Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

March 31, 2014

Forgiveness 101

Filed under: General Discussion — bobfunke @ 2:26

It is easier to be filled with spite, venom and hatred than it is to be filled with benevolence, compassion and love. Our emotions vary as we read or come across things that either revile us or we find adorable, we have been conditioned to accept the violent behavior of others as never before. Our airwaves are filled with images of horror as we sit back and take it all in from the seeming comfort of our homes, but none of us are immune from the tragedies that go on around us. We live in a near constant state of fear brought to us by TV, radio and the internet. Even our music has changed it’s tunes from love to hate and violence against others.

Can we, as a species, learn to forgive?

Forgiveness is not as complicated as it seems, but there are certain rules to forgiveness. For one thing, forgiveness is total, one cannot bring up the past offense if forgiveness is the ultimate goal, it means letting go of said offense, most of us can’t do that, scars run deep, memories break into our conscious and subconscious, taking us back to the incident that began all of the pain. It is far easier to rationalize the element that caused the pain than to let it go. Rationalization brings out the worst of us. We use it to accept our deep seated feelings of anguish. Forgiveness is nearly impossible under that kind of pressure.

Some things are so horrible, we cannot find a way to forgive an individual. The mistreatment of a child is a prime example. Who among us can forgive a child molester? Who among us can forgive a serial rapist or murderer? How can we treat a mass murderer with compassion or do we really want to in the first place? Does a Charles Manson deserve to be let out of solitary confinement?

I have tried over the years to forgive those who have done me harm, to the point of damn near killing me, so far, it has worked rather well. Endorphins are slow moving, the complete opposite of adrenaline which borders on the instantaneous. It takes us a long time to get to trust each other, and to be honest, that trust is often broken depending on circumstances that are said to be beyond our control; but being “beyond our control” is a fallacy, we all have the capability to suppress our anger, our spiteful side and look to the better angels of our nature.

I have killed in war, something I am not particularly proud of, but it was my job and a way to save the lives of those around me. To condemn me as a “murderer” might actually fit the mold. But, unless you’ve been in a firefight, an ambush, hand to hand combat, I have to ask, “do you know what it’s like to face death?”  I saved lives as well, in the same theater of war. Not all of these were American or their allies, some were VC, others were NVA. It is part of the Law of Land Warfare to treat a combatant once they are down and no longer considered a combatant. Can I hold onto animosity for 40+ years? Yes, I suppose I can, but I don’t. What is in the past, is in the past, it is far better to look toward a future where there will be no was, where forgiveness is predominant and we can all learn to live together under a sky filled with stars, hopes and dreams.

May your journey be peaceful, may you understand what it is to forgive, add wisdom to your journey and avoid those who would drive you into an adversarial life.

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The Cost of War is Often Unseen

Marin Luther King Jr, assassinated 4 Aprill 1968, Memphis TN

Malcom X, (born Malcom Little), assassinated on stage NYC 21 Feb 1965

Robert F Kennedy, assassinated 6 June 1968 Los Angeles, CA

John F Kennedy, assassinated 22 November 1963, Dallas TX

There is a connection between these 4 men, (and many others), they were all discussing getting out of Vietnam at the time of their demise. Malcom X , after his visit to Mecca, changed his tone dramatically and preached Peace as opposed to the violent reactions he had sought previously. This got him in trouble with Elijah Mohamed, and the assassination took place on stage, the perpetrators were never caught.

All of these men were eloquent and forcefully, using words to press home their ideology, denouncing violence, yet all died violently, their words could not be countered, so their lives were taken instead to silence them. There is often a terrible price to be paid for Peace.

On Friday, at Dewey Park, we will meet to honor Dr King. It is bittersweet, a man in his prime, reaching out for a goal and shot with a single bullet that took his life so long ago. But his, and the other’s dreams live on. It is up to us to pick up the torch and continue the journey. These men were casualties of an unpopular war, by proxy, only because they spoke out against war and proclaimed Peaceful change as the only way we can expect change for the better.

Using the words of another assassinated individual, John Lennon, 8 December 1980, NYC: “All we saying, is give Peace a chance.” May your journey through life be enlightened by those who came before us.

Bob

March 29, 2014

Fighting In The Trenches

 

Many of us are in the forefront of battles, either past, present or future. We have met the “enemy” and have persevered; those that work for the few of the richest individuals on earth are no match for us, for we have the power of people united against them. The objective should always be Peaceful resolution, however, when the elite get frightened, they call out the troops, usually police, but can include Nation Guard troops to intimidate us.

