
Gene Glazer has resumed his monthly pick- this please communicate with us! Contact David
et at the Bloomfield recruitment office and will Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 412-351-
now include neighboring Montclair. Greg 3753.
Payton and Gene were invited speakers at the David Thomas
vigil in Newark to support Camp Casey, spon- Chapter 61, Bi-state Missouri/Illinois
sored by New Jersey Peace Action.
Chapter 61 distributed more than 7000 leaflets
over a three-day period at Fair St. Louis, July 2-
4. One leaflet supported BRINGING OUR
TROOPS HOME NOW, along with a short his-
tory lesson of how we won our independence
from a King named George and a multi-national
mega-corporation called the East India compa-
ny. Another leaflet provided a reality check on
military service for youngsters considering the
military as a way to improve their lives, along
with a practical list of alternatives. A third pro-
vided factual information on the toxic exposures
of our troops, Iraqi civilians and the effects upon
children of both. Dave Smith (l.) 92 year old Lincoln
Reception was generally positive. There were Brigade volunteer, veteran of the
a very few who trashed the leaflets, or made neg- Spanish Civil War, and Fred Seamon
ative comment on their content. Several people (r.) VFP member and Vietnam Vet, are
tarried to talk and test their own ideas and feel- marching behind VfP banners during
Chapter 80’s Arlington North West dis-
ings against what we know and believe. We even the anti-war march in San Francisco
play on Memorial Day.
had opportunity to pass out membership on September 24.
Photo by Brad Johnson
brochures to recently returned and older veterans
discovering us for the first time. niently located across the street from the
Billy Kelly, recently back from Vietnam and Green/Wyatt Federal Building and Portland City
Dallas – has now gone to spend a week to help All in all, a very successful weekend.
out in the relief efforts for the victims of Katrina. Woody Powell
July also brought us the good news that we
Gene Glazer Chapter 72, Portland, Oregon had received a generous grant from the
Chapter 27, Minneapolis, Minnesota We began the summer by sponsoring our own McKenzie River Foundation in support of our
Chapter 27, Minneapolis, continues to do out- Memorial Day commemoration with a series of peace education and counter-recruiting pro-
reach activities, including speaking and tabling events featuring Iraq Veterans Against the War grams for Portland youth.
in the community. In June we gave away our co-founder Mike Hoffman, culminating with a On August 9th, we initiated a daily vigil in
canoe that we raffle annually, having raised solemn remembrance at the Veterans’ Wall of support of Cindy Sheehan’s quest for the so-
$15,000 and talked with around 1000 ticket buy- Portland’s Memorial Coliseum. A chapter mem- called “noble cause.” We were quickly joined at
ers at our information table. We are seeing an ber who served in each conflict from the Second Schrunk Plaza by members of Code Pink,
increasing number of Iraq War veterans finding World War to Desert Storm spoke about the sig- MFSO and other local peace organizations,
their way to us with pictures and stories to share. nificance of Memorial Day, followed by a brief, who helped us keep 30-60 people at this down-
We’ve been contacted by a local independent intensely moving talk by Mike. Empty boots, town intersection for the duration of Cindy’s
cinema to introduce showings of the film placed on the wall, remembered those who have occupation of Crawford. For the first time, we
“Winter Soldier,” and we may do the same when been killed and injured. managed to achieve national press coverage,
they show the (superb) documentary Recent activities have included marching in and walk-up participation in the vigil was
“Occupation Dreamland” in November. We the Gay Pride parade, to cheers from thousands unprecedented.
had members attend the National Convention, of on-lookers, as well as in the marches from the Chapter 72 has endorsed and wholeheartedly
and drive down to Camp Casey. We will send a capitol in Salem to Portland, and from the supports the website www.soldiersheart.org, a
busload down to the SOA protest this Fall. Hanford nuclear site to the Trident PTSD resource cre-
Shiloh Fetzek submarine
Chapter 47, South West Pennsylvania
Southwestern Pennsylvania, Chapter 047, is in
motion. We followed up our hosting of the
"Bring Them Home Now Tour" on its way
across country by sending a bus load of VFP
members and supporters, henceforth known as
the Saturday Light Brigade of the Veterans For
and justice through non-vio- 2005 (http://www.juneauempire.com/sto-
One scholarship was earmarked Remembering Iraq war dead, the Juneau
for a veteran attending a communi- Empire also published a shortened version of
ty college in the San Diego area. the winning essay in Chapter 100’s 2005 Peace
The recipient of that award was Scholarship ($1,000). The topic this year:
Mark McGrath, 47, of San Diego, “The Cost of War.” We asked local high
a combat veteran attending San school seniors to describe and discuss in 1,500
Diego City College. He plans to words the impacts war has on participants,
use the scholarship to attend the families, communities, and countries. The
University of California-Berkeley scholarship committee particularly liked author
next fall, majoring in Astro-physics. Tabitha Williams’s comment: “I think the dis-
The second scholarship was for a tress of killing and watching people be killed is
high school student and was underestimated. Some soldiers never get over
VFP members joining with ACLU on Boston State awarded to Homayra Yusufi, 18, of the guilt of taking another’s life, and since the
House steps to support Amendment 1881 to San Diego, a senior at Scripps government all too often refuses to take respon-
Patriot Act. Ranch High School. Homayra and sibility for emotional damage, many of these
individuals do not get the help they need.”
Photo by Paul Brailsford her family fled Afghanistan when The published essay can be viewed online at
she was two years old after their
ated by member Sean Lewis, which links veter- neighborhood was bombed during the civil war. http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/090805/o
ans suffering from PTSD and their families She plans to use the scholarship to attend San pi_20050908013.shtml. Ms. Williams is now
with support services. Diego State University next fall majoring in a freshman at the University of Alaska in
Clayton Knight International Relations. Anchorage.
Chapter 78, Gainesville, Florida Both essays can be read on our website at On September 24, Chapter 100 members will
www.sdvfp.org. host a breakfast Q&A with Juneau school board
The chapter in conjunction with the N. Fla. GI candidates at a local restaurant. We plan to raise
Rights Hotline and a super activist mother of Dave Patterson issues such as school board policies regarding
high schoolers gave a workshop on NCLB Act Chapter 100, Juneau, Alaska military recruiters’ presence in the schools,
9528 and alternatives to joining the military on administering ASVAB tests during school
July 30th at the Downtown Gainesville Library. Chapter 100 has initiated a weekly vigil hon-
oring U.S. dead in Iraq at a waterfront park in hours, notifying students and parents of the right
It is now an off-the-shelf workshop that anyone to “opt out” from releasing student directory
can access at our website www.afn.org/~vet- Juneau. VFP members and others stand by a
flag-draped coffin displaying the current number information to recruiters, and access to the high
peace/workshop.htm . All you need is a laptop a school campus by members of our newly
screen and a projector to do it. Everything you killed. We have received many positive
responses from, and engaged in conversations formed Truth In Recruiting Committee. The
need is there, various links, how to do a CO municipal election will be October 4.
