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Veterans for Peace Chapter 161, Iowa City

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Who are the people in VFP 161?
Veterans for Peace Chapter 161, based in Iowa City, welcomes veterans in the surrounding area who,
because of their personal experience and travails in a military infrastructure,
now join others locally and worldwide in
advocating for dismantling the military-industrial complex as a basis for prosperity.


People and Events


This Memorial Day, Veterans For Peace is reminding the public that the human cost of war is more than U.S soldiers, but also the people who are caught in the crossfire. We remember and honor all lives lost and will continue to question the leaders who call for more war. Honoring and remembering some deaths while ignoring others not only perpetuates war, but also ignores the moral injuries of war, which is a significant cause of veteran suicide.

Veterans For Peace, Chapter #161 Meeting

Tuesday, June 13th
6:30 pm
At the Coralville Public Library
1401 5th Street in Coralville

All veterans and others interested in working for peace are welcome.

For further information call John Jadryev 43O·2Ol9
or email Ed Flaherty <flahertyem[at]q·com>

We draw on our personal experiences and perspectives gained as veterans to raise public awareness of the true costs and consequences of war - and to seek peaceful, effective alternatives.

The need for voices for peace is URGENT!


NOT war

Peace Rallies
Every Friday
4 to 5 pm
UI Pentacrest


The Friday peace vigils are being expanded to hour-long rallies. As we mark the 14th year since the invasion of Iraq (as of Sunday), the POTUS is proposing a $54 billion increase in military spending. Other recent headlines you may not have seen:
  • March 9th, Army Times, "U.S. is sending 2,500 troops to Kuwait, ready to step up fight in Syria and Iraq"
  • March 10th, Vice News, "Trump Unleashed 40 Airstrikes over Five Days in Yemen"
  • March 11th, NPR, "World Faces Largest Humanitarian Crisis Since 1945, UN Official Says"
  • March 17th, The Guardian, "More Than 40 Somalis Killed in (Apache) Helicopter Attack Off Yemen Coast"
  • March 17th, Common Dreams, "US Military Bombs Syrian Mosque During Evening Prayers, Killing Dozens"
  • March 22nd, The Guardian, "At least 33 people killed in coalition strike on school used as refugee centre"
  • April 6th, LA Times, "Nearly 300 Killed in Mosul Air Strike"—happened on March 17th, US planes
Some questions about our expansion of military efforts in Syria:

  1. What was the gas? who has analyzed and identified it?
  2. Do any of the anti-Assad forces have prohibited chemical weapons?
  3. What rebels controlled the area of the gas deaths?
  4. Who did the on-site reporting?
  5. Why is there not evidence made available to the US and the world to substantiate the claim that the gas deaths are the responsibility of Assad?
  6. From whence did the moral outrage of Trump emanate? Has he not seen images of civilians killed by US bombs in Mosul, Yemen, the mosque in Jinah in the last month?
  7. What do the objectives of cutting funding for the State Department and UN humanitarian efforts while greatly increasing military spending imply as to the Trump administration's and Pentagon's intentions for peace in Syria.
  8. How many Syrians will be left after all the non-Syrian warriors in Syria finally leave?

Please join us as we speak out against our nation's ever-growing militarization.

Dates of Interest, 1st Half of 2017

  • Jan 10th—50 years ago, 1967. LBJ delivers State of Union, "we will stand firm In Vietnam"
  • Jan 23—50 years ago,1967. Sen. Wm. Fulbright Publishes "Arrogance of Power"
  • Feb 13th—50 years ago, 1967. President Johnson announces the U.S. will resume full-scale bombing of North Vietnam (DRV)
  • April 4th—50 years ago, 1967. MLK delivers "Riverside speech." (He is assassinated on April 4, 1968).
  • April 6th—100 years ago, 1917. U.S. Declares War On Germany
  • June 1st—50 years ago, 1967. VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against the War) is founded
  • June 8th—50 years ago, 1967. Israeli forces attack USS Liberty, killing 34, wounding 171 crew members
  • June 15th—100 years ago, 1917. Espionage Act becomes law. (the Obama Administratin has prosecuted more people under this act than all previous administrations combined).
  • June 25th—100 years ago, 1917. First U.S. troop arrive in France.
  • July 4th—50 years ago, 1967. 300 US Vietnam veterans hold peace rally at Independence Hall, Philadelphia

Veterans For Peace Chapter #161 Highlights of 2016 Activities

  • Organized MLK memorial event at U of IA, read his Riverside Speech. Participated in Kite Flying Day (in conjunction with Afghan Peace Volunteers, with 100Grannies) Apr, 4 2016
  • Organized and sponsored week-long speaking tour by Ann Wright and Kathy Kelly, May, 2016, in cooperation with VFP Chapters #163 and #169.
  • They spoke in eight different cities,. Spoke at universities, high schools, church groups, mosques, Iowa City Rotary Club.
  • Organized protest against armed Reaper Drones at Iowa Air National Guard Base, Des Moines. Led by ret. Col Ann Wright (this was the 8th war-drone protest organized by #161, in cooperation with VFP #163 and DM peace groups)
  • Helped organize and participate in International Conscientious Objector Day observance outside of Iowa City Public Library, May 15th.
  • Marched as a unit in Iowa City Gay Pride Parade, June, 2016
  • With 100Grannies, PEACE Iowa, and Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility, we participated for the 8th year in a row in the Coralville 4th of July parade.
  • July – Johnson County Fair. Third year of cooperating with 100G, PEACE Iowa, and Iowa PSR in a booth for the 4-day fair.
  • July 30th. For the 10th year in a row, we greeted 10,000+ RAGBRAI riders on the last day of their ride, east of Washington.
  • October 7th, 15-year observance of U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Together with PACG (Progressive Action for the Common Good), we led this event outside of the Federal Courthouse in Davenport, Following the observance, we were guests at the Quad Cities Islamic Center community dinner.
  • November 10th, VFP representatives spoke to five Jr. Hi. Global Studies classes at NW Jr. High. Third year of doing this. Invited by teacher, Alissa Meggitt.
  • November 11th, Armistice Day Observance at entrance to Old Capitol, attended by 100 citizens and VFP members from across the state. The observance was followed by a meal hosted by #161 at the ICPL, with enthusiastic open mic discussion.
  • Several members of VFP #161 participated in various efforts to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • Participated in presentation to Maureen McCue's Univ. of Iowa class, "War or Health."
  • During the year, members participated in weekly Friday peace vigils at the Pentacrest in Iowa City.
  • Over 4,000 1/4 pagers were distributed at the parades, fair, vigils, and other events.
  • Paul Appell, Jim Bradley and John Ivens attended National VFP convention in August.
  • Members submitted numerous letters to the editor to various newspapers.

