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

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 27, 2014

The Only Weapon “They” Have Is Fear

      

 

I put they in quotation marks because we are facing several elements that can bring harm to us and others. “They” consist of oligarchies, pseudo-democracies, fantastically wealthy corporations and banks that rule the financial world without a care while people starve. “They” also consist of arms makers and marketeers that, without any conscience at all toss the articles of death and destruction into the hands of people and groups that use those weapons against innocent people that fall into the category, “they don’t think like we do.”

These acts, which can easily be overcome with some thoughtful planning and a strategy based on how the various groups act, produce fear, which in turn is a weapon used against the rest of the world. Fear is the most potent weapon out there, and while it can’t be “sold”, it can most assuredly be “bought”. Fear has brought us great damage concerning our Bill of Rights, the very basis of our Freedom. Police Departments take “facial recognition” pictures at will, when 99.99% of the people on file would never do any harm to anyone, we have come to accept this as the “norm”. High tech cameras have cropped up all over the country, particularly in urban areas under the notion of  “crime prevention”, what crimes have they prevented? By the time the police show up, if they show up at all, the act has already been committed and the individual(s) have long left the area. After the cameras started going up, we were showered with a whole plethora of acronyms, start with NSA and work your way down, that have little if anything to do with protecting American or other lives and everything to do with creating a state of near constant fear from “enemies” that can do us little, if any harm.

If we are attacked, (except by overt military force), we should approach it as a crime as we did with the first World Trade Center bombing during the Clinton administration and the Oklahoma City  bombing. Good police work and a lot of luck played out it’s hand we dealt with situations in a sane way. Bottom line, if we use resources specifically designed to solve crimes, we actually solve crimes. Invading countries that had nothing to do with horrid acts of terror does nothing but create a situation where the locals dig in their heels and either fight it out or wait it out. We saw this during WWII; the “Blitz” of London created a population that was steeled in their desire to win at all costs. The “Blitz was terrorism, just as was the bombing of Berlin, Tokyo, Dresden and thousands of other targets during of that time. Millions died needlessly, many more were crippled for life both physically and mentally during the raids designed to instill fear in populations, while arms makers made record profits. These profiteers never had to go into battle, never had to be on guard duty during a moonless night trying desperately to remember passwords and responses, while in the freezing forests during 1944. They slept well as the cash built up in their accounts, never having to sacrifice a thing, while young men died, alone in fields far from home.

After WWII, we went through the “McCarthy Era”, where “Communists and Socialists” were behind every tree and rock just waiting to take over the country. McCarthy did his best to instill fear in every American that didn’t realize he was flat out crazy, and there were a lot of people who most assuredly did not comprehend either Communism or Socialism, in fact, most people don’t comprehend Capitalism, which is extremely damaging to workers but great for the ultra-wealthy. It was all about fear, holding up blank papers declaring, “I have here a list of known Communists,” (the # always changed), and the fear would be reignited. Innocent people became targets of FBI investigations because of nothing more than McCarthy’s tactics of instilling fear into the population. McCarthy was delusional, perhaps because of the amount of alcohol he consumed, (quite a bit by all accounts), or the psychological profile of a man about to lose his seat in the Senate drove him to drastic measures ruining thousands of lives. Then came the dramatic climax to McCarthy by a man small in stature but cast a huge shadow. McCarthy was attacking a lawyer named Fisher who had been in the National Lawyers Guild, when Joseph Welch made the following statement in the heat of the moment, ““Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyer’s Guild… Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator; you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” Across the nation Welch became a hero, and fear lost it’s stranglehold across the nation.

Reagan and Little Boots bush put the pallor of fear once again across the nation. It is unfounded, Reagan ran out on Beirut after the bombing of the Marine Barracks, Little Boots began two incredibly stupid wars against people who had done nothing against us. Iraqi’s and Afghans had nothing to do with 9-11; there were no WMD’s, bin-Laden was forgotten about until Obama ordered him to be taken down. We just bagged, and are bringing to the US for trial a high ranking “terrorist”; the courts will decide his fate.

We have instilled fear upon the nations of the Middle East, it is quite simply time to set up the logistics to extricate ourselves, leaving nothing behind that can be used by hostiles, (many of which we created). Let us remove the fear we have placed not only upon ourselves, but others as well. We can start by helping these and other nations build desalinization plants and offer them grain to grow crops to feed their people through irrigation from the desalinization plants. It’s easy and cheap, and with a little luck and some serious diplomacy, perhaps we can learn to get  along without the killing and maiming, the dehumanization of war.

I wish you all healthy and prosperous fear free lives.

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

June 11, 2014

“Friendly Fire”, no service member ever wants to hear those words.

The loss of five Americans and a Pakistani to “Friendly Fire” is a tragedy in itself, the bigger questions are, “How and Why did this happen?”

I heard on the radio today that a B-1 bomber was used on the raid to break the firefight. A lot of things have changed since I was in the Army, but using as AF FAC, (Forward Air Controller), seems a bit much to me for such a small patrol. In most cases, smaller units depend on mortars, artillery and rotary wing aircraft for these types of operations. To me, calling in 4.2 in mortar rounds in rapid succession in a bracketing attack would have been much faster, more accurate and could have set up a “ring of fire” for the extraction of friendlies. Dropping a round every 6-10 seconds from 8 4.2’s would have been devastating for the attacking forces. Artillery takes a little more time and an error factor increases , but the real problem I have is where were the rotary aircraft such as Apaches, Blackhawks, etc that can pinpoint attacks eye to ground?