application, understanding the Delayed Entry with, some of the thousands of cruise ship visi-
Program and several other topics can provide tors from around the world. Our local newspa- Ed Hein
great information to parents, kids and especially per, the Juneau Empire, published a photo and
Chapter 105, Baltimore, Maryland
SCHOOL COUNSELORS. Any and all are caption on August 26. Web posted August 26,
Baltimore VFP helped found a coalition to
invited to access it. organize counter-recruiting in
Bill Warrick Baltimore schools, and co-sponsored
counter-recruiting trainings through
Chapter 91, San Diego, California
the summer. Balto VFP members
Our Chapter has held several Arlington West joined with parents and teachers to
events throughout San Diego to honor the US address local school boards about the
military troops that have died in Iraq and also to “opt-out” option and access to class-
make people aware of the ongoing war. rooms and school events. VFP mem-
When we held Arlington West on January 20, bers will join others to speak to classes
2004 in Oceanside, we installed 506 crosses on through the school year about the real-
the beach. ities of military life.
The AFSC Eyes Wide Open combat
Oceanside city is significant because it is adja-
boots and civilian shoes memorial dis-
cent to Camp Pendleton, the home of the 1st
play was in Baltimore 9-11 September,
Marine Corps Division, a military unit that has
and Balto VFP members worked hard
seen so many of its marines killed in Iraq.
to make it happen. Many VFP and
On May 26, we installed over 1,600 crosses “Bring Them Home Now” flyers were
on the same beach to honor the US military handed out, buttons sold, and conver-
dead in Iraq. And on Saturday, June 18, the sations held with interested vets.
number was up to 1,722 when we had another VFP member Steve Sinsley (r.) of chapter 47 The focus through September was
Arlington West in Ramona. traveled to Japan for the commoration of the hosting the Bring Them Home Now !
We want people to start thinking PEACE and 60th anniversaty of the a-bombing of buses and organizing for the DC anti-
therefore have awarded two $1,000 scholarships Hiroshima and Nagasaki. war march.
to students who wrote stirring essays on: In Hiroshima he spent time with Japanese Ellen Barfield
“How can I further the cause of world peace VFP member Koshi Kobayashi (l.)
Chapter 110 Orange we’ve been quite busy. We took part in a
County, California regional VFP gathering Memorial Day ‘03 in
Chapter 110 co- Milwaukee. That year, we manned an info table
sponsored an event at at our local “Earthfest”, met with Sen. Russ
Memorial Park in Feingold, raised money for People to People (a
Please consider this important way by which you can proj- Santa Ana . On the high school foreign exchange program), and
ect and amplify the objectives of Veterans For Peace – even podium were Zeke marched with VFP at the SOA Watch at Ft.
after your voice has been stilled. Hernandez, President Benning.
War has been with us a long time, and it would be naïve of LULAC, Orange 2004 saw us mark the anniversary of the Iraq
to think that more generations of veterans will not be created. County as moderator; War with a mock veteran’s cemetery (ala
By leaving a bequest, you can create a legacy that will one of Santa Ana’s city Arlington West) in a downtown park. Over 570
benefit others for generations to come. councilmen; Sandra candle luminaries, each bearing a name and age,
Consult with your estate planner or lawyer. They will guide Rosales, an Army Sgt. were lined up and lit. We brought peace and
you in the best way to make sure your wishes are followed. whose husband died in justice speakers to town such as Kathy Kelly of
Then notify us at VFP headquarters. We will make sure your Iraq last year; Voices in the Wilderness, and kept up a contin-
intentions are on record here. Madrigal, VFP 110 & ued presence on our “Free Speech Corner”
Marine Honor Guard downtown every Friday, rain and shine. One
Chapter 109, Olympia, WA, & NE Chapters: doing a native American (Toltec) ceremony; a week we treated passers by to a bit of old time
Sponsored by VFP, Rose Gentle, a Scottish Las Madres Militares Mom, and me, Dan Kelly.
mum whose son Gordon was killed in Iraq in We set up Arlington West on the grass of the
June 2004, joined Cindy Sheehan in Washington park and set the tone for remembering the many
DC on September 24. Inspired by the Rachel undocumented soldiers lost in Iraq and previous
Corrie Chapter VFP 109 in Olympia, WA, the US conflicts/wars.
Oregon and Washington VFP chapters joined
We got our licks in about recruiting the poor,
together to donate funds for Rose’s US visit.
the tragic costs to the Latino community, and in
Rose is a co-founder of the British Military
particular, countered the Minutemen vigilantes
Families Against the War. Like Cindy in the
who fail to remember the number of undocu-
U.S. , she is the face of the tragedy and loss of
mented who have paid the ultimate price in Iraq
the Iraq war in the UK. She also reflects grow-
and in every single war since annexing the
ing collaboration of the US and UK anti-war
southwest, including a couple undocumented
effort led by VFP.
Mexican Congressional Medal of Honor recipi-
Wes Hamilton ents in the US Army, Navy & Marine Corps.
The event was the first of its kind in the com-
munity and will be repeated next year.
We gained three new members to our chapter
and a very real effort is alive to build a Latino
Ask members of chapter 118 why they
The event was picked up by LA CBS, Ch. 2 &
were feeling great in this picture. They
Ch. 9 Monday night.
had just completed a seven mile walk
Dan Kelly for peace uphill past the Salt Lake
Chapter 114, Sheboygan, WI Greetings from Veterans hospital to the Ft. Douglas
Sheboygan, WI on the western shore of Lake Cemetery. The march is planned to be
Michigan! Because of an email snafu last a chapter project and be continued
March, this will be our first newsletter contact. until all the troops come home from
Our group began when two vets met at an anti- Iraq.
war rally in February ‘03. Since that time, Picture by Kathy French
A message from your Chapter Development Committee
Growth is happening everywhere. This past information and surveying chapter activities to Recently, a set of emails was sent out to
year we have ratified 13 new Veterans For get a clear perspective of who we have out there Chapter Contacts with three Media training pro-
Peace Chapters. One more is awaiting a little on the front lines. We invite volunteers to call grams. Please use them in your chapters to bet-
paperwork (#126). 14 Chapter Organizing chapters and appreciate cooperation from ter do your work and get the word out on what
Committees are in formation. The most recent 6 everyone. you’re doing. The better we are at media inter-
chapters (#121-125, 127) were ratified at the Getting the Chapter Contacts information up face, the more our mission is supported.
