Veterans for Peace Radio Hour

August 1, 2014

The Crazy Has Hit New Lows, (Or Highs As Per Your Point Of View)

 

 

The makers and sellers of arms are at it again, just as before 1917 and 1941, manufacturers of weapons are well on their way ensuring people will die through their malfeasance. US based companies sell arms to just about anyone at exorbitant prices, and not one of those corporate officers will have anything to lose in the bargain. Most assuredly, they, their sons and daughters, and those who consider themselves “nobler than thou” will never spill a drop of blood while they enrich themselves at a horrible human cost.

Here’s a simple illustration: We sell arms to Qatar, which in turn gives or sells them to Hamas, same basic thing with the Saudi’s. We sell arms and ammunition to Israel directly, thereby enhancing the threat all the way around, setting the stage for more death and dismemberment, more  non-combatants killed and more orphans are created. This is just a tiny observation of the entire network of arms dealing that brings with it assured death for hundreds of thousands if not millions of human beings now and in the future. This is not a cheap thrill movie out of Hollywood where everybody has a “great time” blowing up the “bad” guys with precision, it is real and incredibly deadly. It is also remarkable for it’s stupidity from all sides.

Hamas tosses essentially a garbage can they call a missile into Israel, Israel tosses several highly accurate missiles, bombs and artillery back to Gaza, where the people have no place to hide, no where to run, the targets are easy for Israel, and the “collateral damage” is considered part of a very odd equation based on retaliation for the “first strike”; has anyone, from either side actually sat down and thought this though?

The only people who are gaining anything are the industrialists, the more war, the better business is, accountants are in their glory while taxpayers and shareholders lose. How does one think the huge “bonuses” officers at companies that supply the machinery of death? That money is directly siphoned off from taxpayers and shareholders in various companies, when that money could easily be used to prevent  war. In our incredible ignorance, we permit the greediest bastards on the earth use us as playthings, mere pawns in their game of death. I find it incredible that few, if any, of us for Peace can be heard above the chanting for war and the din of that war the purveyors so badly need to prevent a bruised ego.

Some may say this is about religion, rest assured, it isn’t. Many times in the past people of different cultures worked side by side to create wondrous accomplishments that were proud reminders of how easy it is to get along when tasks are common and evenly distributed. Often, when a society was threatened, people of very different cultures came together to fend off the threat, today, cultural differences are used as weapons in the battles against morality and justice. When I hear anyone speak of religion I honestly get sickened. Every religion teaches the capacity of love, compassion, empathy and a host of other good things, like forgiveness, justice and helping one’s fellow human beings through tough times. But all I ever see is the dark side, the side that lies and betrays the goodness being taught, demanding the ultimate sacrifice for profit and gain, condemning others for their beliefs and shouting out hate filled diatribes when they should be feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. The “moral” justification for organized murder, what we call war, come from heartless minds of those who thrive on hate and controversy; I think it’s about time the whole world stood up and shouted out, “ENOUGH!” 

So here we are in the world of “Whack-a-Mole”, something pops up, just beat it back into the hole with all the force you need. Pretty pathetic way to live life, perpetually scared, standing around waiting for the next mole to pop up so we can whack it with a hammer. Worse still, we “justify” our deeds with our inaction against those who put the cash and power gained as they create more havoc for an already absurdly violent world.

The cycle of death and destruction must be broken and only people can do that by coming together in the common causes of Peace, Justice and Equality. I’ve had it up to my eyes with war mongering psychopaths. I’m done standing in the shit that sociopathic industrialists and money lenders leave behind. We need a social revolution, peaceful and inspired to break the cycle. Not selling arms to anyone would be a start, although that void would be filled by some other nation with a chip on it’s shoulder. We, as a species, need to come together and put an end to all of this. The road is rough, but visionaries of the past have cut the initial route, what we need to do is smooth it out and ensure it’s upkeep. Most assuredly, I don’t have all of the answers, but I believe when we come together we can find most of them. I would be gratified to leave a peaceful world to my son, stepdaughters and grandkids, it’s not impossible but we’re going to have to learn to live together before we extinguish life on the planet.