Honor the Victims of 9/11

by Ed Flaherty
VFP #161 activist

The images of September 11, 2001 are etched in the minds of almost everyone over the age of twenty. However, we need to be more concerned with what we have done with 9-11 than with 9-11 itself. Yes, we mourn the loss of so many innocent victims, we laud the heroes of the firefighters and so many others, and we will always be outraged at the inhumanity of the attackers. But I don't think that the 2,977 victims on 9/11 died to usher in a period of perpetual war.

We must remember that the tragedy of 9/11 was used as an opportunity for war. The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) was approved just three days after 9/11, with only one dissenting vote in Congress. (The lone dissenter, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, deserves an honored spot in history, along with Vietnam dissenters, Senators Morse & Gruening). We launched war on Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, even though 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Also, how to initiate war on Iraq, which had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, was on the lips of our leaders the day after 9/11. We need to add to our minds' images the 6,888 US armed services personnel who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 52,000+ who bear visible wounds, and the 500,000+ who bear the invisible wounds of PTSD AND TBI. And, yes, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan dead. We must remember it all if we are to heal.

We must do more than remember. We must honor the victims of 9-11 by proclaiming loudly that the 15-year, $100 million per day war in Afghanistan, the longest in our history, has gone on long enough. Outside of Kabul, the Taliban have more complete control over the country than at any time. The US has spent more in inflation-adjusted dollars to create an alternative to the drug economy in Afghanistan that it spent on the Marshall Plan after WWII. Despite that massive expenditure, poppy production in Afghanistan is booming, providing the resource for 90% of the world's heroin.

We must honor the victims of 9/11 by ending our military involvement in Iraq, which has spilled over into Syria. The visions of starving civilians trying to escape war, the visions of millions of refugees desperately seeking safety and a new life, and the visions of arms dealers with blood-soaked hands should compel us to demand that the US invest its considerable non-military power in an immense, renewed effort to bring about a cease-fire.

Honor the victims of 9-11 by saying NO to a bloated, unaudited U.S. military budget that is nearly equal to that of all other countries combined. By saying NO to drone assassinations. By saying NO to US Special Forces deployed in 134 countries. By demanding that Congress rescind the 2001 AUMF which has used the infamy of 9/11 to justify our perpetual wars.

In the words of President Eisenhower, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." Or earlier words, "wheresoever your treasure is, there your heart is also."

Wars are much easier to start than to end. Let us take up the heavy, sweet burden of waging peace.

From 50 years ago ...
Martin Luther King's Riverside Church speech
broken into sections for a public reading

Muhammad Ali's service
VFP on Memorial Day
Ann Wright & Women's Boat to Gaza
View Dan Berrigan commemoration
Private Manning's service to country

Jeff S.

Jeff Strottmann, #161's Sergeant-at-Arms, died on Monday, February 6 at the Iowa City VA Hospital. Jeff had been a member of Veterans For Peace since 1992, and was one of the charter members of Chapter #161 when it was founded in 2010.

Jeff was a stalwart advocate for peace and social justice, working especially hard through his membership in VFP and in AFSCME to achieve those goals. Jeff is survived by his brother, James Strottmann, of Franklin, Wisconsin.

Tributes can be posted at Lensing's Tribute Wall

En lieu of flowers donations can be made in Jeff's name by sending a check to Veterans For Peace #161, PO Box 947, Iowa City, IA 52244. VFP #161 is a 501(c)3 organization.

February 17, 2016 Reporters Without Borders (RSF), along with the wife of CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling, delivered a petition for Sterling's pardon to the White House, and the White House acknowledged receipt of the 150,000 signatures.

Sterling, a former C.I.A. operative and the latest victim in the Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers, was convicted in January 2015 of divulging classified information to New York Times journalist James Risen. Read More ...

Golden Rule

In 1958, four peace lovers sailed the 30' Golden Rule from California, bound for the Marshall Islands, where another above-ground nuclear bomb test was scheduled. They got arrested in Hawaii, and the boat got sold. It was found in 2010, a wreck. Some VFP folks who knew its story restored it. Here it is, in San Diego bay last week, for the national VFP convention, in conjunction w/the 70 year commemoration of the A-Bomb devestation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Atmospheric nuclear bomb tests were banned world-wide in 1963. The Marshall Islands are suing the nuke bomb holding countries now to make them honor the intent of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to reduce and get rid of all nuclear weapons. Orion Sherwood, one of the 1958 crew, was at the VFP convention, as determined a peace-maker now as then.

For further information, call John Jadryev at 43O-2Ol9 or E-mail Ed Flaherty <flahertyem[at]q.com>


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