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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.


June, 2017 vigil

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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.
 

People and Events


11/11/2017

 

peace wave

Show up for Peace!
Fridays, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
at the intersection of Iowa Ave. and Clinton St.
on the University of Iowa Pentacrest


Please stand up for peace, speak peace, organize and strategize for peace. Spend the hour, or just 10 minutes. Handouts welcoming new & returning UI students. YOU ARE NEEDED!

It's time, then, to come together for an hour, or even for a few minutes, to voice your support for peace. Be peace! If we do not speak for peace, who will? Bring your friends, your family, your coworkers, or just yourself - everyone is welcome.
 

Letter: Time to organize and build peace

by David Hempel
Gazette—May 23, 2017 at 12:01 am

We cannot blame just the jihadists (al-Qaida, ISIS, etc.) for the incredible level of violence and terrorism in our world today. Truth be told, the U.S. military is the largest and most devastating terrorist entity on the planet. Our military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria have all but destroyed those countries in toto. Many thousands of innocent civilians have been killed, maimed and terrorized — their families completely distraught and broken.

Between 2002 and 2012 our CIA maintained dozens of "black site" prisons around the world, where torture and prisoner abuse were rampant. The U.S. government is the largest arms dealer the world has ever known, continually selling billions of dollars worth of bombs, guns, fighter planes and helicopters, to the likes of Saudi Arabia and Libya. Though we pride ourselves in reducing our "boots on the ground" in the Middle East, our weaponized drone attacks have killed or injured thousands of civilians. We have a long history of backing coups and supporting corrupt, repressive regimes around the globe. Our government surveils all its citizens and nearly everyone else on the planet, and it actively prosecutes whistleblowers.

We must start owning up to the vast devastation we have rained upon our earth and its inhabitants. And then we must do all in our power to stop this insanity.


Resist, organize, build peace!
David Hempel
Iowa City


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


Muhammad Ali's service
 
Ed Flaherty on Yemen & US military budget
 
Ed Flaherty on 9-11
 
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>


THE NEED FOR VOICES FOR PEACE IS URGENT



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