Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

March 25, 2013

Hundreds of Milions Dead, and for what?

VFP Logo

 

Over our history, hundreds of millions have died horrible deaths and been maimed beyond repair, and for what?

Riches? Territory? Religion? A host of other items?

Point of fact no one had to die, the wealthy are the only ones who gained here, certainly no of those who gave life and limb, blood and sinew to whatever the “effort” was for. War is nothing more than industrialized murder on a scale we can hardly fathom. It begs the question, “Is war ever justified?”

Throughout time, this question has been asked, and wars have been fought regardless of the consensus of people the world over that war is a terrible thing, the very essence of insanity. Many religious groups have discussed this time and again, Peace activists have come to the conclusion that there are better ways to resolve conflict. Those who have seen the ravages of war know of of it’s horrors question the need for armed conflict. With all of these questions being asked, and often answered that war is not the answer, why do we still have this cloud of war over us?

First and foremost, it’s empire built on greed. Leaders of one entity want what another entity has, the base question is, why pay for it if you can just take it? Of course, this means that someone is going to lose, either the invading nation, or the people that own said resources. During the “Banana Wars”, Dole wanted the fruits of the Caribbean and other places, in order to get at and maintain those resources, they called upon the US government to “protect” them and their interests. Thousands upon thousands died as their way of life changed dramatically, all so that Dole could make obscene profit over the cost of human life. Corporate interests can actual find ways to ensure that military power, our young men and women, will defend private interests.

Today, we are seeing the same thing in the Middle East, we are embroiled in hostilities that should never have been fought in the first place, but bush, cheney and others were more than willing to sacrifice our soldiers, sailors, airmen ans Marines so that corporate profits would soar, damn the rest of the world and especially those people who have a right to their natural resources. We’ve done things like this throughout our history; to Native Americans to the Moro’s in the Philippines and many others. We’ve invented occasions to go to war, USS Maine brought us the Spanish American War, we fought the Mexicans so the would cede a good portion of their country to us, we had the Banana Wars, and a host of others when none of them were necessary, all we had to do was pay the going price for the goods.

The first casualty in war is the truth; USS Maine was thought to have been the target of Cuban “insurgents”, the truth is, there was a smoldering fire that eventually reached the power magazine. “Give me headlines, I’ll give you the war”, there is a lot of truth to that, there need be no facts behind the event, just make it look “good” and here we go. The Tonkin Gulf Resolution is another example of how we were dragged into war on lies and obfuscations; Johnson used a fake attack to escalate our presence in Vietnam. Reagan, while talking Hollywood bullshit about our “national pride” and how we had to have an overwhelming military presence worldwide, ran like a cur with his tail between his legs after the suicide bombing in Beirut at the Marine barracks. He made up for that in Panama and Grenada, two “earth shattering events”, he was as cowardly as Hitler in 1939, (who, by the way, could have been stopped if the Allies came together and put down the German army at the time, it was no where near ready for full scale war at that point).

How can we justify the invasions of Panama, Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq? None of these nations were a threat to the US. I can not see Afghan airborne dropping into the fields of Nebraska or Oklahoma an wreaking havoc on the citizens of this nation, it’s all about who controls the oil and it’s transportation in the region that makes any difference, it’s corporate greed at the expense of our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, nieces and nephews. How can this be called justified?

Bottom line, we are on a mission to build an empire. History shows us all empires fall, why waste the time and energy to make others even more wealthy at the expense of our men and women in the military? I’m all for protecting the nation from invasion, but I am against empire building, I am against our youth being sacrificed on the altar of war and am against civilians and noncombatants losing their lives and being displaced in the drive to gain another dollar for big oil. There has to be point  where we will stand up ans shout, NO MORE!”

I hope I live long enough to see that day.

Peace

March 21, 2013

The Ultimate Price

Filed under: The Human Cost of War — Tags: , , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

There are many ways to come home from war, this is one we rarely see.

Since the beginning of the current hostilities, with few exceptions, we do not see the cost in human terms.

We honor our dead, but what about these:

See the faces of war, the power we have unleashed; see the nightmare, and REMEMBER, we were lied to to get us into  this insanity.

10 years now, and it should never have happened.

March 20, 2013

Peace is Possible, but it takes more work than war

Filed under: General Discussion — Tags: , , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

kevin-carter-vulture

War is easy, you just go out and kill and maim; dislocate noncombatants, generally, create mayhem.

Peace on the other hand takes a lot more work. For one thing, it is imperative to know who a potential enemy may be, then learn about their culture and generally figure out what to do to reconcile differences, (which are often miniscule in the greater scope of things).

