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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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Pentagon Budget Grows, Yemen War Grows

by Ed Flaherty—May, 2017

As veterans, we have had too much experience with illegal, immoral, and counter-productive wars. Therefore, we call upon Iowans to insist that the US stop military actions in Yemen, to end weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, and to take the lead in negotiating a cease-fire and ensuring access to food and medical supplies for Yemen. Furthermore, we call upon Iowans to look closely at how their tax dollars are being increasingly siphoned to the Pentagon, and to specifically look at how those tax dollars encourage our illegal, immoral and counter-productive war in Yemen.

The omnibus appropriations bill was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support in May, and was signed into law by Trump. This $1.17 trillion piece of legislation appropriates discretionary spending for the balance of this fiscal year, which ends September 30. The most significant portion of this massive piece of legislation is the funding of the Pentagon. Total Pentagon funding for fiscal year 2017 is $598.5 billion, an increase of $25.7 billion over fiscal year 2016. The total includes $76.6 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which reflects $14.8 billion in new spending sought by the Trump administration.

The sheer size of the Pentagon budget is a huge concern. It constitutes over one-half of all discretionary spending. Appropriations for other purposes are tiny in comparison: $8.1 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency: $5.7 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: $3.3 billion for the United Nations — Just the increase in the Pentagon budget is larger than those three budgets combined.

Of more particular concern to us at the moment is the $76.6 billion for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). This is often appropriately called the Pentagon's slush fund. It is separate from the Pentagon's never-audited base budget and has even less transparency. The OCO is used to fund any of the overseas conflicts that the US happens to be involved in. And, with a $14.8 billion increase, it appears we will be involved in more overseas conflicts. One of the most serious and under-reported conflicts is the US participation in the war in Yemen.

Two-thirds of Yemen's population--18.8 million people--are in need of assistance, and 7 million are in a food emergency, on the brink of famine. The UN calls the situation in Yemen the worst humanitarian disaster in the world. In March and April of this year, the US launched 80 drone and plane attacks on Yemen, more than in all of 2016. Saudi Arabia is the primary aggressor in Yemen, and the US supplies the Saudis with weapons, refueling, and intelligence. Trump went to Saudi Arabia in May, with a $110 billion weapons deal on the agenda. Saudi air strikes have severely damaged the port of Al Hudaydah, the only port through which food and medical supplies can arrive in northern Yemen. The Saudis are threatening to completely destroy that port.

Yemen poses no threat to the United States. It is in the throes of a complex civil war stoked by the arms and bombs of greater powers. There is no rational explanation for the US to be killing starving people. Saudi Arabia's goal is to stick its finger in the eye of Iran, which it accuses of helping the Houthi forces. The new US administration is engaging in more sabre rattling with Iran, even wanting to negate the 2015 nuclear agreement, so bombing starving folks in Yemen is good for business. It would not be prudent to leave any of that $76.6 billion OCO fund unspent.

There has never been a vote in Congress which authorizes our military actions in Yemen. The Iowa congressional delegation has been silent on Yemen, and all have supported the bloated Pentagon budget. Give them better advice. And, give Trump a phone call at 202 456-1414, and ask that he take steps to avoid a legacy of obscene absurdity.

An earlier version was published in the Gazette on May 23rd, 2017.
 

 


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
 


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

 

People and Events


Veterans For Peace,
Chapter #161 Meeting

Tuesday, December 10th
5:30 pm
Coralville Public Library
1401 5th Street in Coralville
   Lower level
A short fim clip will preceed the meeting, beginning at 5:15. All who are working for peace are welcome.


For more information email
David <hoboe751 @ gmail·com>

We draw on our personal experiences and perspectives gained as veterans to raise public awareness of the true costs and consequences of war - and to seek peaceful, effective alternatives.

December 10 is international Human Rights Day. On Dec 10, 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was endorsed. Dec. 10th also marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the University of Iowa Center For Human Rights (UICHR), a staunch ally of VFP #161. November also marked the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. All of these events are being commemorated on Dec 10th at Old Brick. The program commemorating 20 years of the UICHR will begin at 4PM, and all are urged to attend, prior to the VFP meeting.
 

Wood Peace

 

UICHR @ 20

 

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
 

 

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.

 


Jo Conroy

Jo Conroy died on August 4th. Her family and friends are left with rich memories. She was a "No Justice, No Peace—Know Justice, Know Peace" kind of person. She frequented the Friday peace rallies on the Pentacrest in Iowa City, and was a friend of Veterans For Peace. She was a woman of many talents, with a sense of humor and a smile that stuck with you.

Her obituary ( gayandciha.com ) relates: "She became one of the earliest members of the Cedar Rapids chapter of NOW (National Organization For Women). She sued the Cedar Rapids school district for sexual discrimination, not for money but for equal rights. The decision was on her side. She used to say, 'Civil rights, women's rights, we are talking about human rights.' She continued her fight for justice until she could no longer walk or speak."
 

 


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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