Board Meeting in Dallas. Quite an accomplish- to date is quite vital as we have folks looking for Everyone, please reply to vfpchaptersur-
ment. Welcome them! chapters local to them and often this is their first email@example.com with your Chapter Contacts
Along with welcoming the new chapters, contact with us. If they can’t reach someone current info and to assist with the survey.
you’re invited to update your Chapter informa- easily, we likley loose them as potential mem- Thanks.
tion with the National Office Database. We bers. Sometimes it’s the press seeking local Sharon Lee Kufeldt, Vice President
have a project of verifying Chapter Contact input as well. Membership & Chapter Development Committee
his sign saying repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”. After
the parade, the guys tabled along with the help of
Gene’s wife Donna. Five Iraq war vets came up to
the table along with one gulf war vet who wanted
to know about depleted uranium. We gave out 45
applications and many other handouts. Many peo-
ple came by to thank us for our service and ask
questions about who we are and stand for.
“Camp-Out" at #10 Downing Street in Wonderland: A reading of the Chapter 000 - Southern California
London, GB. The British Military "Downing Street Memo" by the MFAW
Families Against War spanning the families as characters in the "Tea Peace Pole coming to Palm Springs
barriers, with flowers laid by the fami- Party" of Alice in Wonderland The contractor hired by the city to set up the
ly members. Photos by VFP member Wes Hamilton annual Veterans Day Parade said the peace
pole and peace flag would be appropriate
guerilla theater as the grim reaper (with a “W” TIME and want to join or help organize, please entries. However rules prohibit groups from
face mask), who shook hands with “Mr. Big Oil” let me know. carrying signs that share religious or political
in a top hat and fancy coat. We made it a point views. Our local chapter has to prepare a writ-
David Harris, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
to “greet” every Bush or Cheney campaign loca- ten script for approval. The script will be read
tion with people and protest posters, and criti- Chapter 116, Mendocino Country, CA
along the parade route and by both TV and
cized the war and the Bush administration in the The White Rose Impeachment Tour bus has radio live coverage.
op/ed pages. In Nov. ‘04 we marched again with had a busy six weeks. Departing from Northern
Tom Swann said, "I feel this is one of the
fellow VFP protesters at the gates of Ft. Benning. California on July 29 we made our way to the
most important projects we can do this year.
The past seven months have seen us mark a Dallas convention passing through San
When we march by the reviewing stand with
second anniversary of the war with a Peace and Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara and Santa
our American flag, the 29 Palms Marine4 Base
Justice concert at a local college campus. This Monica in California. We then headed on to
General and the Marine Band will stand and
event featured folksinger/songwriter Laramie Albuquerque NM where we were warmly host-
salute. The 29 Palms Base has lost so many
Crocker from California with antiwar music, ed by the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center
brave men and women. They need to know
high school students reading original poems, and and the local Chapter of VFP.
there is at least one parade contingent that
an Iraq vet sharing his experiences. Over the From Albuquerque we departed for the con- wants peace instead of war".
summer we marched for the first time in the vention where we participated in the many activ-
After the parade we hope to have the pole
Memorial Day parade showing VFP colors. To ities and workshops. Our most notable activity
installed in Cathedral City at the fountain or
our surprise we were warmly received by the was the wonderful opportunity of delivering
field of dreams. We really feel peace is a good
crowd, as we carried a flag draped coffin and a Cindy Sheehan to Crawford TX, the rest is his-
message for children. If the pole is erected
sign saying “HONOR VETERANS…. ABOL- tory. We were asked to return to Crawford and
near the fountain then peace lovers could
ISH WAR”. One of our Korean War vets was did so participating in the vigil at Camp Casey 1
assemble for ceremonies. This could draw
interviewed and found himself on the front page where we did extensive networking in prepara-
more visitors to our downtown area. Redlands
of our paper. We ended the summer still on our tion for the www.bringthemhomenow.org tour.
and North Hollywood have similar peace
corner with new signs like “MR. PRESI-
However, we were hijacked by a little event poles.
DENT...TALK WITH CINDY”. As autumn
known by the name of Hurricane Katrina. We
nears we look forward to marching once again Tom Swann
were given large quantities of water and staples ###
either in D.C. on Sept 24th or with our both-
from Camp Casey as it broke up and have estab-
ers and sisters at Ft. Benning.
lished an extension of Camp Casey in
We are 21 members, strong and growing Covington LA providing food and assistance Vietnam Agent Orange
and are proud to be a part of this organization. in the poor, rural, black portion of the commu- Relief & Responsibility
Tom Contrestan nity. This is a project of both Chapter 116 of Campaign
Mendocino County, CA and the Louisiana
Chapter 114, Sheboygan, WI NOV 13 - DEC 13, 2005:
Action Network. Waging Peace!
An Invitation to cross the line VIETNAMESE AND AMERICAN
Pat Tate AGENT ORANGE VICTIMS TOUR
Fellow Veterans: You who have known U.S. CITIES
Chapter 118, Salt Lake City, Utah:
war and now oppose it are widely respected. As part of healing the wounds of war,
Now we have a great chance to PUT IT ON On June 12 four Veterans For Peace
Vietnamese survivors of Agent Orange, who still
THE LINE FOR PEACE. I am recruit- from chapter 118 in Salt Lake City led
seek justice more than 30 years after the end of
ing veterans to lead a mass civil dis- the gay pride parade behind grand mar- the war, will be coming to the United States to
obedience action at the School of the shall Scott Mccoy. Gene Barrett, Bob meet us.
Americas at Ft. Benning next Robbins, Larry Chadwick and
For the entire month of November 2005 Agent
November. Aaron Davis led the peace
Orange victims from Vietnam will visit the U.S.
contingent which also
I would like to visit at the invitation of veterans, Vietnamese
included the People For
your chapter and offer American and peace activists. They will tour
Peace and Justice and was New York NY, Philadelphia PA, Washington DC,
training in nonviolent
seen by a crowd of over Boston MA, Portland ME, Chicago IL,
action - strategy, phi-
20,000. Many cheers were Raleigh/Durham NC, Santa Fe NM, Portland
losophy, and risks. If
heard along the parade route and OR, Seattle WA and the Bay Area CA.
you agree that NOW IS THE
especially when Aaron Davis flashed
A Review By Paul Cox
S i r, N o S i r !
graphics to tell a compelling story about the resist- led to a near breakdown of fighting ability with-
ance within the military. He also filmed numerous in the military. GI’s refused to deploy to the
very moving and contemporary interviews with Democratic Convention in 1968. Troops in
people who were central to these events. Vietnam refused orders to patrol. The military
Duncan, about his tour in Vietnam: “I was admits to more than 1600 instances of fragging.
really proud of what I thought I was doing. The Naval ships were monkey wrenched.