There is far too much hatred, ignorance and fear in this world. Taking the time to find our commonalities and then building upon them takes effort, but it is well spent, for we all breathe the same air, drink the same water and share theonly place in the universe where we are positive there is life. We spend far too much time seeking out differences and using them to create enemies as opposed to extending a hand to help those in need, those who would live, if given the chance.

There is profit in war and there lies the rub; Peace is not profitable at the fast war profiteering. Grasping for any reason to create new and terrible weapons that kill and maim is a waste of time and energy…how many children go to bed hungry every night because of what we waste?

Can we, as a species, continue on this course and not expect global ramifications; using up every resource at our disposal, leaving the future for the next generations bleak at best?

The iconic photo, by Kevin Carter, shows what can happen during famine, often caused by war, we should never allow this to happen. How easily could this child have been saved if just a slight portion spent on arms was spent on food?

May we enter an age where this will never be the future.

 

March 19, 2013

Part of a piece by Chris Hedges has been etched into my conscience…

Filed under: The Human Cost of War — Tags: , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

Tomas Young is a quadriplegic who’s story is exceptionally compelling. Shot in the spine, he became a paraplegic, eventually the process brought him near complete paralysis. He is starving to death, so as not be a burden upon his family. He is conscious of his effort and determined to maintain his dignity and integrity.

Young will die for our sins. He will die for a war that should never have been fought. He will die for the lies of politicians. He will die for war profiteers. He will die for the careers of generals. He will die for a cheerleader press. He will die for a complacent public that made war possible. He bore all this upon his body. He was crucified. And there are hundreds of thousands of other crucified bodies like his in Baghdad and Kandahar and Peshawar and Walter Reed medical center. Mangled bodies and corpses, broken dreams, unending grief, betrayal, corporate profit, these are the true products of war. Tomas Young is the face of war they do not want you to see.”

Chris Hedges.

The faces of war, unseen, unknown, except by the few that care for them.

May there be Peace on earth, no more Tomas Young’s.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_crucifixion_of_tomas_young_20130310

March 15, 2013

Mayor Menino takes a slap at Equality

Filed under: General Discussion — Tags: , , , , , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

On Wednesday 3-13, VFP took a suit to the City of Boston regarding the street sweepers behind the “official” St Pat’s parade,  thereby creating the allusion the days events were essentially over. Since the VFP St Patrick’s Parade for Peace follows by a court ordered 1 mile, and is expected to be near 4000+ participants this year, the events of the day are far from over.

The Mayor sided with the AWVC, and the street sweepers will follow the initial parade, creating large clouds of dust and debris as they circle the area in a rather interesting pattern, much like figure 8’s as opposed to the normal way street sweepers conduct themselves. There is also the question of sand, salt and small projectiles being strewn into the crowd, if the crowd remains during this self created mini-storm. The chances of someone being hurt are very real, considering there are many children who will be exposed to dust and other contaminants as they await the VFP Peace Parade.

Until the previous Friday, there was an agreement with the city that the sweepers would follow the VFP parade, they  reneged on that agreement at the last minute, which is what prompted the law suit. At Monday’s monthly  VFP meeting, members agreed unanimously to take this to court. Judge Collins ruled that at the time, (1995), there was but one parade, there was no issue with the sweepers. However, he left it up to the city to decide what to do. Mayor Menino, bowing to the AWVC made his decision, the issue is far from settled yet.

One of the last overtly bigoted groups of individuals have not heard the last from VFP or other groups in the Peace Parade. It seems that those whose forefathers were the victims of bigotry have yet to learn what they should have learned long ago, hatred breeds discontent. One of the “big” things discussed in South Boston is how there were signs, “Irish need not apply”, barring individuals of Irish descent from employment except for the most menial of tasks. Today, the heirs of those who faced bigotry have become the bigots, hypocrites and reprehensible in how they treat others. Their main contentions are that the word “Peace” should not be used with the word veteran and that the GLBT community simply, “not apply”. So many years ago, when the Irish were looked “down upon”, it is somehow appropriate to bring back and maintain such fear and loathing to other groups?

This reeks of hypocrisy to the point where the sulfur of hell is breath of fresh air. To denigrate portions of any population is odious enough, but to be so overtly demeaning to the GLBT community is particularly pathetic. I am not gay, but I will stand with my brothers and sisters if for no other reason than they are just as human as any of the rest of us, deserving of respect and dignity as any one else. Years ago, I would have stood by the Irish to end the bigotry agaisnt them, just as I stand by every other group who has had to face the hatred born of ignorance. Today, I stand against the Allied War Veterans Council because of their bigoted attitude, their self-serving, ego driven attitude that for some reason, the GLBT community is less deserving of respect and dignity than any other person or group of people. The AWVC may have the law on their side, but they lack any sense of moral decency. They are a decaying entity that, fortunately, is crumbling under the pressure of  a more enlightened generation, something the Irish of  old Southie would have understood as they drew themselves up and away from the hatred.