Peace to all,

Bob

PS: Don’t forget to perform a random act of kindness today!

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July 30, 2014

The Joys of Moving…

 

 

If there is some form of “joy” in moving, it is when everything is finally set and in place, something that has not yet happened with obr.fm our hosting radio station. Gremlins pop up and there always several glitches, but eventually, we get to be where we need to be.

encuentro5, (e5) is our host and where VFP Radio is part of a collective that serves the communities around us in various social scenarios so that we can help to ensure our communities are safer, better educated, cleaner and more cognitive of the services available to people from all walks of life. We don’t have all of the answers, but we have a lot of them and access where to get answers from. On the other side of the coin, we are always looking for groups that support the ideals we support.

Among these are:

Peace

Justice

Equality for all

Health Care

Actions that develop communities

Referrals for veterans to Home Base, (a post 9-11 veterans health program begun by the Boston Red Sox and Mass Gen Hosp)

Honest news locally, nationally and internationally

All things considered, we are a collective that truly cares about our communities and look forward to addressing the problems that affect so many.

The space we have acquired is on the first floor, 9A Hamilton Place, (directly across from the Park Street Church, the Orpheum Theater closes off  the block), half way down and we’re on the right. We have excellent space for meetings, speaking engagements, we’ll be showing films and have Q&A times. We can schedule people and groups in and you can find out more at:

www.encuentro5.org/

http://www.facebook.com/encuentro5

Come down and visit us, work with us and bring new ideas with you!

Veterans For Peace Radio is broadcast live, Monday evenings from 6-8 pm, except the second Monday of the month, where a pre-recorded show to cover for our VFP meetings. Everyone out there is welcome to come in and be on the show, and I have no problem with scheduling something, or going live from  anywhere there is an event. Everyone with a voice is welcome, I have but one rule, we do not advocate violence toward any person or entity; everything else is fair game.

If you want to be a guest just send me an e-mail with VFP Radio in the subject line at: rfunke12@msn.com

Peace,

Bob

July 28, 2014

VFP Radio Makes a Move! obr.fm 6-8 pm Monday, Eastern

 

We will be moving to 9A Hamilton Place, Boston, down by the (Orpheum Theater), 1 door down from where we were. We are acting under the MassGlobalAction coalition with various groups dedicated to Peace, Social Justice and a host of Progressive groups. The Area we have as a studio is in the back left corner and is an excellent spot for a radio station. The new home base has two major rooms, the first being an anteroom we can use for refreshments and a general meeting room. The second room is considerably larger and can be used for almost anything, comfortably fitting 40-50 people for events such as film showings, discussions, poetry readings and the like. It has a refrigerator and a kitchen, complete with a dishwasher. The short range plan is to broadcast from the new e5 tomorrow, (not like last week with Gremlins attacking), Joe and I will be on the air from 6-8 Eastern discussing military, political, social and other events as they arise. The mid-range plan is to add shows from various sources and back off the music a bit to open up a line of communication where people can get reliable, researched news and material. The long range plan is to move forward globally, (we already have some international listeners). I am working on putting certain documentary films together, I have some committed already, I just need dates and times to fill in.It is my idea that having snacks/drinks during these types of things is always a plus, so, as the planning comes up, please let me know your preferences. I will be sending out messages for events to many groups in the hope we come closer together and make new as well as renew friendships and solidarity. I will try to cover as many subjects dealing with our, and other societies as possible. I will need speakers, video help, and above all people that can enjoy the experience of learning something new. obr.fm has several venues and I urge you to click in from time to time, visit our Green Room and blogs, download mp3’s and listen to old shows that have a great deal of wisdom from many of my former, (and future) guests. I encourage everyone/anyone who wants to be on the VFP Radio Hour to email me at: rfunke12@msn.com I only ask you put “VFP Radio Request” in the Subject Line so I don’t overlook your email. Two more things, the rules: There is only one, we do not advocate violence against any individual or entity. #2 is a bit more touchy; events will be free, but there will be a donation bucket for those who feel so inclined. I am not the kind of person who asks for money, I always thought that was a personal matter, however, food, snacks, drinks etc do cost a little and there may be cost involved with some speakers. I will post any “suggested donation” as necessary, but I can’t, or won’t hold anyone to any amount, everyone is welcome and no one will be turned away from “donation” event. It does take a little cash to run obr.fm, there will be a donation access set up in the near future, but there is no obligation. We want to educate, plant the seeds of Peace and enjoy each others company. With some luck, I’ll have a call in # by next Monday do we can interact more intimately. Peace and prosperity…and please listen tomorrow, let’s grow! Bob