problem I had was realizing that what I was Thousands of GIs signed petitions against the
doing wasn’t right. I was doing it right, but I war. At least 500,000 deserted. Added to the
wasn’t doing right. As bad as the (torture of pris- hundreds of thousands of young men who avoid-
oners) was, the cynicism that attached to it was ed or resisted the draft, these realities eventually
the part that was really sickening.” forced Nixon to pull troops out of Vietnam as
surely as any other pressure. The Vietnamese
Mather, about his arrest during the Presidio
were courageous and steadfast, and were not
Nine’s high-profile resignation from the mili-
going to give up; but it wasn’t our economy or
tary: “I had nothing to loose, and I had no idea
even the general lack of popularity of the war—
what was going to come. That’s a free place, a
it was, as Billy Dean Smith says in the film, “the
really free place, you know? You don’t know
low state of morale among enlisted men.”
what’s going to happen or where you are going,
but you know what you are doing.” Sir! No, Sir! skims the surface of the GI
Sir, No Sir! movement, touching some highlights, leaving
Schnall, an army nurse who helped organize
Directed by David Zeiger others unexamined. For example, the first
the first anti-war demonstration by and for GI’s
Documentary attempt at organizing a union of active duty GI’s
and veterans: “I remembered hearing about the
USA 2005 isn’t mentioned. It was started at Fort Sill by
B-52 bombers that were dropping leaflets on
Donald Duncan, Howard Levy, Susan Andy Stapp and others as the American
Vietnam, urging the Vietnamese to defect. And I
Schnall, and Keith Mather are names that do not, Servicemen’s Union (ASU). Important support
thought, if they can do it overseas, then we can
as far as I know, appear in any high school or organizations the United States Servicemen’s
hire a small private plane and load it up with
college history texts that survey the Vietnam Fund (USSF) and Pacific Counseling Service
leaflets and drop them over bases in the San
War. But they should. Sir! No, Sir! is lost his- (PCS) also aren’t mentioned. But all provided
Francisco Bay Area.”
tory excavated, displayed, and annotated. crucial funding, legal aid, and organizing expert-
Filmmaker David Zieger presents some of the The film makes clear that organizers and ise to dozens if not hundreds of GI initiatives
highlights of the diffuse but exceedingly impor- resisters sometimes paid heavy prices. Levy throughout the world.
tant anti-war and anti-military movement by spent more than 2 years in prison; Schnall was
court-martialed for wearing her uniform to a David Cortright’s 1975 book “Soldiers in
active-duty servicemen and servicewomen dur-
demonstration; Mather escaped the Presidio Revolt”, recently reprinted by Haymarket Press,
ing the Vietnam War.
stockade and spent 18 years in exile in Canada, and Richard Moser’s “The New Winter
Most texts minimally cover the anti-war Soldiers” are two sources of more detail about
then 5 months at Leavenworth when he was
movement, generally focusing on a few seminal the GI movement for those who wish to learn—
arrested back in the States in 1984. A marine
events such as the 1968 Chicago police riot, the or revisit—those times.
activist was gunned down in Oceanside; the Fort
large mobilizations, or draft-card burners—and
Hood Three got 5 years and dishonorable dis- Still, Zeiger picked many important events of
generally take a neutral to semi-hostile tone. But
charges for refusing orders to Vietnam; two the GI movement, and when the film was
nary a word is spent on the actions of these early
black marines were given 6-10 years for organ- screened this summer at the Veterans for Peace
resisters and thousands of other who as active
izing a meeting to discuss whether black GIs conference in Dallas, some young Iraq vets and
duty GI’s gave the brass that good old late night
should go to Vietnam. resistors present were delighted to learn of that
Still, the GI movement eventually reached history, having had no clue of its existence.
Duncan’s high profile resignation from the Resurrected history, presented in this well-paced
from Germany to Cambodia, from Fort Bliss to
Green Beanies, and Dr. Levy’s refusal to train format, will be a useful addition to any history
West Point. Nearly three hundred underground
Special Forces medics for Vietnam were the first curriculum. It may even enjoy a modest com-
newspapers were printed and distributed surrep-
indications that all was not well in the ranks, and mercial run if the filmmakers can get it marketed.
titiously by GI’s during the war.
Dave Zieger’s film captures very well the
immense importance of their stands. Coffee houses, bookstores, and off-base “safe For me, a survivor of Vietnam but a veteran of
houses” sprung up all over, supported by veter- the GI movement, the film captured my own
The brass saw in the GI Movement one of activist compulsion when former and current
ans and civilian anti-war activists. Civilian
several elements of the poor morale that very activist David Cline described his disillusion-
lawyers were recruited to help with the legal
quickly dragged down the effectiveness of the ment with the war: “You find out that it’s all lies,
problems. Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and
US fighting forces in Vietnam. Drugs and deser- they are just lying to the American people. And
others mounted the FTA show that toured the
tions were the two other critical morale indica- your silence just means you are a part of keeping
US, Europe, and Asia. They played to tens of
tors, but it was the organizers and barracks that lie going. I couldn’t stop; I couldn’t be
thousands of enthusiastic GIs, carrying an
lawyers who were going to bring down the silent. I felt I had a responsibility to my friends,
unequivocal anti-war, anti-military, anti-racist,
house of cards upon which military discipline and to the country, in general. And
anti-sexist, anti-imperial message.
was built. to advocate for the Vietnamese (who
Ultimately, anti-war sentiments, faltering
Zeiger, himself a GI activist at Fort Hood, were) fighting for their country.”
“morale”, and a general lack of enthusiasm for
effectively uses the available footage and still ###
the idea of being the last man to die in Vietnam,
by Robert Graybill ment of the then existing number of
Quick. How many members are there in the Representatives [i.e., 435].” When Herbert
House of Representatives? If you guessed 435, Hoover signed the bill on June 18, 1929, 150
give yourself a gold star. Now for a tougher years of constitutional tradition was blithely
question. When was the last time the House thrown out the window, primarily in the name
voted to increase its membership? We’ll come of fiscal restraint.
back to that question in a moment. First, a bit The impetus for the act began nine years ear-
of history. lier. Following the 1920 census, the House
Because the House of Representatives was Census Committee voted 10 to 4 to add 48
the only branch of the federal government, as seats. The New York Times blasted the bill.
originally conceived, to be popularly elected— “The House is too large already. After the next
Senators were appointed by state legislatures census, Congress will have to perform the duty
crete: “. . . within every successive period of ten
and the President was selected by electors which it now shuns and postpones. For physi-
years the census is to be renewed and augmen-
appointed by the state legislatures—the Framers cal reasons, if no other, the growth of the house
tations may continue to be made.”