I call the AWVC what they are, cowards, bigots, hypocrites and a scam of an organization that uses it’s political clout to deny fellow human beings their inherent Right to be Equal. This skirmish may have been won by the bigots, but this battle is far from over. We will continue to ensure that those of who swore to protect the Constitution will win, we are veterans, we’ve faced more fearsome enemies than the miscreants  called the “Allied War Veterans Council”.

 

 

March 8, 2013

When Children Weep

Filed under: The Human Cost of War — Tags: , — bobfunke @ 2:26

In the distance, there is a “buzzing” sound, a drone is in the area looking for a target. Once found, either an individual or a group of individuals vanish in a flash, vaporized by a $160,000 missile fire from thousands of miles away, they never had a chance, never knew what hit them. The children of the stricken men weep, the wives weep, if they are still alive.

War has always been an atrocity, the very definition of insanity and we have taken it to a lower level than ever before. Being one of the Boomer generation, (no pun intended), I thought nothing could be worse than the catastrophe of WWII and it’s ensuing horror of death camps and millions dying in vain attempts to take warfare from the horrific to the hellish. The thought that industrialized warfare and countless millions of non-combatants killed could get any worse was beyond my comprehension. Living in NYC during the Cold War, ducking under wooden desks in practicing for a nuclear strike seemed the height of absurdity. To me, the burning desk would only add fuel to my already burnt to a crisp body. Fear, McCarthy, more fear, death in a split second, Commies behind every bush and tree. But I did not believe the Soviets at the time would touch off a nuke and incinerate the world.

Now, a couple of generations later, death comes swiftly to some, no notice, no rhyme, no reason. The signature of the president can, and does, destroy life as the ink dries. In a split second, a group of human beings becomes little more than splotches of blood and bits of tissue strewn about the area. Fire from the sky, there is something Biblical about that, and not in the good sense.

A group stands and talks, perhaps about the price of bread or how much feed is necessary for a camel to go a certain distance. Perhaps the discussion is about the wedding party that was struck by a Hellfire missile or the need to gather more small pieces of linen to wrap the bodies of the children killed before they are buried in shallow, dry graves.

We have become no better than those we condemn. We are no better than the warriors of old, who told great tales of bravery and how they slew their enemies with the swiftness of a sword; the difference is, we now use missiles that travel at Mach 2 and we do not have to look into the faces of those we kill. It’s push a button and death comes from the sky, and children weep as their fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters are vaporized before their eyes, the last clear thing they see, before the tears well up.

March 7, 2013

War is agony, it is the very definition of insanity

Filed under: The Human Cost of War — Tags: , , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

The following comes to you from Afghan Info War’s Photo Gallery: http://www.facebook.com/AfghanInfoWar/photos_stream

There are nightmarish scenarios vs the pearls:

March 5, 2013

Fire in the Hole!

Filed under: General Discussion — Tags: , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

In general Army terms, that means, “get the fuck away, she’s going to blow!”

This is where we are at in our empire building strategy; all hell is going to break loose and we’re going down with the whole shebang.

Let’s look at some facts, although we have the most powerful military the world has ever known, it’s a paper tiger. Sure, we can blow things up, kill a lot of people and do more harm than any nation on earth, (think of the combined forces and what they could do!), but without boots on the ground to maintain the “peace”, we have nothing. We are so stretched out I’m surprised we haven’t collapsed already. In other words, we have the tools to wage war, but we don’t have the personnel.

Think about ow top heavy we are in brass, the is one general for approximately 40 troops. Most of the clowns are “specialists” in fields we know little of, but a lieutenant generally has some 40 troops…for some star-studded beanbag without the where-with-all of a command structure, we’re sitting in a minefield waiting for one of these idiots to clip a tripwire and sen us all to hell.

Admiral command fleets of ships that do little more than practice tactical trash, burning fuel at an incredible rate and using people a if they were stairs on the ladder to gaining another star.

Trillions of dollars that could have gone to fantastic projects have been wasted by a crap filled bag of stars just itching to “start another fight”. Which bring me back to the Army, the boots on the ground. We don’t have them, no war has ever been won without an Army occupying territory for a period of time. We are no different; and we’ve squandered our defense capabilities while we’ve been empire building. I doubt we could defend NJ at this point.

