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!
What constitues service to country? Serving time in the military? Devoting yourself to making the world better than you found it?
Muhammad Ali put everything on the line in the cause of justice ...
"I strongly object to the fact that so many newspapers have given the American public and the world the impression that I have only two alternatives in taking this stand: either I go to jail or go to the Army. There is another alternative and that alternative is justice. If justice prevails, if my Constitutional rights are upheld, I will be forced to go neither to the Army nor jail. In the end I am confident that justice will come my way for the truth must eventually prevail."
—Ali Refuses Army Oath, is Stripped of Boxing Crown
NYT, April 28th 1967
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
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.
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
Brief recap of Veterans For Peace Chapter #161 activities
- Co-sponsored Iowa Peace Initiatives Conference in Dubuque, Sept, 2010
- Group coffee with Matthew Hoh, veteran of Marines and State Dept, Nov, 2010
- Organized Armistice Day Observance at Old Capitol 2010,2011,2012, 2013, 2014, with meal and open mike afterwards for all VFP in Iowa and the public
- Organized Iraq War Vigil. Des Moines 2011, Iowa City 2012
- Organized Afghan War Vigil: Iowa City & Clinton,2011; Iowa City , 2012, 2013, 2014
- Numerous letters to the editor from the group on Iraq, Afghanistan, Cost of war,drones,etc.
- Numerous visits to elementary & secondary school classrooms
- Numerous visits with church groups
- Numerous lobbying efforts at US Senate offices and offices of US House of Rep.
- Co-sponsorship of month-long exhibit, Windows & Mirrors, at Coralville Public Library, Sept,2012
- Coordination of visit of Kathy Kelly, 3-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, to Windows & Mirrors
- Organized & co-sponsored James Zogby (pres of Arab American Institute),in IC,CR,CF,&DM, 2011
- Sponsored USS Liberty events in June, 2012, featuring former Congressman Paul Findley and three survivors of the 1967 Israeli attack on USS Liberty
- Participated in veterans’ parade at State Fair, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
- Participated in Coralville 4th of July parade, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
- Greeted Ragbrai riders , 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
- Assisted in organizing two other VFP Chapters (#163 & 169) in Iowa
- Organized “No US Missiles in Syria” rally, Sept, 2013
- Organized and participated in 6 rallies regarding Reaper Drone control unit in Iowa. Latest,March 2015.
- Co-sponsored and participated in the “Ground the Drones” Walk, June,2013
- Hosted visits by two national VFP presidents, Elliott Adams & Leah Bolger
- Co-hosted two of the founders of UK VFP, Ben Griffin & Mike Lyons,
- Assisted VFP #169 in James Yee (Muslim Chaplain at Guantanamo), events, 11-2013
- Had several public showings of “Unmanned:America’s Drone Wars,” Feb 2014
- Sponsored “Dirty Wars” movie at Iowa City’s Film Scene theater,Mar, 2014
- Participated in No Drones actions Mar 2014, Iowa City & Des Moines, including Elliott Adams, Kathy Kelly, Daniel Hale, & VFP members from several states. And Sept, 2014 with Medea Benjamin.
- With VFP Chapters #163 & #169, shared Dingman Peace Award given by Des Moines Catholic Peace Ministry, April, 2014
- July, 2014 letter, no 2nd Iraq war, sent to DC reps and 8 newspapers,signed by 20 members
- Participated in memorial service for VFP #163 member, Bill Basinger, summer, 2014.
- Cooperated with three other groups in a booth at Johnson Co. Fair, July,2014
- John Ivens, in cooperation with Ray McGovern & Michael Prysner, presented workshop on Ukraine at VFP National Convention in Asheville, NC. Summer, 2014.
- Organized observance of “50 Years since Gulf of Tonkin Resolution”, Johnson Co. Courthouse lawn, Aug. 7, 2014. Testimony of five VFP #161 Vietnam vets.
