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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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Veterans For Peace, Chapter 161
Statement on Yemen
March, 2021
 

Thank you to President Biden for announcing an end to the United States' six years of aiding and abetting the Saudi coalition's devastating military attacks on Yemen. On February 4th, President Biden said "this war has to end" and called the suffering of the Yemeni people "unendurable." He said the US would no longer support Saudi offensive military attacks on Yemen, and ordered a freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, and a pause on arms sales to the UAE(United Arab Emirates). Since that announcement, his administration has rescinded the Trump administration's designation of the Houthi's as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and has initiated diplomatic talks with many of the parties involved. All of these changes are welcome, yet they highlight the awful tragedy of the past six years and also the desperate need for more immediate progress.

The victims of this six-year war have been largely Yemeni civilians. Yemen, population 30 million, was already the poorest country on the Arabian peninsula. To be clear, no player in this conflict has a clean record. The Houthi's have blocked access to humanitarian aid, enlisted child soldiers, and have terrorized civilians. But to also be clear, it was not the Houthi's that started this armed conflict. In March, 2015, Saudi Arabia , with US approval, intelligence, and logistic support, began dropping US bombs, putting an end to the negotiations that were on the table. There has never been congressional approval of our military role against the Houthi's, as required by the U.S. Constitution.

Sadly, we, the U.S., bear a great responsibility for the Yemen catastrophe. There are humanitarian disasters all over the world and the U.S. can't cure them all. But this disaster is human-made, and the U.S. has been complicit from day one. A US change in policy now cannot bring back the 100,000 Yemenis killed by US bombs dropped by Saudi F-15's, nor can it bring back to life the hundreds of thousands of civilians, mostly women and children, who have starved to death in the last six years. But the U.S. can and must do more now, because the present situation is dire. Food and fuel in Yemen are scarce and terribly expensive. On February 12th, four UN organizations (Food & Agriculture Organization, UNICEF, World Food Program, and the World Health Organization) said that without an immediate increase in humanitarian aid, 400,000 Yemeni children under the age of 5 could die of starvation yet this year.

The U.S. must do no more harm in Yemen. Veterans For Peace urges that all pending arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE be cancelled, not just frozen or paused. We also urge that all US troops and military contractors be withdrawn from Saudi Arabia. The U.S. must work with the UN and other donor nations to increase humanitarian aid and then work inclusively with all parties to secure a cease fire and peace negotiations.

Lastly, this welcome change in policy by the Biden administration should be looked upon as low hanging fruit—this unproductive, senseless use of US power in the past six years has not increased our national security one iota. The reversal of US policy in Yemen can be the opportunity for a true reset of our policy toward the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia and Iran. We must encourage the Biden Administration to seek peace in Yemen. To do so, go to the websites, Whitehous.gov and State.gov and scroll to the bottom where the contact us link will allow you to send your message to the White House and the US State Department. And our US senators must be encouraged to support this welcome change in policy.


[First published in the Iowa City Press Citizen and the Cedar Rapid Gazette in the second week of March, 2021.]

 


MLK 2021
April 4th marks 54 years since MLK's Riverside speech: "When machines & computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered." He was assassinated exactly one year later in Memphis, standing for the organizing rights of garbage workers.

 

People and Events

 

peace flag

Stand up for Peace!
Fridays, New hours: 3:30 to 4:30 pm
at the intersection of
Iowa Avenue and Clinton Street
on the University of Iowa Pentacrest
Iowa City

Are you ready to show up for peace? Join us for an hour, or even just a few minutes, to voice your support for peace. We citizens must stand as a reminder that the military option is an unacceptable option. Come with your friends, your family, your neighbors, or just yourself — all are welcome.
 


 

 

Save our Post Office!


Iowa City VFP Activists meet in support of the Iowa City postal workers
at the end of August, 2020

 

Armistice Day 2018

Veterans for Peace 161 gather on Armistice Day, November 11, 2018
 

 

VFP161 Pride

Dave H, John C, Jim Bradley, Louie, Ron McCall, John Fyotek, and Ed Flaherty participated in the June 16, 2018 Gay Pride Parade.
Thanks to Tom Jacobs for the photo.

 



Danny Sjursen and Coleen Rowley: America Needs an Armistice
 
Local VFP Members Speak Out Against New Obscene Military Spending
 
Veterans For Peace Stands with Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange
 
Armistice Day 2018, Time to Recommit to Peace
 
September 14 2018, Congress passes AUMF
 
March 2018, a muddle of murky anniversaries
 
John Ivens on US policy on Yemen
 
Ed Flaherty on US policy on Gaza
 
Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA employee, released from prison
 
VFP 161 leader, Jeff Strottmann passes Feb 6, 2017
 
Retired Air Force Major General Charles Dunlap discusses AUMF in Syria
 
Taking Yemen to Congress
 
Ed Flaherty on Yemen & US military budget
 
Ed Flaherty on 9-11
 
VFP on Memorial Day
 
Muhammad Ali's service
 
Ann Wright & Women's Boat to Gaza
 
View Dan Berrigan commemoration
 
Private Manning's service to country
 
David Hempel: It's time to organize
 

 

Linda Conducts

Photo by Master Sgt. Joshua Kowalsky

On Friday, March 15, 2019, VFP 161 member, Linda Fisher was handed the baton to direct the U.S. Air Force Concert Band at the Hancher to conduct Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever in a rousing finish to the nights outstanding full house performance. Chief Master Sgt Stacy Newbrough Ascione, an Iowa City native, performed a classy flute improvision.
Linda had been a former member of the Women's Air Force Band, serving with the WAF Band from 1960-1961. She even marched in the Inaugural Parade for President John F. Kennedy!



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 @ AOL·com>


THE NEED FOR VOICES FOR PEACE IS URGENT



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