 

 

March 4, 2013

They are there…

Filed under: General Discussion — Tags: , , , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

Beneath Marble headstones and bronze plaques rest a percentage of gay and lesbian soldiers; having given the last full measure to their country. Virtually all of these men and women are unknown to us. We pass their graves barely thinking a thought other than the fact that they were soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Merchant Marines; small flags placed at each grave, we cannot visualize what they looked like and the sacrifices they went through…marble and bronze.

As we pass by the crosses, the Stars of David and Crests with Stars, we know little of those who rest there. An occasional BS, (Bronze Star), SS, (Silver Star), even a rare MOH, (Medal of Honor) a rank, branch of service; but something is missing, we know so little of these of these men and women. How many lovers shed tears when their loved one’s died? If a lesbian couple lost a loved one, who are we to judge the love they shared, they joy they had while they were together? If a gay couple were separated during battle where one died, who are we to judge the pain left by the survivor?

Love is love, no man, woman or child should be afraid to show emotion when a love one is lost. The little son of a “two mom family” will weep openly at the loss of one of their parents, but in the coldness of the world, we have yet to allow adults to do the same.

I can pretty well guarantee that under a stone, marked with a Medal of Honor, a gay soldier rests. I know the lesser awards for valor, or for no valor at all, have men and women who have served this nation as gays and lesbians. I am not asking that new devices be installed for those who were cut  down in their prime, no rainbow flags, (although that would be fine by me); no intertwined symbols of sexual orientation. What I am asking for is that all of those who were sacrificed upon the altar of war be treated honorably and respectfully.

We need to remember the hundreds of millions of civilians who have suffered terribly under war as well. For each headstone or bronze plaque, perhaps 500-1000 non-combatants suffered as well. Killed, displaced, maimed, they too are victims of endless wars. With mechanized war being driven from thousands of mile away by drones and people being targeted, we must recall that the shallow graves in foreign lands where so many have died and been maimed. We must recall that those who had nothing to do with hostilities are victims a well.

We are all human beings, we all deserve the same amount of dignity and respect, regardless of gender, gender identification, religion, place of origin, or the hue of our skin; we are brothers and sisters of this world and we need to make it work a hell of a lot better.

Peace,

Bob

 

March 3, 2013

Bradley Manning pleads guilty to 10 of 22 charges

Filed under: General Discussion — Tags: , , , — bobfunke @ 2:26

Caveat: I am no Legal Eagle, but for the life of me, I cannot figure why PFC Manning would plead guilty to any charge against him, especially since he can face 20 years for the charges he’s plead guilty to. The Army intends to press home for all charges under the UCMJ; if found guilty, Manning could face life in federal prison.

From the beginning of this case, when President Obama declared PFC Manning “guilty” without trial, as Commander in Chief, he stepped over the line committing the people of the United States to understand that Manning is a traitor. On the grounds of declaring Manning “guilty”, before all of the charges, much less a trial, the issue should have been dropped immediately and, all charges should have been dropped and Manning could have received a Bad Conduct or “for the good of the service” discharge. Since he has already been denied a “speedy trial”, 1000+ days in solitary confinement, (a clear misuse of the Rules of Courts-Martial and UCMJ), perhaps it would be in the best interest to just let PFC Manning go, free of charges. His life is going to be a living hell either in or out of federal prison in any case.

Accounts show that Manning attempted to go through his chain of command to show the abuses being made by the military. Essentially, out of frustration, PFC Manning went to various outlets to get the story of abuse out, finally getting Wilkileaks to publish the accounts. From there on, all hell broke loose.

War is hell, that is the reality of the monster. One might think we’d be far beyond using war to resolve our differences, but we cannot seem to learn that we are animals when it comes to waging  war. We denigrate our “enemies”, dehumanize them, it makes it easier to kill a human being when one does not think of that person as a human being. When pilots and boots on the ground talk about “torching” another human being, or consider them “bug splat”, it makes it easier to sleep at night. We are wiping out “vermin” as opposed to killing human beings.

What Manning saw and read sickened him, sickened him to the point where he felt that his chain of command should know what was happening, they paid no attention, they are a part of a machine of death, “body counts” still count. We did not learn during Vietnam that fighting this kind of war is futile at best. We did not understand our foe, just as we don’t understand those we fight today.

I do not yet know why Manning plead guilty to 10 of 22 charges, but I do know, that armed with those 10 guilty pleas, the government will go full force to “prove” the other 12.

This is not Justice, it is a vindictive military and government hellbent on destroying lives.

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