We are not intimated easily. We have been down this road before, and many of us have seen far greater horrors than can be brought about by PD’s and NG units. Having been in combat, I know that the powers that be cannot inflict upon me what others have attempted. I have withstood the worst days of my life and have survived to maintain the integrity I, and so many before me have developed.

Non-combatants who belong to various Peace groups, have felt the presence of PD’s as well, some have been severely injured, a few have been killed in their endeavor to maintain  peaceful world, the powers that be prefer chaos, it benefits them both financially and strategically. But as we change our tactics, we eat away at the base of the powers, slowly bringing them down until they topple over. It has always been this way in revolution.

Revolution need not be bloody or painful, it is a change in the power structure, and that can be as smooth as silk or like being dragged over razor wire, the choice is ours, and I vote for the silk analogy. I can see no reason to harm people when we change. It is merely a case of stripping the ultra wealthy of their power by limiting their assets. There are many ways to do this, the Koch brothers are spending hundreds of millions in fruitless attacks on their perceived “enemies”, personally, I find the spending of this cash to be akin to tossing cash into a furnace and burning it up, they get a tiny return for all they have spent, they have lost races costing 10’s of millions of dollars. There is a great difference between George Soros and the Koch brothers, Soros actually built his fortune from scratch; the Koch’s inherited their fortunes, which makes a serious divide in how cash is made and how it is spent. The Koch’s might be living in refrigerator boxes relatively soon as they squander their fortunes, a possibility not out of the realm of reality.

 

The powers that be use fear as a strategy, they want you to believe that some “enemy” is behind every tree, rock or mailbox, and only they can protect you. This is one of the reasons many PD’s have become par-military organizations. Using laws that are dubious at best, breaking down the Bill of Rights and attacking “undesirables” are at the heart of the “New World Order”, which is actually the Old World Order where a few have the money and land while everyone else works for a pittance. When the police are at the behest of a small group of ultra-wealthy individuals who control local officials, we are in great danger. Police officers, dressed to look like “Robo-cop” attack individuals with batons, and armed with guns, tazers and a host of other weapons storm a peaceful protest where laptops and signs are the only “weapons” the protesters have, there is a bit of overkill to say the least. What would have the police done if 10,000 people were in the Common protesting police violence? Could they have handled the situation differently?

Negotiations are in order, however, if we “won”, what would they do? The House and Senate would quickly change the law, but what if we did not recognize that new law? Jury Nullification is one way out; another is to have the judge just toss out the charges, or the DA refuse to indict.

I wish no pain upon anyone, but I do want accountability for those who consistently steal and use the money on Wall Street to gamble away the futures of our citizens. I want these people to pay their fair share in taxes, no loopholes, no escape clauses. No more $30,000 desks for insurance companies while children die of leukemia, or starve across the globe. At some point, we have to make a decision, and that point is coming toward us quickly. Exposing the criminals is one thing, dragging them into court is something on a different scale. Shareholders must demand their dividends and not give away $60 million bonuses.

We are the 99%, our numbers alone can create change, but only if we do not fear that 1% that has no moral standing.

March 26, 2014

Thoughts, Jobs Not Jails

 

 

We have a long and sordid history on how we treat criminals in this society of ours, particularly toward non-violent convicts.

I propose the Jobs Not Jails as a baseline for the rehabilitation of non-violent offenders. There are literally hundreds of high and semi-skilled jobs that could be taught to these individuals. Jobs that pay good money for good work. If, for example, an incarcerated individual was taught concrete finishing while in prison, they would have access to a darn good paying job after a couple of years of apprenticeship. The same can be said for tool and die makers, furniture builders, cabinet makers and a host of other jobs from truck drivers to heavy equipment operators.

Once trained, we can open doors for these people and help them find gainful employment. We do this for service members, why not for ex-prisoners?

The recidivism would drop to a fraction of what it is now, while people would be rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure taking pride in their work and their communities. We need to pay these people as they learn, and not 15 cents an hour “prison pay”, that equates to essentially slavery; we need to pay these people a wage where a good portion is set aside for they’re release so they have a chance to find housing and purchase clothing and tools for the jobs they were trained for. There are hundreds of jobs that can be performed by these men and women. Cutting apart old WWII ships to recycle the steel would put many to work, and this high grade steel would need welders to properly put it together into new and efficient buildings and other things. The list is endless, as long as our imaginations are working, we can find ways to ensure that people who have non-violent incarcerations get back to work.