July 23, 2014

Palestine/Israel Report from Copley Square 7-22-14

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

So I went down to the library about an hour before the event to take in the sights and observe who was showing up for what. At first there were a dew people showing up with signs, mostly against Israel attacking Gaza. There were Palestinian supporters that showed up first and the crowd steadily grew. Near Boylston, the Israeli supporters began to show up.

Chants and megaphones fired up and before one could say “oh no”, the arguments began with lots of shouting, which continued to get considerably louder as the multiple megaphones, a drum and chants, the Palestinian supporters started the chants, there were approximately 3:1 in comparison with the Israeli supporters.  A chart held up  had a “death rate” for the week, 346 Palestinians as opposed to 2 Israeli’s. The rockets that Hamas has tossed over the border have been completely ineffective, except for the one that landed near Tel Aviv, stopping traffic at Ben Gurion Airport. To me, that was most likely a fluke since thee rest of the missiles landed harmlessly in fields.

The pro-Israeli group got more vociferous and the chatter going back and forth was the usual stuff; there was a cacophony of charges/counter-charges, the same thing we’ve seen so many times before, just a little more vociferous. The BPD set up a bicycle barrier between the two groups which worked rather well, nice to know the BPD can learn non-violent tactics.

The two groups moved on separate streets toward the State House. I took the Green Line back to Park, as my marching/walking days are over.

My initial impression was that there is a great deal of animosity between the groups, which I find unfortunate, particularly by protesting here in the US they do not face the same as do Palestinians and Israeli’s. My thought is to break down all barriers, the fall back of Israel forces at least 4 kilometers; the blockade  must be taken down and humanitarian supplies be issued immediately in Gaza and elsewhere. Hamas needs to dismantle it’s missiles and not fire anything into Israel.

Judging by today’s shout-fest I think we have a way to go; but I can say, I witnessed no violence as the sides squared off.

July 11, 2014

A letter about the 4th of July parades Gloucester/Rockport

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

vfp-logo1.jpg

Originally sent to Lee, and then transmitted through the Smedley/Samantha list, I invite you to read this remarkable letter addressing VFP’s commitment to Peace and community.

Fri 7/11/2014 11:04 AM

To: lee@massvfp.org

From: John Prybot

Subject:For all of you a big !THANK YOU!

 I’m taking advantage of this communication facility to express personal as well as speak for the appreciation of all those people here in Gloucester itself as well as from Rockport who have spoken to me regarding Veterans For Peace participation in the Gloucester and Rockport Independence Day celebration parades. In the interval since these events I’ve received so many affirmations that I would like to have all those who took part to know how much their individual and collective presence meant in opening minds towards a deeper consideration of the significance of our national holiday and the potential for a constructive resolution of conflict rather than destructive encouragement of further violence and its tragic consequences for everyone involved.

  I’m a city employee here at Sawyer Free Library which means plenty of public exposure and  interaction with library users. This makes me available for plenty of commendations and  responses regarding 4th of July, and I can tell you that VFP really made a strong impact on a good many people that I want to make you aware of. I hope that you as recipient of these congratulations can make the rest of the contingent know that their going the long extra mile to get up to Cape Ann so both the Samantha Smith and Smedley D. Butler brigades could be represented was very impressive for me. Not only did some of you come from a distance but you repeated your trip to be at Rockport Saturday evening! That was a demonstration of dedication since you took the time from your holiday to be here. So from me to all of you a most sincere and heartfelt !Maltiyoox chi eewe!– “!Mil Gracias!”– “Thank you so much!” in three languages with the expectation that you enjoy as special a Summer as the wonderful weather favors us with and on beyond that to the next chance you have to let the wider world realize there is indeed a alternative to war. Thanking you for being who you are, with appreciation –John Prybot, RPCV-Guatemala, C.A.[San Pedro La Laguna, Depto. Solola’] 1970-1979

A letter about the 4th of July parades Gloucester/Rockport

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

vfp-logo1.jpg

Originally sent to Lee, and then transmitted through the Smedley/Samantha list, I invite you to read this remarkable letter addressing VFP’s commitment to Peace and community.