of the Constitution spent considerable time can’t be allowed to continue indefinitely.” In
For the first 130 years of the republic, other words, according to the Times’s editorial-
arguing about the appropriate size of the “peo-
Congress never failed to execute this responsi- ist, our democracy must be limited by the
ple’s house.” During the Constitutional
bility. Following the first three censuses, under square footage of the House Chamber in the
Convention, Govurneur Morris first argued that
an apportionment plan devised by Jefferson, the Capitol. Actually, that argument, in almost
the ratio of representation should be 40,000 res-
House population increased on an average by those very words, was made earlier by former
idents per every representative. Morris’s num-
40 members per decade. Fearing it was grow- House Speaker Champ Clark, who, in a speech
ber generated much discussion. Some thought
ing to fast, the House applied the breaks to its to Congress in 1920, said that the floor of the
the number too low, some too high. Those
growth beginning in 1820 by increasing the House could accommodate 535 seats, but to add
favoring a smaller number (and large congress)
ratio of representation to 45,000 to one. In another 10 members to the roster would neces-
argued that the liberties of the people would be
1840, under a new apportionment plan advocat- sitate the building of a second House office
better represented by a bigger body. Moreover,
ed by Daniel Webster, House membership actu- building. Therefore, he recommended a
they argued, it would be more difficult for fac-
ally decreased. Thereafter, it inched upwards Constitutional amendment limiting the number
tions to develop in a larger group, thereby obvi-
again, but in the post-Civil War era, it exploded. of Congressmen to 300! In this argument, he
ating the problem of cliques. Others thought
Fifty seats were added after 1870, 39 after 1880, was supported by many Republicans, including
that hitching the fledgling republic’s star to a
25 after 1890, 24 after 1900, and, after 1910, 43 Joe Cannon, another former Speaker. In the
ratio of 40,000 to one would yield a House in
seats, bringing the total to 435. Which is the end, the House voted to kill the reapportionment
the future of unwieldy size. However, in the
answer to the second question. bill 276-77 but did nothing about a
spirit of compromise, Morris’s number was
written into the draft, the Framers also agreeing In other words, to effectively represent a Constitutional amendment. Moreover, the
to Morris’s proposal that the House ought to be country whose population was approximately House refused to reapportion the already exist-
“authorized from time to time to augment ye 92 million, Congress believed 435 representa- ing seats. In other words, the congressional dis-
number of Representatives” as the number of tives would suffice. Yet we now have a popula- tricts for all the elections between 1912 and
inhabitants increases. Only on the last day of tion of more than 280 million and still we are 1930 were exactly the same, despite changes in
the convention did Nathaniel Gorham of saddled with same number of congressional dis- population patterns.
Massachusetts suggest a ratio of 30,000 to one. tricts as our great-grandparents. Our ratio of As even the most mild-mannered cynic will
Seconding his motion, and speaking substan- representation has grown to 646,947 to one in probably guess, there was more than the ques-
tively for only the first time in the convention, 2000. An astounding ratio. Among most tion of office space behind the defeat of the bill.
was the presiding officer, George Washington. Western republics, the ratio varies from 90,000 The 1920 census showed, for the first time in
Needless to say, the general’s change was to one (UK) to 136,000 to one (Germany). American history, that the majority of our peo-
quickly added. Even putative democracies like Russia and ple lived in cities, not in the country.
China have more favorable ratios than ours: Representatives from farm states cried foul and
As finally adopted, the Constitution stipulates
326,000 to one and 415,000 to one, respective- insisted there had been a terrible undercount of
that the House of Representatives can have no
ly. (Only India has a larger one, of 1.8 million farmers due to bad weather. (There is validity
less than 50 members (one for each state) and
to one.) It would be patently ridiculous to argue in their argument.) Most of the new seats would
no more than 9,381, based on the 2000 census
that our brand of democracy is as representative have gone to rapidly growing urban areas in
(one for every 30,000 people). The Constitution
as that of the first generation of Americans—or New York and California, thereby reducing the
defined the first Congress as containing 65 rep-
even our great-grandparents. How did we get to clout that rural representatives had enjoyed in
resentatives, apportioned to each state accord-
this place? Congress up to 1920. Moreover, the population
ing to its estimated population. After that, in the
language of the Constitution, “the actual enu- It was not a constitutional amendment that of these districts had been swelled by years of
meration” of the House limited the size of the House, although you foreign immigration. The battle to limit the size
“shall be made . . . within might think such a perversion of the Framers’ of the House, therefore, was not just a fight
every subsequent term of original intent would need such legitimacy. It between country and city cousins but also a
ten years. . . .” Where the was the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, fight between native Americans and newcom-
Constitution’s language is which stated, in part, that the president would ers. Not surprisingly, the newcomers lost. It
vague, Madison, in The report “the number of Representatives to which should also be noted that throughout this period,
Federalist, was more con- each State would be entitled under an apportion- the Republican Party enjoyed a hammerlock
control over the House. The long-awaited of representatives would increase the ratio of However, another change escaped the notice
redistricting of the 1932 election did much to representation to 709,000 to one. It would also of the researchers. Increasing the number of
ensure Roosevelt’s overwhelming victory, as reduce Congress’s expenses and free up office House seats would throw a monkey wrench into
city dwellers were finally represented in a fash- space near Capitol Hill. More insidiously, it the gentlemen’s agreement between the two
ion commensurate with their numbers. would reduce the influence of minority voting major parties that has shaped congressional dis-
It is axiomatic that the party in power will and enlarge the advantage small states already tricts in such a way as to preserve individual
refuse to tinker with Congressional reapportion- enjoy in the electoral college. Conversely, party strongholds in perpetuity. In the last elec-
ment in such a way as to limit or reduce its increasing House membership would lift tion, only three House seats changed hands, the
influence. Quite the opposite. It will do what- Congressional expenses, force room assign- smallest turnover in history. If we had 520
ever it can to secure or enlarge its majority. ments in Congressional office buildings to Congresspersons (or perhaps 651, as are in the
Both parties have done this shamelessly. change, and cause the desks in the House House of Commons), more seats would lie in
Nevertheless, in 1995, just after it took control Chamber to be rearranged. It would also reduce contested districts and the House, once again,
of the House, Republican leaders asked the the ratio of representation to 478,000 to one, would assume its role as the People’s House,
Congressional Research Service to look into the allow for more minority districts, and signifi- not a second House of Lords, which is sadly
question of House size. They asked researchers cantly reduce the small-state advantage in the what it has become.
to explore two scenarios: increasing House electoral college. In other words, enlarging the How does it feel to live in the least represen-
membership by 85 seats (to 520) or decreasing House would make our democracy more demo- tative democracy in the West?
it by the same number (to 350). Not surprising- cratic, but a bit more expensive; reducing it
would make it more oligarchic but cheaper. ###
ly, the Service found that decreasing the number
Nothing came of the report, however.
P O E T R Y
The Silent Scream by Sharon L. Kufeldt
I feel it! Do you feel it? The soul pain?