- Participated (Diana Henry lead-off speaker) at 8-21-2014 rally on IC Ped Mall in solidarity with Michael Brown and reform of domestic police activities
- Cooperated and provided 3 speakers at Campaign Nonviolence rally on IC Ped Mall,9-21-2014
- Assisted in Dennis & Elizabeth Kucinich’ visit to Iowa in October, 2014
- Sponsored “Joyeux Noel” movie at IC Film Scene, 12-25-2014, to overflow crowd.
- Participated in MLK Day observances in Iowa City, 1-19-2015
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.
Welcome to Veterans For Peace
Veterans For Peace is a global organization of Military Veterans and allies whose collective efforts are to build a culture of peace by using our experiences and lifting our voices. We inform the public of the true causes of war and the enormous costs of wars, with an obligation to heal the wounds of wars. Our network is comprised of over 140 chapters worldwide whose work includes: educating the public, advocating for a dismantling of the war economy, providing services that assist veterans and victims of war, and most significantly, working to end all wars.
Statement of Purpose
We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace. To this end we will work, with others
- To increase public awareness of the costs of war
- To restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations
- To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons
- To seek justice for veterans and victims of war
- To abolish war as an instrument of national policy.
To achieve these goals, members of Veterans For Peace pledge to use non-violent means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.
Rendered for inclusion on website
Left to right: Dave Hempel, John Christenson, Diana Henry, John Jadryev, Ross Porch
Veterans For Peace Chapter #161 Elects New Officers
Veterans For Peace Chapter #161 recently elected officers to serve in 2018. John Christenson and David Hempel will share the role of president, and John Jadryev and Diana Henry are co-secretaries. Ross Porch will continue as treasurer. This chapter of Veterans For Peace was formed in 2010, and is part of the national Veterans For Peace organization. The purposes of Veterans For Peace include the need to increase awareness of the true costs of war and to abolish war as an instrument of foreign policy.
From Ed Flaherty:
What Country Is This?
- The poorest Arab country in the world.
The most populous country on the Arabian Peninsula.
More than 70 health-care facilities have been destroyed by Saudi bombs.
Twenty million of its people face starvation.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have launched air and ground assaults on the population in the northern part of the country, using planes, missiles, bombs and guns made in the U.S.
The U.S. is actively involved in the attacks by providing intelligence and mid-air refueling to the Saudi coalition.
The U.S. is engaged in direct military action there, using drones and Special Forces, often killing civilians.
The UN has declared that this country is in the midst of the worst humanitarian disaster in the world, with armed conflict being the cause.
The question of "what country is this" is easy to answer — YEMEN.
More ... www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1471338/yemen-nation-danger
A more difficult question is "why is the U.S. engaged in war there." And why have so few of our elected representatives taken steps to stop it? Fifty members of the House of Representatives have signed H Con Res #81, which mandates an end to unauthorized US military activities in Yemen. None of the Iowa delegation in the US House of Representatives has signed it. Please call your congressman's office and ask, "why not?" (Loebsack 202 225-6576; Blum 202 225-2911; Young 202 225-5476; King 202 225-4426).
H.Con.Res.81 - Directing the President pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution to remove United States Armed Forces from unauthorized hostilities in the Republic of Yemen
Kathy Kelly and six others were arrested on January 12th after refusing to leave Rep. Steny Hoyer's office. They were insisting that he co-sponsor H. Con Res #81, which would prohibit US military efforts in Yemen. That bill has 49 co-sponsors, which does not include ANY of the Iowa congressional delegation. Kathy was willing to risk safety and freedom to speak out against wrongdoing. Please find time to call Rep. Loebsack at 319 351-0789 or 202 225-6576 and insist that he do his part to end US military activities in Yemen. On December 26th, Saudi planes delivered US-made smart bombs killing 68 civilians.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers—Reps. Khanna (D-CA), Massie (R-KY), Pocan (D-WI) and Jones (R-NC)—has introduced legislation (H. Con. Res. 81) to withdraw unauthorized U.S. military support from the Saudi-led war in Yemen. More are needed to cosponsor and vote in support of H. Con. Res. 81
- Congress has never authorized U.S. military involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, despite the U.S. being heavily involved in the conflict for nearly 3 years.