Fri 7/11/2014 11:04 AM

To: lee@massvfp.org

From: John Prybot

Subject:For all of you a big !THANK YOU!

 I’m taking advantage of this communication facility to express personal as well as speak for the appreciation of all those people here in Gloucester itself as well as from Rockport who have spoken to me regarding Veterans For Peace participation in the Gloucester and Rockport Independence Day celebration parades. In the interval since these events I’ve received so many affirmations that I would like to have all those who took part to know how much their individual and collective presence meant in opening minds towards a deeper consideration of the significance of our national holiday and the potential for a constructive resolution of conflict rather than destructive encouragement of further violence and its tragic consequences for everyone involved.

  I’m a city employee here at Sawyer Free Library which means plenty of public exposure and  interaction with library users. This makes me available for plenty of commendations and  responses regarding 4th of July, and I can tell you that VFP really made a strong impact on a good many people that I want to make you aware of. I hope that you as recipient of these congratulations can make the rest of the contingent know that their going the long extra mile to get up to Cape Ann so both the Samantha Smith and Smedley D. Butler brigades could be represented was very impressive for me. Not only did some of you come from a distance but you repeated your trip to be at Rockport Saturday evening! That was a demonstration of dedication since you took the time from your holiday to be here. So from me to all of you a most sincere and heartfelt !Maltiyoox chi eewe!– “!Mil Gracias!”– “Thank you so much!” in three languages with the expectation that you enjoy as special a Summer as the wonderful weather favors us with and on beyond that to the next chance you have to let the wider world realize there is indeed a alternative to war. Thanking you for being who you are, with appreciation –John Prybot, RPCV-Guatemala, C.A.[San Pedro La Laguna, Depto. Solola’] 1970-1979

June 30, 2014

“The Best War Fought, Is The One That Is Never Fought.”

The above quote is attributed to Sun-Tzu, essentially his “Rule #1”.

There is a phenomenal amount of wisdom in those 10 words, it’s kind of a shame that the “smartest species on earth” appears to lack much, if any wisdom. The taking of a life is never a pleasant thing except to sociopaths or psychopaths. Let’s make sure we understand something here, very knowledgeable people in various disciplines have looked at the problems of war and bloodshed and while innumerable “answers” are to be found, we still have the basic situation that Sun-Tzu tried so hard to avoid, war.

Sun-Tzu was a brilliant Chinese general who could see things through a prism like view as opposed to black/white. The times called for some dramatic measures, Sun-Tzu met them all and apparently never lost a  battle, nor a discussion if the latter were an option. Diplomacy should always take center stage and be the primary resource. Except in the most extreme of cases should we turn to armed conflict, which segues into “Rule #2”, “Know your enemy”.

Before we commit, we need to have intelligence and what mental or physical barriers are in already in place, what the culture is or the capabilities of any supposed enemies. War should never be taken lightly, if necessary we need to have the big picture, we can only get that perspective through knowledge and intelligence. We would have never wound up in the Middle East if we had looked into a situation that had been around for over a thousand years with little change; we went in like bullies, we’re being treated like bullies, should we expect more?

In the relatively recent past, (1940’s), we had little comprehension of Japanese culture, but we knew they relied upon us for raw materials for production. In our blind ignorance we thought the Japanese were a nation comprised of people who lived in wooden and paper house and looked down upon them because their Emperor was a “god”. Little did we realize what sacrifices would be made to protect the “god” image. We were not on tune with Japanese society.

