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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 Stands with Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange

Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are both in jail right now. They are being persecuted by the very elite who are pursuing regime change wars around the globe and who do not want the people to know the truth about what they are up to.

Curiously, Assange has been charged with conspiring with Chelsea Manning to break into a classified Army computer in 2010. Regardless of the questionable allegations that WikiLeaks collaborated with Trump and the Russians to undermine Hillary Clinton's presidential bid, WikiLeaks did a great service by publishing evidence of U.S. war crimes. The charges against Assange go back nine years to when Chelsea Manning provided WikiLeaks with the 'Collateral Murder' video and the Army's daily after action reports from Iraq and Afghanistan. That is what the U.S. government is choosing to focus on, at least initially.

What Chelsea Manning released through WikiLeaks was evidence of the routine killing of civilians by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the routine cover-up of these war crimes. The Iraq War Logs and the Afghan War Diaries also revealed that military and civilian leaders were lying to the U.S. people when they presented rosy assessments of the progress of those wars. If more people had paid attention to these revelations, many thousands of lives could have been saved. ...

Chelsea explained her own motivation:

'I believed if the public, particularly the American public, could see this it could spark a debate on the military and our foreign policy in general as it applied to Iraq and Afghanistan. It might cause society to reconsider the need to engage in counter terrorism while ignoring the human situation of the people we engaged with every day.... I felt I accomplished something that would allow me to have a clear conscience.'
 

From the VeteransForPeace.org

 

Local VFP Members Speak Out Against New Obscene Military Spending Level

Have we become a welfare state for the military-industrial complex? Last August, Congress passed the fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with overwhelming bipartisan support. It authorized a whopping $717 billion in military expenditures, a $98 billion increase over the 2017 NDAA.

Only 10 U.S. senators voted against this bill, and neither of Iowa's two senators was among the 10.

Why is this important?

First, and most easily understood, is that the fiscal 2019 military budget translates into about $2,200 per person in the United States. Of course, that is not proportionally reflected in the taxes that we pay. This gargantuan expenditure is funded mostly by new federal debt. The deficit for fiscal 2018 was $782 billion, and is projected to be $900 billion or more in fiscal 2019. So, we will let our grandchildren carry that burden.

Second, with funding for the military consuming 58 percent of total federal discretionary spending, all other programs are suffocated. For example, military funding is 81.5 times more than the budget for the Environmental Protection Agency. Funding for transportation, mental health, food safety, education, and many other programs are cut, while the Pentagon goes unaudited and military contractors get rich. Many generals, when they retire, go to work for military contractors or consultants and get richer.

Third, the only possible legal and moral justification for our huge military establishment would be that it is defending our country from enemies outside our borders. However, we have not fought a war of defense since World War II. In the past 18 years we have spent $6 trillion on our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and numerous other conflicts. All of those were wars of intervention in the affairs of other countries, where the safety of this country was not under threat. Rather than a defender of freedom, the United States has become the bully of the world. That is immoral and un-American.

All of the above is history. We can't undo unnecessary wars, we can't get the $6 trillion back, and we can't take back the $717 billion military budget for fiscal 2019. So, what shall we do about the Trump administration's proposal for a $750 billion military budget for fiscal 2020? First of all, we must become informed. As Thomas Jefferson said, "an informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy." Next, we ought to become angry — very angry — and we must focus our anger on change rather than let it fester.

We in Iowa have the unique opportunity to influence whether our country takes the direction of peace or war. Presidential candidates are streaming through Iowa, and each should be confronted with the hard questions we have raised here. With only a couple exceptions, they will avoid the issue, unless pressed.

In addition, each of our two senators in Washington, D.C., has a powerful voice and unique background in military waste. We must tell them that now is the time to rein in military spending and to begin encouraging peaceful solutions.

We have become a welfare state for the military-industrial complex. We must not silently entrust our financial and moral capital to the tools of war, and we must not ignore our better angels' calls for personal and societal investment in peace.

David Hempel, John Christenson, John Jadryev, Joe Michaud and Ed Flaherty, all of Iowa City, are members of Veterans For Peace, Chapters 161 and 169.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette, April 7, 2019

 

People and Events

 

 

All around the world

Stand up for Peace!
Fridays, New hours: 4 to 5:30 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. Maybe if we're serious about peace with North Korea, we could start the new year by declaring an end to the Korean War. Come with your friends, your family, your neighbors, or just yourself — all are welcome.
 

MLK


»


April 4 marks 52 years since Martin Luther King delivered the most controversial speech in his career, "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence." For the 4th year in a row, Veterans For Peace #161 sponsored a community read of King's controversial and ever-relevant "Riverside" speech. April 4th also marks 51 years since King was assassinated in Memphis.

 
Martin Luther King's Riverside Church speech
broken into sections for a public reading

Martin Luther King's speech at the Mason Temple, Memphis, April 3, 1968
"I've Been to the Mountaintop"

 

Armistice Day 2018

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

RAGBRAI 2018

Veterans for Peace 161 greet RAGBRAI, July 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.

 

Historical Events of Interest

  • 2018: 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, "it seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate."
  • Feb 28th: Gen. Westmoreland & Gen Wheeler ask LBJ for 206,000 more troops
  • March 9th: Capt. Dale Noyd sentenced to one year in prision for refusing to train pilots headed for Vietnam
  • March 16th: My Lai Massacre, 350-500 unarmed civilians killed
  • 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

 

VFP #161 Hosts My Lai Memorial Exhibit

On June 15-17, the Coralville Public Library was the setting for the My Lai Memorial Exhibit. This awesome exhibit, a product of the creative efforts of artist Mac MacDevitt and Chicago Veterans For Peace, made its return to the Midwest after a successful tour of western U.S. cities. The interactive exhibit memorialized fifty years since the My Lai massacre, often referred to as the most shocking episode of the Vietnam War.

Mac was very engaging and helpful, and he inspired VFP #161 members who helped guide attendees through the exhibit. Every person who attended was touched. Many conversations, tears, and stunned silence. Everyone wished it had been an historical event that we all learned from. However, everyone who attended recognized that its lessons have largely been either forgotten or ignored in today's world.
 

Mac


Our thanks to Mac MacDevitt, an extraordinary peace advocate. And thank you to the Coralville Public Library for providing a wonderful venue.
 

 

2016 officers

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.

 



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[at]q.com>


THE NEED FOR VOICES FOR PEACE IS URGENT



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