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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

800

 

On September 14, 2001, the US Congress passed, with only one dissenting vote, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) which has served for the last 17 years as a legal veneer for our military misadventures around the world. Count the countries where our military has killed people who are not at war with us —at least nine (Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Niger, Algeria). Count the dollars spent on just our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — at least Four Trillion Dollars. Count the number of countries where we have deployed US Special Forces — 149 in 2017. Count the number of military veteran suicides daily — at least 22.

Add to these figures the tragic irony that recent news is filled with reports of the US being allied with Al Qaeda forces in Yemen and Syria. Al Qaeda, the enemy that was the focus of the 2001 AUMF. An additional irony is that there are efforts underway to pass a new AUMF in Congress, which would call for even less Congressional oversight than the 2001 AUMF.

It is time to start paving the path to the peace we claim to love. A good first step is to rescind the 2001 AUMF and get the US military out of the bullying business. Tell Senator Ernst and Senator Grassley and Representative Loebsack or whoever represents you in Washington that they need to get on board the peace train and enable war no more. And spend 15 minutes at the weekly peace rally at the east side of the Pentacrest, this and any Friday, 4PM-5:30 PM.
 

 

Feckless US policy on Yemen means "oversight" has become "overlooking"

Despite Senators Grassley's and Ernst's claims to be diligent at oversight, what we've seen instead is overlooking of US military operations in Yemen. This overlooking does not represent my interests and concerns as a USAF veteran, a member of Veterans for Peace, and as a constituent living in Iowa. In view of the recent bombing of a school bus full of children in Yemen and other atrocities committed by Saudi and SAE airstrikes supported by US air refueling, reconnaissance, and special forces, I urge Senators Grassley and Ernst to immediately reconsider their positions and vote to support pending legislation on the Senate floor to curtail US military involvement in Yemen. These bombings of civilians have been going on for three years with only feckless oversight from Congress. Children in school buses, patients in hospitals, and guests at weddings represent no threat whatsoever to our security as Americans living in Iowa. What these atrocities do represent is our Iowa Senators' dereliction of duty with oversight responsibilities of US foreign military involvement. The overlooking of these atrocities represent a lack of critical thinking and due diligence that we desperately need from Congress if our nation is ever to regain a position of righteousness in global affairs. If Senator Grassley is unable to fulfill these oversight responsibilities, then I urge him to retire. Advanced age is no excuse for complicity in war crimes. If Senator Ernst is unwilling to stand up to campaign financeers who profit from war, then cowardice is no excuse for complicity in war crimes.

John Ivens

DeWitt, IA

 

People and Events

 

Piccaso - Yemen

Show up for Peace!
Fridays, 4 to 5:30 pm
at the intersection of
Iowa Avenue and Clinton Street
on the University of Iowa Pentacrest
Iowa City

There has been deafening silence from Ernst and Grassley on US complicity in the Saudi bombing of a bus in Yemen August 9th that left 34 children, 4 teachers, and 12 passersby killed by a Lockheed-Martin laser guided bomb. Later, the day after the US Senate approved $674.6 Billion in military appropriations on August 23rd, another 26 children and 4 women were killed by yet another Saudi airstrike.

Come together for an hour, or even for a few minutes, to voice your support for peace. It's a critical time for demanding peaceful actions around the globe. If we do not speak for peace, who will? Bring your friends, your family, your coworkers, or just yourself - everyone is welcome.
 

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 Fleherty participated in the June 16, 2018 Gay Pride Parade.
Thanks to Tom Jacobs for the photo.

 

Dealing with a Dichotomy of Viewpoint over Israel/Palestine


[The Gazette on May 21, 2018] featured a syndicated column by David Harsanyi which dominated the Insight page. The topic was Gaza, and his main theme was that the killing of over 100 Gazans was their own fault. It is interesting reading, as a piece of propaganda or fiction. It lacks credibility for several reasons, with two being the most important.

His statement on the Nakba stands out. "Their far-flung fantasies regarding the right to return (hitched to the historical myth of Nakba) consume them." The Nakba, Arabic for catastrophe, refers to the expulsion in 1948 of over 700,000 Palestinians, accompanied by the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages. For Harsanyi to be a "Nakba Denier" is tragically ironic, as he would rightfully decry anyone who is a "Holocaust Denier".

He also makes the bold, bald statement that "Israel repeatedly has shown a willingness to make peace with anyone who desires it." Any familiarity with living conditions in Gaza or most of the West Bank would make one wonder about that statement. Any count of illegal settlements in the West Bank would make one wonder. Any count of the tens of thousands of Palestinian olive and fig trees destroyed by Israeli settlers would make one wonder.

Opposition to policies of the state of Israel must not be equated to anti-semitism. Anti-semitism is real, is vile, and must be opposed. However, the Israeli state's actions have violated many of the values and traditions of Judaism. —Ed Flaherty, May 23, 2018

 

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.

 



March 2018, a muddle of murky anniversaries
 
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
 



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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