In the more  recent past, (1960’s), we failed to understand that since WWII and the extraction of the Japanese from Indo-China that Ho Chi Mihn was an avid ally of the US and thought our Constitution was a work of wonder. What he asked the Truman administration for was a sovereign nation, free from French domination, Truman ignored this, as did Eisenhower and Johnson. After the French were beaten at Dien Bien Phu, Johnson came up with the “Gulf of Tonkin” incident to keep the Vietnamese a divided nation.

OK, all of this is history, but the point of the matter is that none of these wars needed to be fought, no lives lost, no defoliation for generations , no pain, no hard feelings; and since so many things are tied together, we may have been able to find ways to get along with each other, either locally or worldwide. The wars need never have been fought.

The Great War was begun with 2 shots that killed Archduke Ferdinand and dis wife Sophie, on June 28 1914; yes 100 years ago. From then on we have been in a constant state of turmoil, skirmish after skirmish, war after war. Of course, wars have been around as long as there have been groups of people that had something another wanted. However, The Great War was something new, massive amounts of material and man hours could now be used to kill on a scale never before seen, we had industrialized war; the rivers of blood would now overflow as never before.

Weapons were brought forth that killed at great distances and the civilian populations, wanting nothing to do with war, would now become a greater part of the carnage than ever before. Noncombatant deaths rose dramatically and the ruthlessness of all sides would be shown to the world. After the Great War, the world was divided into many parts, most having nothing to do with another creating post war animosity that lasted for a generation, just enough time to rebuild armies and navies for Round 2, The Second World War. For the record, in 1928, the United States refused to be a signatory, along with Japan  to end all war, almost immediately, that treaty was broken. Not with Pearl Harbor, but with tribal fighting and countries trying to rid themselves of being part of an empire.

The Communist, or “Red scare” had been around for quite some time. Trade Unions, Textile Unions and many other Unions and organized labor were constantly attacked for trumped up charges, basically because they were against war and empire building. Hundreds died as spies, thugs and hired guns, as well as police departments, National Guard units and the regular Army were called out to “force ” people to work for pennies. Most Americans were against going into the The Great War, but corporations and the wealthy saw great profit in outfitting the warring nations. American corporations placed their bets on both sides, making huge amounts of cash and cutting worker pay. The wealthiest Americans were more than happy to lend cash for arms at exorbitant rates, paying for the deaths of people they would never know or care about. Is there a greater evil than to make money from behind a desk while millions spill their blood in senseless charges or be buried in trenches hit by artillery, what were the last thoughts of those who died buried alive, while men in glorious rooms counted their gold? Henry Ford sued the US govt for detroying his plants in Germany, and won! He and others thought Hitler and Mussolini “were on to something” and great sums of money was funneled to Germany to prepare for WWII

Unions were at the forefront of the Peace movement trying to keep us out of the Great War. Americans were sick of war, the Civil War took 600,000 American lives, entire family lines were wiped out, and when Booth shot Lincoln, he doomed the South to 12 years of extreme misery. As  the aftermath of every calamity of such scale, people despise war and killing; we still had more during the Indian Wars. The end of the Great War though brought about a chance to end all war, but the money rolled in. American banksters and corporations bankrolled Hitler as well as the British, leaving France pretty much on it’s own, just to fill the coffers of those who have built their lives on greed and avarice. Have any of these men ever worn a uniform, faced the fire of a fellow human being hell bent on killing them?

Understanding is the key to wisdom. Realizing that some people wish to live in their own spheres is essential to understanding and realizing that “our” way may not be the “best ” way, empire building always fails, no empire has ever lasted, none ever will, they are built on sand and doomed from the first stone that is laid.

We can change all of this though, we can bring about a peaceful, just world where people get along. It takes planning, discipline and a capability to maintain a keen eye on the goal. It sounds pretty easy, but the forces against us have the power to divide us, make us question why we would want to change. In the past, the powers of the time used spies, thugs, scabs, law enforcement, agents provocateur and even the military in certain situations. I have a particular dislike that the same army I was in would fire upon American citizens, it is one of the most reprehensible things our military could do. This has happened before, on several occasions where coal miners were striking and National Guard units were called and machine gunned the  workers. Then there is the infamous “MacArthur Moment” when Herbert Hoover called out the military to clear out the “Hoovervilles” that popped up during the Bonus Marchers in DC. MacArthur was told not to cross the Anacosta River, but he did, with infantry,cavalry and tanks. It takes discipline to face forces such as these, and maintain the group as a whole, but it can be done. Kent State. Let’s not forget a single Chinese man standing in front of tanks at Tianamen Square, we need that kind of strength of character.