- By refueling Saudi and UAE bombers and providing the Saudi-led coalition with weapons, intelligence, and logistical support, the U.S. is complicit in violations of international law and in creating the world's largest humanitarian crisis.
- This devastating war has pushed Yemen to the brink of mass starvation and into the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history.
- The House was to vote on this landmark legislation on November 3, 2017.
- Every additional cosponsor and vote sends the message to Saudi Arabia that the killing and deliberate starvation of Yemeni civilians must end.
Chase Winter in DW News on 01-29-2018:
" The Obama administration justified US military action against IS on a broad controversial reading of the 2001 AUMF that justified the war in Afghanistan and against 'al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and Associated Forces' — even though IS did not exist at the time of the 2001 AUMF and is a rival of al-Qaeda. [The current] administration has justified continued anti-IS operations in Syria under the same 17-year-old AUMF that the Obama administration used. It has said it has no intention of seeking a new AUMF from Congress.
" Meanwhile, the US air force has 'undertaken a limited number of strikes against Syrian government and pro-Syrian government forces' to counter threats to US and 'partner forces,' according to a December White House letter to congress required under the War Powers Act. Pro-Syrian government forces is a euphemism for Iran-backed Shiite militia. "
Retired Air Force Major General Charles Dunlap, now the Executive Director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University, and " who held the position as deputy judge advocate general for the US Air Force, suggested that Congress has implicitly supported the US military action in Syria by funding it. But he said Congress should still debate a new AUMF. 'In an era of complex terrorism, the president's authority to take action to protect Americans and America's allies ought to be construed broadly. That said, I also believe that a democracy is well served when its elected representatives discuss and debate the wisdom of ongoing military operations, even if not technically required to do so in a particular instance by the Constitution,' he said. "
People and Events
Jeff Strottmann, #161's Sergeant-at-Arms, died one year ago on Monday, February 6, 2017 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.
Andrew Blake writing in The Washington Times Wednesday, January 17, 2018:
" Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA employee convicted of leaking classified information about Iran's nuclear program to a New York Times reporter, has been released after serving most of a 3.5-year prison sentence.
" Sterling, 50, was freed from a federal correctional institution in Colorado early Tuesday and is scheduled to finish the remainder of his sentence at a St. Louise halfway house, tweeted Arn Menconi, a Colorado-based activist and former U.S. Senate candidate who advocated for his release.
" A former case officer in the CIA's Iran Task Force, Sterling was charged in 2011 in connection with leaking classified information that appeared in State of War, a 2006 book about the agency written by New York Times reporter James Risen. The book included details about a secret U.S. operation targeting Tehran's nuclear program.
" Sterling was convicted by a jury in January 2015 of nine felony counts, including multiple violations of the U.S. Espionage Act, and was sentenced that June to begin serving a 42-month prison sentence. "
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.
Historical Events of Interest
2018- Feb. US coalition forces kill 100 Syrians:Turkey shelling into Syria killing many civilians: Al-qaeda shoots down Russian plane, pilot dead; Israel downs Iranian drone; Syrian anti-aircraft fire downs Israeli F-15.
2017: Feb 6th; Jeff Strottmann, a founding member of VFP #161, passes from this earth.
2011, March 17th: US drones kill 40 civilians attending Loya Jirga in Pakistan
2003, March 19th: US begins Iraq war with Shock & Awe. Not to worry, Iraqi oil will pay for it and it will be over in 6 months.
FIFTY YEARS AGO, 1968:
Jan. 30th: Tet Offensive begins in Vietnam
Feb 27th: Walter Cronkite says he is certain 'the bloody experience of Vietnam will end in a stalemate."