For the record, we can use apprenticeships for those who have never committed a crime, all we have to do is teach people skills that are appropriate for what we need to utilize to put the nation back on firm footing. Paying for this is relatively easy, cuts to the military budget are a good start, let us turn our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks, our aircraft carriers into floating super cities that can deliver not bombs, but food and medical supplies around the world. Let our fighters not drop bombs, but rather, let them sow seeds that will nourish people in relative short order; why drop cluster bombs when you can drop apple seeds?

Use your imagination, see the world as a new and wondrous place, where war is no more and children need not go to bed hungry at night. We can do this, but only if we learn to accept people as people, deserving the same respect and dignity all of us are born into.

Peace,

Bob

March 23, 2014

The Brother/Sisterhood of Veterans

Filed under: General Discussion — bobfunke @ 2:26

This should not be a difficult thing to write, but I find the military has changed somewhat since I was in. Weapons and tactics have changed, sociologically the military has taken a new updated place in the history of the nation and quite often the price has been high. Those of us who wore the uniforms of the various  services have seen a lot of changes over the past few decades, but one thing that has not changed is a vocabulary for some of the things we’ve seen and done. Some things just don’t have words to describe, or we are worried that others who never served will not understand our apprehension when we talk about our experiences.

Some things must be addressed though, and there are plenty of words to describe them. The blatant fact that there is sexual abuse in the military is a stain that will take years, if not decades to wash away. The higher ups in the military are almost entirely to blame for what is happening. A Brigadier General gropes a Captain, and he’s not tried for that crime, and if found guilty, he should spend time in Leavenworth as an E-1 with no pay or allowances, his discharge should read dishonorable and he should be exposed as the predator he is. He is not alone in his abuse of others, to include males that have been raped by predators. We, who served honorably owe it to our fellow service members to pursue every avenue we can to ensure that today’s service members are protected as they should be under the UCMJ and The Law of Land Warfare. Regardless of rank or stature, predators must be dealt with, quickly and decisively. No plea bargains, take them to task, and if guilty, they need to lose all rank and privileges, placed on a hard labor detail with zero time off for “good behavior”. From General to Private, the standard must be the same, if guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they need to pay the full price of their crime(s).

When women began coming into the Army in the 80’s, I was there for the initial wave, they did better than many of their male counterparts, bringing with them a dedication I admired greatly. I never once heard of a sexual assault charge, (although I’m almost positive somewhere this happened.)

We 3-4% of the population who have worn the uniforms of the various services have many tales to tell, some heroic, some sorrowful, some funny, and a host of other things. But we keep close to our hearts the anguish we saw, this is true of every war; we are sure that others who were not there simply cannot understand what we inherently know because of our service. We must combine with our civilian counterparts and congresscritters to ensure that predators are taken to task.

I ask all veterans to help take these people down,  before all veterans are seen as predators and rapists. These people do this for power, it’s time to take the power away from these monsters.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and act,

Bob Funke

March 20, 2014

The World According to Armchair Generals

Filed under: General Discussion — bobfunke @ 2:26

Our recent St. Patrick’s Day Peoples Parade For Peace, received very little press or other media coverage while Whacko Hurley’s small band of Allied War Veterans Council parade received some pretty good press. I am not sure about Hurley’s military record, but I have heard he was a reservist and never left the country, spending a good deal of time in Norfolk VA. From what I can see, there are approximately 4 active members in the AWVC, but there may actually be up to 10 or 12 depending on whom one speaks to. Armchair General, worthless in any capacity.

Hurley has stated that the parade he presides over is not either political or militaristic, however, in truth, it is both and then some. The drums of war, the bagpipes, the Jr ROTC, military vehicles and cadets festooned in various uniforms march, out of step I might add, are the major attractions after the float with a faux St Pat “blessing” the onlookers . I find it difficult for a man of Patrick’s stature, (“Killing is not with Christ”), being used to lead military vehicles down the streets of South Boston. Whacko, thy name is hypocrite.

On the other hand, the Veterans For Peace sponsored Peoples Parade For Peace Equality and Justice had nothing to do with the military except honest to God veterans who are adamantly against war; that is our military presence. We also embraced many other “fringe” groups, LGBT, Religious, Social Justice, Environmental and a host of others who have stood by the sidelines until four years ago. We are all inclusive and spend a good deal of time reaching out to others to join us and show solidarity on a number of exceptionally important fronts. We have no use for warmongers, haters or bigots. We stand tall with our brothers and sisters who have been denied participation in their “official” stomp.

The bottom line is, truth will always trump a lie; there is no place for Whacko to hide, he is a coward and that’s all I need to know.