What we lack in firepower, (for the record I am against violent revolution), we make up in integrity. The knowledge that we are right in our views is an overlooked aspect that brings great strength during desperate times. It is that integrity that the powers cannot fight directly, they have to undermine it and it our duty as citizens too maintain that integrity. One way to maintain our integrity is to use our Rights within the Constitution, in particular the First Amendment that guarantees our Right to peaceably assemble for  redress our governmental  grievances and through our collective voices we can do this. History has shown us that time is on our side so we must persevere regardless of threats or intimidation.

We need fight no one, we are looking for the “best” way of ensuring we are heard and changes made that benefit everyone, so this should be a “war” based on ideology, truth to power and exposing those who have failed us in the past and in the present. Agitate, motivate, anticipate.

When I put up my right hand to swear allegiance, a portion was to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.” That oath is still apart of my life, it doesn’t expire, I have come to realize that domestic enemies under many different guises are a far greater threat than foreign enemies. I’ll stand my ground, and hope you will as well.

Peace,

Bob

June 28, 2014

So I went down, to the demonstrations, (6-28) Warning, graphic pics.

iraq8

Slate/Daniel Politi

View image on Twitter

Jenan Moussa

View image on Twitter

Zaid Benjamin 

(apologies to the Rolling Stones for hijacking that line)

Park St Station: we had most of the usual crowd, but we did get some people to stop and listen for a while, planting the seeds of Peace one person at a time. We did have a heckler w/the usual, “they’ll be here” propaganda. He was engaged by a member, but I got that into a disengagement. I’m of the opinion that no one ever changed someone’s mind by arguing with them, discussion works at times but arguments just blow things further out of proportion. Besides, we get far more accolades than hecklers, which shows me people are waking up.

At 2 PM, there was supposed to be something at the Statehouse, a glance up there showed me that whatever it was was either cancelled or just didn’t exist.

So……a group of us trotted off to City Hall Plaza, where we waited by the T entrance for 45 minutes w/o anyone showing up. Lo and behold, the Iraqi anti-ISIS was on the other side of the plaza, appropriately I thought, across from the Holocaust Memorial. Perhaps I’m a little too in tune with irony, but while people chanted I thought that the numbers etched into the glass at the Memorial each was a human being; we should have more memorials, one for the Native Americans that were slaughtered, one for the Cambodians slaughtered under Pol Pot. One for the Vietnamese we slaughtered, one for the Iraqi’s we’ve killed, the Afghans, Palestinians who can’t get food and medicine and are dying a horribly slow death. The list could go on, but the point is, human beings have done such damage to other human beings, I’m actually amazed any of us still survive.

At the back edge of City Hall, we found the anti-ISIS demonstration, albeit a little late. I unfurled the VFP flag and there were many smiles from the Iraqi’s. They had brought children, some in strollers, and I thought that children, women and men, still in Iraq were being killed by some radical cowards known as ISIS, (or ISIL if you prefer). Some of the more graphic pictures were reminiscent of the Holocaust and My Lai, people in ditches being shot to death, (there’s that irony again). Men, women and children being murdered while some sick SOB took pictures or filmed the horrific event. The executioners were all in black, to include ski masks, (cowards once again), sickly using their power to bring death to innocent people who merely thought differently than them.

Iraq is a sovereign nation, (I think), at this point. It has the right to defend itself against attack, but if the Army is going to fold at the first shot, what good is it?