Coaching Winter Track in Time of War Sometimes I just want to scream.
by Brian Turner
Do you ever want to scream? Adding his voice to the cur-
The boys are running “suicides” Do you? Ever scream? rent debate about the US occu-
on the football field today: Not silently, into a pillow… so as not to disturb anyone. pation of Iraq, in poems written
ten-yard increments out to the fifty Not locked safely in the car on a deserted street. in the tradition of such poets as
and back again, push-ups in between. Not riding on an amusement park roller coaster. Wilfred Owen, Yusef
It’s thirty degrees, but they sweat Sometimes I just want to scream. Komunyakaa (Dien Cai
like it’s summer in Baghdad, Scream from my guts. Dau),and Bruce Weigl (Song of
Scream from my heart. Napalm), Iraq war veteran
curse like soldiers, swear to God Brian Turner writes powerfully
Scream from my very soul.
they’ll see you burn in Hell. I can never again pretend I don’t see, affecting poetry of witness,
You could fall in love with boys like these: Pretend I don’t know, exceptional for its beauty, hon-
so earnest, so eager, so ready Pretend I don’t feel the shame, the betrayal, the pain - of our countrys’ esty and skill. Based upon
to do whatever you ask, sure of you, collective karma Turner's year-long tour in Iraq
You see, I took the red pill. as an infantry team leader, the
trusting, wanting to please,
Sometimes I just want to poems offer gracefully-ren-
full of themselves and the world.
Stand up in the middle of the street and scream…Wake up! dered, unflinching descriptions
How do you tell them it’s not that simple? Stand up in the middle of the shopping center and scream…Wake up! but, remarkably, leve the reader
How do you tell them: question it all. Stand up in church in the middle of the service and scream…Wake up! to draw conclusions or moral
Question everything. Even a coach. Stand up in the middle of Wall Street and scream…Wake up! lessons. Here, Bullet is a must
Even a president. How do you tell them: Stand up in the middle of the Congress and scream…Wake up! read for anyone who cares
ask the young dead soldiers coming home Stand up on Oprah and scream…Wake up! about the war.
each night in aluminum boxes I feel it! Do you feel it? The soul pain? Alice James Books
Sometimes I just want to scream. www.alicejamesbooks.org
none of us is allowed to see,
Meanwhile in Baghdad…
an army of shades.
Sometimes I just want to scream.
You tell the boys “good work” and call it a day,
I want to scream to the Father of my friend… who voted for Bush, both times.
stand alone in fading light while I want to scream to the Republican husband of my friend… who voted for Bush, both times.
memory’s phantoms circle the track I want to scream to the elderly black woman Veteran I met at the VA…
like weary athletes running a race who voted for Bush, both times “because he does so much for us Veterans.”.
without a finish line. I want to scream to the brother of my friend…
W. D. Ehrhart who patted me on the knee and said it was “ok to torture those people” to save “American Lives”
I want to scream to the mother of my friend… who said “Our President is such a Godly man”
I want to scream to the veteran who says we must follow the President… like he’s God.
VFP Calendar Notice I want to scream to a reporter… do we have any left?
I want to scream to the man on the nightly news who says what he should to keep his job.
I want to scream to God… you know that “Christian God that Bush prays to”
The VFP calendar can be
found on the VFP homepage I want to scream to the rest of the world…
www.veteransforpeace.org. “please, forgive us, for some of us know not what we do.”
I want to scream to the rest of the world… “We’re sorry they won’t wake up.”
For calendar submissions e-mail to I want to scream to the universe… “somehow, please stop us.”
Instead… at 3AM… I send silent screams on the internet to “email@example.com”
VFP Ithaca St. Pat's Four Not Guilty of Conspiracy; Charged with Misdemeanors
Two days before President Bush launched an illegal war against Iraq, four anti-war activist from Ithaca, N.Y. including
Peter DeMott, member of Veterans For Peace in an act of non-vilent civil resistance, entered a military recruiting center
and carefully poured their own blood around the vestibule. The activists, known as the St. Patrick's 4 were tried in
Thompkins county court in April of 2004. Their trial ended in a hung jury. On September 19, 2005, the four went on
trial again. This time the trial was in federal court and included new charges as well. Following is a run down of the ver-
dict. The four were not convicted of a conspiracy charge which could have given them 6 years in prison. They were con-
victed of two lesser crimes: destruction and trespass. Sentensing is expected in January of 2006.
By Louis DeBenedette damage to property and trespassing, both mis-
demeanors which carry possible sentences of
On September 19, 2005, the four went on
one year and six months respectively.
trial again. This time the trial was in federal
"Regardless of the penalties, we will continue
court, and included new charges. They were
to call for justice for the Iraqi people and our
acquitted on a conspiracy charge which could
troops," stated Daniel Burns, one of the four
have given each of them 6 years in prison.
defendants. "We know our principled dissent
"The decision to acquit on the conspiracy now represents the majority of the public, and
charge, a felony, is a huge victory, given the we're inspired by the jury's decision to refuse
narrow parameters within which the four could the government's attempt at intimidation."
present their defense, and given the restrictions
The decision did not surprise the defendants,
on deliberations. This is a major setback in the
given that senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J.
government's efforts to criminalize dissent,"
Carl Robertson, Stuart Naismith, and McAvoy did not permit them to present to the
said Bill Quigley, acclaimed public interest
Louis DeBenedette with members of jury the legal context, particularly international
lawyer and law professor at Loyola University
veterans For Peace at the Federal treaties and the US Constitution, which would
School of Law, who has been acting as legal
Court House, Binghampton, NY. advisor to the defendants.
have made possible and reasonable an acquittal
on all charges. "Our actions were lawful, how-
The four were convicted on lesser charges, ever, we were repeatedly denied the chance to
explain why," stated Teresa Grady, one of the
defendants. "We were not allowed to mention
Letters to the Editor Article VI, paragraph four of the Constitution,
which says that the treaties of the United States
In the aftermath of the giant anti war VETERANS ARE AN ESSENTIAL AND are the supreme law of the land. We were not
protest of Sept. 24, my reaction ranges from UNIQUE COMPONENT OF THE ANTI allowed to explain our actions in the context of
euphoria to disappointment. WAR MOVEMENT.
the Nuremberg Principles, which declare that
Was the demonstration a success? Most Why then, were there no Veterans from the citizens can be held responsible for crimes of
assuredly. The combined and united voices current Iraq war or the earlier Desert Storm their government. Nor could we explain how
of Veterans and peace activists were heard called upon as featured speakers? In addition this war was a violation of the UN Charter.
loud and clear in Washington and cities to these two groups – Veterans for Peace, Nonetheless, the jury ruled wisely, considering
throughout the nation. Those who made the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Korean their instructions. It's unfortunate, however, that
trek to D.C. and were supported by thou- War Veterans and just plain Veterans were in
they were denied the full truth."
sands more at home can claim undisputed D.C. that day.
credit for the success of that day. These were Mike Hoffman (IVAW), Michael In a previous trial in Tompkins County Court
the people who delivered the message to McPhearson (Desert Storm), Dave Cline in April 2004, the defendants were able to fully
Bring The Troops Home NOW. (VFP), and Stan Goff (VVAW) are knowl- explain their action in this broader legal con-
I can imagine the problems and obstacles edgeable and articulate speakers. They speak text, and nine of twelve jurors voted to acquit.