March 17, 2014

Thanking All Who Participated in the 4th Annual Peace Parade

For those of you who watch, (and care about) the VFP Chapter 9, Smedley Butler Bde’s alternative “People’s Peace Parade, where we do not exclude any  group that espouses Peace, Equality is willing to stand up to bigotry, hate and the war like status of others, (most of which did not serve, and those that did had rear echelon positions far from the fighting), I offer a very a hearty Thank You!

We have been doing this for 4 years now, the LGBT community has been doing this for a little longer. We took the LGBT community into our ranks, as well as the religious community, numerous bands, labor, environmental & social justice, anti-drone, various Peace groups and many others as we’ve pushed the ball closer to an all inclusive parade, where everyone who wished to be seen or have a message can be involved.

The Allied War Veterans pulled a trick this year, (seems as though they cannot win in a face to face ideological debate.) They have a USSC decision in their favor, but this year , even though the street sweepers were to be behind the People’s Peace Parade, they got to have two street sweepers as members of their contingent. This was a blatant ploy to send the message the parade(s) were over, since we must follow by a court ordered mile. It was a cheap shot.

There were other cheap shots as well, essentially calling other Peace groups “nazi’s”, this by their “most esteemed lawyer”. One would think that an attorney would never stoop so low, but there it was in South Boston online, much to my shock and chagrin. Pointing out any Peace group as “nazi’s” is beyond the pale and borders on slander. If he had mentioned a specific group, such as VFP, it would have been slander, suffice it to say this lawyer is an idiot, (not slander because it’s true!) Wacko Hurley is also a bit of a fool, I am aware that he is a veteran, but not his status as to where he served or in what capacity, perhaps  he is nothing more than an armchair admiral or general, never making it past E-3, but “knows it all”, there are so many like that, it’s really rather sad. In VFP we have combat and support veterans, I make no distinction between the separation of combat troops and support troops, we who held the line could never have done so without the support to the rear. I am not sure, but it appears that the Allied War Veterans council has about 4 active members whereas we have about 75 active and 70 inactive at this point, counting veterans, we beat them hands down. We also have a substantial Associate membership, people who are with us because we sync with their views on Peace and disarmament.

We had a fine parade, even if the chill sent a few home early. We will be there next year as well, and for as long as it takes to break down the walls of bigotry and hate.

Peace,

Bob

March 2, 2014

Eva Bartlett at the Community Church Boston on Palestine/Gaza Crimes

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On Friday evening, we received a rare treat in having Eva Bartlett from Human Rights and Justice for Palestine giving us a part of her speaking tour. She accompanies Gazan farmers and fishers under threat of harassment and threat of live fire from Israeli forces. During her presentation, she showed slides and films of how Gazans are treated on their own side of the border, being terrorized by Israeli forces through close shots, and in several cases there were wounds and killings. When people are out harvesting onions and parsley, and then hunted down as if they are “vermin”, (my term), it is nothing less that murder.

Gaza has been given very little wiggle room in how they can react to such atrocities. Their fishing area is a mere 3 miles off shore, when they need to get at least 12 miles off shore to find fish that is of edible size. Breeding habitats have been over-fished to the point where there are quite literally no fish left to catch. Israelis have bulldozed buildings, smashed crops into the ground, pulverized seedlings and treated the Gazans as if they had ho reason to exist.

I have taken middle ground on some of the issues that happen in the Middle East, as I find both sides guilty of terrible behavior, but after seeing this documentary, I have to wonder why one of the most abused people on the earth over periods of time, (Jews), suddenly find that they can abuse others at will. There is no difference in my mind of shooting someone in Auschwitz, or shooting someone picking a parsley crop; both are acts of murder. The Gazans post no true threat to Israel, all they want is to live peaceful lives as they have for a very long period of time. The encroachment of Israel into the Gaza Strip has created a situation that is untenable at best.  To be quite blatant about it, this has the wretched stench of genocide upon the who sordid affair. If any group of people should show mercy in situations like this, the history of the Jews bears witness to the horrors of genocide.

Ms Bartlett has had her boots on the ground, often facing fire during her research and documentation of what is happening in Gaza. I can attest to her bravery and humanitarian aspects during her work as an activist with the International Solidarity Movement.

Here are a few links you can go to find out more about her and the ISM work:

http://ingaza.wordpress.com/

evabarlett@hotmail.com

I cannot describe the horror, I had to hang my head at times, I have seen this before in a different era in another part of the world. Killing, war, maiming, destruction. It must stop.

Peace,

Bob

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