Thousands threw off their uniforms and fled, this against a few hundred ISIS members. I have been in firefights where we were out numbered, but good tactical decisions and an eye for the weak spot made a surefire loss into a win. If the Iraqi Army had stood it’s ground with it’s thousands of soldiers in a good defensive position, ISIS would have paid dearly for their invasion, in fact, they may well have been wiped out. But the Army that was trained by the US, (under Bremer), turned tail and ran. Near as I can figure, that is not a good tactic to be written up in any Field Manual. By some sources, the Iraqi defense forces at the border outnumbered ISIS 10/1, perhaps more. In most attacks on fortified defensive positions you want at least 5/1; ISIS should have been taken out as a force almost immediately, that can’t happen though if the defenders panic and resort to essentially a rout w/o even taking a few pot shots at the invaders.

With VFP flag waving in the breeze, I was not about to talk about expanding war, but I made VFP presence known and many in the community recognized the symbol, some even recognized me personally. As rallies go, this one was pushing violence just a tad, nothing radical like murdering all ISIS members, just expelling them from Iraq. To do that though, people are going to die,

I would find myself in a bad position advocating death and war, even though I believe that Iraq has the right to defend itself. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite; but the T-shirt and flag were out there, reminding people that we look for peaceful solutions to ugly problems.

So that was my day, interestingly, things went off on time and people got to where they wanted to be w/o 17 other things going on that garners 2 or 3 people each. Communication works when done well.

My best to all, wishing you long and prosperous lives free from war and hatred,

Bob

June 21, 2014

In Boston we had: “Globe Talks: Healing the invisible wounds of war”

Sponsored the Boston Globe the Forum was well attended at The JFK Library on Thursday, (6-19), evening. Bostonians , concerned with veteran health concerns, particularly PTSD, TBI, MST, homelessness, and suicide, were in for an informative session that discussed free care for Iraq/Afghanistan veterans who “fall through the cracks” while waiting for VA care and other care available. I would be remiss if I did not mention that this program is sponsored by the Boston Red Sox and called Home Base after the team won the World Series and visited DC with the trophy to meet with the president and were scheduled for a half hour visit to Walter Reed Medical Center to visit with wounded vets. That half hour turned into a five hour stay as the players and management met with convalescing vets. The Red Sox were looking for a charitable cause to sponsor and began Home Base.

The premise is that many veterans from the recent wars were waiting too long in too many cases for care due to a VA backlog for care. Working with Mass Gen Hospital a coalition was built that offered returning vets services free of charge. This is a holistic approach, involving family members, significant others and others of concern.

The following explains a little more of the detail:

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 19th, 2014

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

Columbia Point, Boston

What can our community do to help heal the invisible wounds of war among returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families?  Less than 1% of Americans have served in these wars. One in three veterans return home with post traumatic stress, depression or traumatic brain injury.  Other invisible wounds include substance abuse, family relationship challenges, stress. The gap in understanding between civilian and military gets wider every day.  As our veterans return from these long wars, what can we do to promote understanding, support, and health among the men and women who have served and their families who have sacrificed for our country.

Panel of veterans and doctors from the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program.

Moderated by the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen, himself a military family member

Panelists:

Rebecca Weintraub Brendel, MD, JD

Home Base Clinical Director.  What are the signature “invisible wounds” of war and how do they affect our veterans.  Recognizing  the signs of Post Traumatic Stress and how evidence-based treatment helps veterans recover.  Understanding more about the increase in suicide among active duty military.

Paula Rauch, MD

Home Base Family Program Director. When one family member serves, the entire family serves.  Military families have experienced enormous relationship stresses during the past 12 years of war as men and women have deployed to war zones repeatedly. How can pediatricians, primary care providers and schools support and build resilience among 13,000 military-connected children in MA?

Tommy Furlong

Home Base Associate Director of Outreach.  A U.S. Marines Corps Veteran who served in Afghanistan, Furlong offers insight on why young men and women choose to serve in the military, how these wars are different, what coming home feels like, and how to address the stigma associated with getting help for invisible wounds of war.

Brigadier General (ret) Jack Hammond

Home Base Executive Director.  After commanding  troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, General Hammond provides perspective on the gap between the less than 1% of Americans who serve in the military and the 9% of Americans who do not. How do veteran-serving organizations like Home Base keep the public engaged after the wars are over, and what are the obstacles to more private sector health  care for the invisible wounds of war, when only 50% of veterans seek care through the VA.