that the sponsors had to overcome for this from the perspective of their personal experi- "The real crime, as we've always stated, is that
event. But their efforts fell short – most ences. As such, their message resonates with our government conspired against the American
specifically and most importantly from the greater force and passion than any other people, and lied us into an illegal and immoral
ill-advised mismanagement of the speakers’ voice from the podium. Celebrities are war," said Peter DeMott. "The task is now upon
podium. always an important part of the rally – but us all to better understand the criminality of our
I welcomed the opportunity to see and lis- they should be heard in addition to, not government's aggression and, as citizens, to act
ten to Cindy Sheehan and other instead of, Veterans. accordingly to demand that our government
mothers/wives/husbands and families whose I have great admiration and respect for adheres to international law."
loved ones were in Iraq or were killed or UFPJ and look forward to participating in Clare Grady, another co-defendant, said,
wounded in pursuit of George Bush’s “noble many more of their events. But this time "Our work is just beginning. We all must con-
cause.” They deserved, more than anyone, they dropped the ball – big time. tinue to speak on behalf of the victims of this
the opportunity to address the rally and the Simply put – At the largest anti war criminal war -- the innocent Iraqi civilians, US
nation. demonstration in 2 years, the voice of service members, and indeed all of humanity.
But following them, what better informed Veterans should have been heard. Whether it's Crawford or Binghamton or
individuals should be designated as featured Gene Glazer Washington or beyond, our dissent will not be
(not 15 second sound bites) speakers other silent.
UN NGO Conference Bigger Than Ever
The September 7-9 UN Conference of Non- The world spends over 900 billion dollars per
Governmental Organizations, titled “Our year for military defense. To eliminate poverty
Challenge: Voices For Peace, Partnerships and it would cost less than 50 billion dollars world-
Renewal”, brought 1800 people from nearly wide for basic needs per year.
100 countries, including 4 VFP representatives,
The UN NGO’s are essential players in
together to strategize on implementing human
achieving this goal. VFP has a voice at this
rights and development goals. Having attended 6
of these NGO conferences, I was encouraged by
the greatly increased focus on PEACE this year, Joan Wittman, St Paul, MN
and greater recognition that unless the world
http://unngodpiconference.org/ Veterans For Peace is fortunate to be repre-
stops spending wealth, energy, and lives on war,
the development goals to eliminate poverty can sented as a non-governmental organization in
never be reached. The titles of many of the the United Nations. Ellen Barfield and Harold
A theme woven throughout the conference
Midday Interactive Workshops, in my opinion the Burbank have been our representatives to the
is that peace and human development must go
major value of the gathering, included the word UN, and through their efforts Walter
hand-in-hand.The United Nations was created
“peace”. I was even pleased to report on the rec- Hrozenchik, Joan and Wayne Wittman were
in 1945 to address the issues of war and peace.
onciliation aspects of the VFP Iraq Water Project also named as representatives of VFP to the
Today, 60 years later, the global community
in a workshop which promoted nonviolence. UN UN DPI/NGO Conference. Being listed as del-
recognizes that without respect for human dig-
and world leaders who addressed the gathering egates and identification with Veterans for
nity and rights peace will be unachievable.
continued to urge our citizen groups to make Peace surfaced many positive comments from
unmistakable demands to our governments that Veterans For Peace is a partner in this endeavor.
other conference delegates and strengthened
human needs must be met and the waste of war The focus of the conference was to measure the resolve of the other 3500 delegates to work
prevented; in the words of UN Under-Secretary- the progress the international community has for peace. This opportunity to be an NGO in
General for Communications Shashi Tharoor, to made in the last five years towards eradicating the UN needs to be known and valued by our
act as the backbone and conscience of the UN. poverty throughout the world by 2015. Poverty membership, and they need to be urged to be
Ellen Barfield, VFP Board Member and Head in this context includes any form of depriva- available for future conference participation.
VFP Representative to the UN tion that hinders an individual’s quality of life.
Wayne Wittman, St Paul, MN
N E W V F P M E R C H A N D I S E I T E M S
VFP Anniversary T-SHIRTS VFP member Ed Asner’s and Wilson Powell’s books now
20 Years of Waging Peace avaiable for a special discount price at the Natinal Office
T-SHIRTS YELLOW LETTERS ON BLUE
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Both books are now availabke at the VFP
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C o m p l e m e n t a r y D V D
Depleted Uranium DVD available for chapter use complements of Chapter 56.
This 1 hour DVD, "Military Use of Depleted Uranium", is a local production suitable for
community access tv, or individual chapter use. Paperback: 192 pages
Paperback: 320 pages
Three chapter 56 members, a lawyer, a professor of human physiology, and a physician Publisher:Mayhaven Publisher: Mayhaven Pub
assistant, discuss the important components of DU, specifically inhaled radioactive DU dust (June 23, 2000) (August 15, 2005)
Language: English Language: English
from spent munitions. For further information, and your free copy, contact Peter Aronson ISBN: 1878044826 ISBN: 1932278141
firstname.lastname@example.org VFP Price $15.00 VFP Price $15.00
Sheehan continued from page 2 to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperi- why aren’t you here? This is the only place for
alism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you a moral person in an immoral world.
I don’t want him using my son’s death or my don’t tell me my son died for freedom and
family’s sacrifice to continue the killing. I don’t It’s up to us, the people, to break immoral
democracy.’ laws, and resist. As soon as the leaders of a
want him to exploit the honor of my son and
others to continue the killing. They sent these Cuz, we’re not freer. You’re taking away our country lie to you, they have no authority over
honorable people to die, and are so dishonorable freedoms. The Iraqi people aren’t freer, they’re you. These maniacs have no authority over us.
themselves. much worse off than before you meddled in And they might be able to put our bodies in
their country. prison, but they can’t put our spirits in prison.
So, as many of you have heard, and I didn’t And I know that Camilo came out a much
mean to cause any problems with the conven- You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel
out of Palestine stronger person, he’s one of my heroes, it’s great
tion, but I was writing an email to everybody, a row of heroes in front of me here.
and I was so mad, like I said, and I just had this (massive round of applause)
brainstorm, I’m going to Dallas, I don’t know And everyone gave such great testimony this
And if you think I won’t say bullshit to the evening, I have to wonder, why do we keep
where Crawford is. I’ve been in Texas, Casey President, I say move on, cuz I’ll say what’s on
was stationed at Fort Hood. I drove from north- doing this to each other? Why do we let this
my mind. continue time and time again, why do let it hap-
ern California to Fort Hood one time, it took
like, 30 hours. And I thought, I could be driving So, what’s gonna happen? I started this, I pen? And it’s because our country, is so good at
for days to get from Dallas to Crawford! thought it was gonna be just me and my sister demonizing people, I still have relatives from
driving to Crawford, but it kind of mushroomed WWII that still call Japanese people Japs’. And
But I don’t care, I’m goin’. And I’m gonna and people from as far away as Dayton, Ohio we demonize the Iraqi people, where, most of
tell them, “You get that evil maniac out here, are coming, to help us, to stand behind us, this country doesn’t even think we’re killing
cuz a Gold Star Mother, somebody who’s blood because I travel all over the country, I speak, I innocent people.
is on his hands, has some questions for him.” write, I get feedback on my writing, and just in Because, “Oh Cindy, don’t you remember
And I’m gonna say, “OK, listen here, George. the little over a year that I’ve been doing this, what happened on September 11th?”