Feb 28th: Gen. Westmoreland & Gen Wheeler ask LBJ for 206,000 more troops
March 8th: Capt. Dale Noyd sentenced to one year at hard labor for refusing to train pilots for Nam.
March 12th: LBJ defeats Eugene McCarthy by only 300 votes in New Hampshire primary.
March 16th: My Lai Massacre, 350-500 unarmed civilians killed.
March 31st. LBJ announces on live TV that he will not run for re-election.
April 4th: Martin Luther King assassinated in Memphis
ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, 1918:
March 3rd: Soviet Russia concludes separate peace negotiations in Treaty of Brest/Litovsk
April 21st: German ace flyer, "The Bloody Red Baron" is shot down.
July 6th: Woodrow Wilson agrees to US intervention in Siberia
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
Veterans for Peace Chapter 161
P0 Box 947
Iowa City, IA 52244·O947
E-mail John Jadryev <jadryevj[at]gmail.com>
or call ( 3l9 ) 43O·2Ol9
E-mail Ed Flaherty <flahertyem[at]q.com>
or call ( 3l9 ) 354·O54O
P0 Box l3O2
Iowa City, Iowa 52244·l3O2
page: ( 3l9 ) 34l·llO7
VETERANS FOR PEACE
The April 12th—Coralville Public Library
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
Budget and fundraising efforts
Local action in response to current events
Agenda for the March meeting, to be held in the Iowa City Public Library.
Will chapter 161 be a named chapter?
Website progress report
Will chapter 161 be a named chapter?
Website development team
Upcoming events coordination
Back to home page
McGovern Rowley Schedule.
All listed events are free and open to the public.
All events are sponsored by
Iowa Veterans For Peace
Thurs, Sept 24th. 6:00 PM Speech at University of Dubuque.
MAD Paths to Mutually Assured Destruction: War & Pollution
Contact Christine Darr firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, Sept 25th: 7:00 PM Speech at Veterans Memorial Building, 50 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids.
The People’s Pre-Caucus Intelligence Briefing
Contact Joe Aossey,VFP #169. email@example.com
Sat, Sept 26th. Cedar Falls/Waterloo
10:30 AM News Talk sponsored by the University of Northern Iowa Democracy Project.
University Book Store, 1009 W. 23rd St., Cedar Falls
3:00 PM Law Court Theater, Waterloo Center for the Arts Addressing/Redressing Global & Local Violence.
Waterloo/Cedar Falls events, contact Tom Kessler firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, Sept 27
2PM to 4 PM: Davenport. Rogalski Center, St. Ambrose University. Co-sponsored by the Quad City Times. New Ideas Forum. Contact Paul Foley. 563 333-6025. Foleypaulj@sau.edu
7 PM. JPOG (Just Peace Outreach Group) West Union Mennonite Church, 3253 305 St, Parnell, IA. Fingerfood potluck, 6PM. Bring fingerfood to share and your own table service. Biblical Justice: Is It an Un-American Activity
Contact Roger Farmer, 319 653-2547 or Jane Yoder-Short, email@example.com
Monday, Sept 28th
7:30 PM. Iowa City University of Iowa LECTURE Series
Englert Theatre. Intelligence, Not “Mistaken,” But “Fixed” For War
Tuesday, Sept 29th
Noon Speech at Iowa City Foreign Relations Council. (Lunch:$10 Members; $14 non-members). "Can We Wade Out of the Big Muddy and Get Back to Some Moral High Ground?"
Both Iowa City events, contact Ed Flaherty, VFP #161. 319 621-6766. Flahertyem@aol.com
7:00 PM, Ames. Ames Public Library, Farwell T. Brown Auditorium.
Peace is Possible
Contact Mary Logsdon. 515 239-5633. Mlogsdon@amespubliclibrary.org
Wednesday, Sept 30th
7:00 PM, Lecture at Drake University. Contact Gil Landolt, VFP #163.
Suggested title: Use & Abuse of US Intelligence
Peacevet@hotmail.com 515 333-2180