About Home Base: The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program is one of the only private sector clinics in the nation completely devoted to healing the invisible wounds of war in returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and military families. It is the first program of its kind in the nation, engaged in clinical care, community education and research to heal the invisible wounds of war.

Since the fall of 2009, when the Home Base Program began, 1000 veterans and military families have received clinical care and support , and the program has trained 11,000 clinicians nationwide to recognize and address the invisible wounds of war in their practices. For more, visit www.homebaseprogram.org

Several members of  the audience got the opportunity to ask questions and yours truly, in VFP Smedley T-shirt, (for which I received about 20 positive comments). My comment/question was about getting more people in the area involved in this program, thanking the good people of Boston who showed up and the panel, I asked how we could ensure people knew of this program because I see this as a combination of community, state and national problem and we owe our vets the best we can offer. However, if vets don’t know about Home Base, how can they possibly get treatment from the program?

I offered contact and support from Smedley/Sammie VFP and will contact the network of Peace groups we work with so the word gets out there is free medical care available for Iraq/Afghan vets through this program. I truly believe this program is well worth the effort, even if saves just one life from a senseless suicide, it has worked!

 It takes a strong individual to realize there may be a problem and seek help. The strength shown in the war theaters continues on when we realize that it is not a weakness to seek help, it is a perfectly sensible response to a situation that has arisen.

I ask readers of this blog to let the veterans you know of this program, we’re all in this together and need to get the word out for those who need help and don’t know where to go or what is available.

Thank you,

Peace,

Bob

April 26, 2014

“Thank you for your service.”

citadel, u.s. forces, tet offensive, the vietnam war, hue

 

wounded marine, the vietnam war, battle of hue, tet offensive

 

I have about 20 “stock” answers for this, and another 30 depending on the circumstance. It is something we veterans hear quite often, as well as “welcome home” and other variants of people who have never served, but want to show some respect for those of us who did. I used to find this quite awkward, considering my first tour was to kill as many VC/NVA as possible; it is difficult to think of saying “thank you” or “you’re welcome” to people who have no concept except for the Hollywood crap that pours out from time to time and the books that glorify the killing of others. I’ve come to understand that people honestly wish to thank those who took some time out of their lives to defend the country and the Constitution, (against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, that italic is not an error). My second tour was as a Combat Medic, saving lives, something I am proud of.

We veterans are in a unique position, many of us served behind the lines, (REMF’s), in fact, it takes about 20 soldiers in the rear to support a single soldier on the line. Many served during times of relative peace, others have been in the very pit of hell, hand to hand combat. All who have worn a uniform of the services have different points of view, there are times of great pride, there are times of great sorrow, the fog of war narrows the vision of the larger picture and even though there are generally numbers of soldiers with you on a mission, you can still feel alone. To get a feeling of this, go to Downtown Crossing and stand there for a few minutes, so many people, and yet you are alone in your thoughts, it is an eerie feeling, you want human contact, but can’t have it because of social norms. But the fog of war often breaks, you know that the individual near you is trying to save not only his/her life, but yours as well, just as you are trying to save theirs. I’ve see men do things that were unbelievable, just to make sure a fellow soldier was covered or taken care of. We were all “green”, because of our uniforms. We fought together, we kept watch over each other and every man I served with did heroic things that many never received a single accolade; we knew we could trust each other, not much else mattered than that.

I took an oath on 17Jan69 to protect and defend the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. I don’t know who look at this the same way I do, but once I took that oath it was for a lifetime, oaths don’t “expire”, it is something you make that lasts through one’s life. As a member for Veterans For Peace, I am more worried about domestic enemies than I am about foreign one’s we’ve gone out of our way to create. Domestic enemies are crawling out of the woodwork, generally calling themselves “patriots”; most have never served this nation in a military capacity and I find it reprehensible that citizens would go into a situation, armed and in direct violation of federal law to espouse their ideology, which is a very sick twisting of the Bill of Rights.

From now on, when someone thanks me for my service, I will answer, “you’re welcome, but I’m still defending the Constitution, until it is safe, my job is not done”

Peace,

Bob

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