#1, you quit, and I demand, every time you get I’ve seen a major turnaround in this country.
out there and say you’re going to continue the “Yeah, but, were any of those people in Iraq?
People don’t just want to hear it, they want to And the people who flew those planes into the
killing in Iraq to honor the fallen heroes by con- know, what can we do?
tinuing the mission; you say, except Casey Trade Center, where they from Iraq?”
Sheehan.’” What can we do to get him out of power? And When I was growing up, it was Communists’.
I’m gonna say the I’ word. Impeach! Now it’s Terrorists’. So you always have to have
“And you say except for all the members of
Goldstar Families for Peace’ cuz we think not So anyway, I’m gonna go to Crawford tomor- somebody to fight and be afraid of, so the war
one drop of blood should be spilled in our fam- row, and I’m gonna say I want to talk to him, machine can build more bombs, guns, and bul-
ilies’ names. You quit doing that. You don’t and they say, he’s not coming out, I’m gonna set lets and everything.
have my permission.” up my tent there until he comes out to talk to But I do see hope. I see hope in this country.
me. 58% of the American public are with us. We’re
And I’m gonna say, “And you tell me, what
the noble cause is that my son died for.” And if And I have the whole month of August off, preaching to the choir, but the choir’s not
he even starts to say freedom and democracy’ just like him. It’s just the way it worked out, I singing, if all of the 58% started singing, this
I’m gonna say, bullshit. was supposed to go to England tomorrow to do war would end.
some Downing Street things, but Conyers can- I got an email the other day and it said,
You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son celled, so hey, I have a lot of free time on my
died for oil. You tell me that my son died to “Cindy, if you didn’t use so much profanity
hands, and I’m gonna stay until he comes out there’s people on the fence’ that get offended”
make your friends rich. You tell me my son died and talks to me. And if he quits his vacation and
goes to D.C., I’ll pull my tent up, I’ll go to D.C., And you know what I said? “You know
and put it on the White House lawn, and I’ll be what? You know what, god-damn-it? How, in
waiting for you guys when you get there the world is anybody still sitting on that
September 24th. fence’?”
Another thing that I’m doing is - - my son “If you fall on the side that is pro-George, and
was killed in 2004, so I’m not paying my taxes pro-war, you get your ass over to Iraq, and take
for 2004. If I get a letter from the IRS, I’m the place of somebody who wants to come
gonna say, you know what, this war is illegal; home. And if you fall on the side that is against
this is why this war is illegal. This war is this war and against George Bush, stand up and
immoral; this is why this war is immoral. You speak out.”
killed my son for this. I don’t owe you anything. But whatever side you fall on, quit being on
And if I live to be a million, I won’t owe you a the fence.
penny. The opposite of good is not evil, it’s apathy.
I live in Vacaville, come and get me if you And we have to get this country off their butts,
can find me there and put me on trial, because and we have to get the choir singing.
like Camilo (Mejia), Camilo knew what was We need to say, bring our troops home now.
right. And he went to prison for that. And Henry
David Thoreau he went to prison, he refused to I was hoping to come to the banquet tomor-
pay his poll tax, and Emerson, I call them HT row night, but unless George comes out and
Gold Star Families marching in and RW, and RW came to visit HT and said talks to me, I’ll be camping at Crawford.
Crawford. what are you doing here, buddy? And HT said, Thank you.
Photo by John Grant -18-
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V F P K a t r i n a R e l i e f E f f o r t
By Pat Tate We had seen much in that first day and, with the touched is uncountable but to summarize the opin-
assistance of our onboard satellite internet system, ion of all we have met, ‘Veterans For Peace Rules’.
The White Rose Impeachment Tour bus departed
we began to share our experiences with the world at ###
from Camp Casey in Crawford ,Texas on August
large. It was four days after the storm and the relief
31 with our most honored passenger Cindy
agencies were up and running, but folks from town
Sheehan on board. The bus crew consisted of
had to drive ten miles to get food, water and ice. It
Patrick Tate, Chapter 116 President, Fred Danforth,
sounds simple, but there was no power to run the
Associate member Chapter 116, Dennis Kyne,
gas pumps. The system could not adapt, that was
Chapter 101 and Gordon Soderberg, member at
large. We also carried around 15,000 lbs of water,
food and other supplies that were donated by Cindy We issued our call for supplies and
Sheehan for Hurricane Relief out of the supplies at volunteers,and to make it short the rest is history.
Camp Casey. We were discovered by Eric Weinrib, one of
Michael Moore’s webmasters, and we became a
We arrived in Covington, Louisiana at about
project they supported. With Michael’s assistance
1:30 AM to a city without any lights. We wound
we were able to raise over $500,000 in donations,
our way through the streets to our associate’s home
over one million pounds of relief supplies, and we
and crashed until daylight. The morning brought a
received the donation of countless hours of volun-
scene of devastation which most of us have never
teer help from all over the United States, Canada
seen in this country. We drove through town and
and a few from other nations around the world.
arrived at a park adjoining a poor black neighbor-
hood. It was here that we set up our first ‘soup We worked with a collaborative model in trying
kitchen’. We unloaded the bus started cooking food to manage our operation, and although there were
on a one burner stove and were immediately wrinkles, we believe that it holds promise for future
swamped with locals looking for help. projects. Starting out in the field presented unantic-
ipated challenges, but it proved doable, and we sur-
We continued our kitchen efforts until about 5
p.m., when we were approached by a local police
officer who had noted that we possessed a genera- I would like to take this opportunity to thank Above: Vivian Felts of SOS wanted some
tor. She told us that the shelter located down the everyone within Veterans For Peace for their sup- VFP memorabilia so Dave Cline took his
road was without power, and that our generator port of this project, and to encourage all to watch pin off and gave it to her.
would help make life more bearable for the evac- for updates. We have linked with several other
NGO’s including, SOS After Katrina, Plenty, Below: In Biloxi, MS it looked like noth-
uees. It did not take us long to determine that we
Common Ground Relief in New Orleans and ing had been touched since the day of
needed to move, and we were onsite within an
hour. AIDSail in distributing the bounty that rained down the storm.
upon our efforts. The number of lives that we have Photos by Shirley Young
US Postage Paid
VFP Newsletter Fall 2005
216 S. Meramec Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63105
Veterans For Peace