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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.

17 years in Afghanistan


June, 2017 vigil



Armistice Day, A Day to Recommit to Peace

by members of VFP 161 November 11th, 2018

One hundred years ago, bells worldwide were rung on the 11th month, the 11th day, at 11 AM, 1918, to celebrate the ending of World War I, "the war to end all wars." To commemorate that peaceful pledge, bells were rung around the world on November 11 for more than 35 years. Congress declared November 11th "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day." Then in 1954, Congress changed the name of the day to Veterans' Day. This year, Veterans' Day is being observed on November 12.

World War I was horrendous. Over 18 million people were killed, with about sixty percent of those being soldiers. As the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, there truly was exuberant joy in the streets of the USA and on every continent in the world. The vileness of the war was abhorrent to the peoples of the world, and they took hope in the promise that it had been "the war to end all wars." However, revulsion at the brutality of war is not a sufficient foundation for peace. The outbreak of World War II, just twenty-one years later, is evidence of that. 80 million died in World War II, with about thirty percent of those being soldiers.

Veterans For Peace is made up of veterans of the U.S. armed services, with experiences ranging from World War II to Afghanistan. To recognize the day as Armistice Day rather than Veterans' Day is not at all intended as a slight to veterans. In fact, the best way to honor military veterans, both dead and alive, is to make a commitment to work for peace and to never again send citizen soldiers to an unjustifiable war. Veterans For Peace, having experienced the military culture and ethic, have a unique responsibility to work for nonviolent paths to conflict resolution.

Now, in 2018, one hundred years after the end of World War I, the U.S. is engaged in the longest war in its history, in Afghanistan. The administration has unilaterally withdrawn from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, which was negotiated with Iran and five other countries, and which has been adhered to by those countries. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Iran, which will bring more affliction to Iranian civilians than to their government. The U.S. has withdrawn from a decades-old nuclear arms treaty, opening the door to a resumption of the nuclear arms race. The U.S. continues to be complicit in the Saudi coalition's barbaric assault on Yemen. The 2019 U.S. military budget is $82 billion higher than 2017s and will constitute over 55% of the U.S. discretionary spending budget.

We in the U.S. must press our government to end reckless rhetoric and military interventions that threaten rather than enhance our security. If we want peace, we have to work for peace, and this historic Armistice Day is the ideal time to recommit to peace. Veterans For Peace Chapter #161 is sponsoring an Armistice Day Observance in Iowa City at 10:45 AM on Sunday, November 11th, to be held at the Clinton St. entrance to Old Capitol. Attendees are urged to arrive ahead of time, as Assembly will be played promptly at 10:45 AM. Bells will again ring at 11:00 AM. The Observance will feature Veterans For Peace members from around the state. This event is more than just a historical remembrance. It is about today, about our pressing need to quash the continuing rush to war, and instead to take up the sweet burden of building a lasting peace. The observance is free and open to the public. An open mic discussion on how to build peace will take place after the Observance and after lunch at Old Brick.

A shorter version was published in The Gazette on 11-11-2018.


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

Lise Grande, chief of the U.N.'s diplomatic mission in Yemen, recently told BBC News, "We predict that we could be looking at 12 to 13 million innocent civilians who are at risk of dying from the lack of food."

CommonDreams adds, "Yemeni civilians who don't starve to death or die from rampant disease are still at risk of being killed by the Saudi and UAE-led coalition's airstrikes."

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.



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.


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
  • 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.


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.


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

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>


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