Generally, when one calls in higher firepower, you move behind the Red Line, the spot that protects your people from short or errant rounds, if you’re surrounded, you bring people in for protection of each other, passing of ammo and make orders easier to understand and a host of other reasons; making the enemy come to you has great advantage in most situations.

Let me bring you up to speed here, the B-1 is a strategic bomber originally designed to replace the B-52, it is a sweep-wing, sub/supersonic aircraft that hold either nuclear or conventional bombs. Obviously, no nuke was used here, but why call in such massive firepower, when other means were available? Here are some images of what was used and what could have been used to extricate the soldiers being pressed.

  

The first is a B-1, the second, an Apache, the 3rd, the A-10 Warthog.

I have no idea how many bombs were dropped by the B-1, but it really does appear to be overkill, and there is no visual contact with the target(s).

In just a few minutes, (which can seem like years during a firefight), any one could have been called in for help. Encircling the enemy with mortar fire can be devastating, specifically as you bring your line of fire in closed. A mortar round can be dropped in just seconds, and you can get a lot of out there very quickly.

A lot of things could have happened that brought about this tragedy, maps misread, bad coordinates, bad info put into the fire control computers, the list can go on.

As an old NCO, I learned the basics and beyond of finding out where you are and where you should be, on maps that could give you a 16 digit grid, putting you within 25 meters. Technology is fine, until it fails; at that point you had better know your way around a map, the terrain, the possibility of hostiles and they’re weapons at their disposal. The most high tech item I used were night vision goggles, I found binoculars better, (wider view).

I don’t know who ordered a B-1 strike, but they should be pushing a broom in the motor pool at this point. (I’d love to see a bird colonel with a broom in his paws!)

The easiest way for this to never happen again, is to end the war; end all war. In the mean time, I suggest we get some competent people out there, because no one should bury one of their own because of  “friendly fire”. End war, end killing and maiming…and the next “victory” parade that trots down 5th Ave, should be led by victims on litters, then wheelchairs, then prosthetic devices and finally flags and the “usual” parade…perhaps people will then comprehend the cost of war.

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

April 22, 2014

Points to Ponder on Military Extravagance

 

I find it difficult for people to simply accept what they hear on TV, the radio or read in conventional newspapers. The idea that we must spend more on defense is insane to say the least. No other nation can attack us conventionally, there are some issues with terrorist attacks, but the idea that we can be invaded in the traditional sense is nothing less than insane. We could easily cut 1/3 of our military budget and remain safe from attacks. If we actually did things properly, we would not have to worry about outside terrorist attacks either, in fact, our biggest problem with terrorism is hate groups already well established in the US comprised of disgruntled citizens.

I recall Reagan ordering USS Missouri recommissioned at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Since Big MO ran on oil, it cost an incredible amount to just have her churn up the sea, not to mention the man power required, training, upgrades and a host of other things…just so Reagan could take a page from nearly a century earlier from Teddy Roosevelt’s book, when battleships were the kings of the sea. They lost that status with the advent of aircraft carriers and missiles that could be fired from 50+ miles away sending them to the bottom.

Please don’t get me wrong, I believe we need to defend our nation, but to my point of view, this is a bit overkill. We have F-35’s at some $65M a pop that can’t even fly, we have F-22’s where pilots pass out from anoxia, some have refused to fly the F-22 because nothing short of a crash dummy can survive the flight. We are contracting ships that start taking on water the moment they are launched because of cheap foreign steel and poor welding. Ground troops have to carry so many items they can barely move in close quarters where a good portion of the fighting goes on. I carried two canteens of water, a couple of belts of M-60 ammo, an M-16 or M-14 depending on the mission and a tee-shirt and a pair of Army issued jungle cammies/greens. I sat on my flak jacket because I did not wish to lose my heritage to the rounds that came trough the floor of the slick I was in; (it was amazing the punishment those birds could take). Just as today, we looked for things to make out lives just a little easier…and longer lasting.

We searched for things “out of place”, what had moved? Was there new earth to be seen where a hole had been dug? Was a tree bent a certain way? We use all of our senses, were insects chirping or silent? Were birds moving through the trees and chirping, or suddenly a flock take off from their perches? Did monkeys seem inordinately noisy, you got to use everything, a breeze would send the scent of fresh shit your way, you can tell the difference between human and animal shit, after all, it’s what you eat. LRRP’s would spend a week or more eating local food, never touching anything from the US, you had to stink like the area you were in. You could smell Ivory soap at 300+ meters.

We wasted an incredible amount of ammo, the “Mad Minute” alone used a battalions worth of ammo during that small amount of time, and it did no good, after being caught once at sundown, the VC/NVA  just hunkered down behind a berm, rocks or anything else until it was over. No one was scratched, but it made us feel good, somewhat safer. But we still had to double the sentries and send out more listening posts. Outside the wire, it was a different world, and woe be to the man who forgot the sign/countersign.

Napalm, White Phosporus, ( Willie Pete), Agent Orange, numerous and sundry chemical exposures of unknown forms creating diseases of unknown etiology, (some still unknown), that manifest themselves in various cancers, glandular disorders and a host of other problems that are some 40-50 years later making themselves known. In our current debacles, we have “depleted uranium”, designed to punch through armor; since the Afghans have little to no armor, it is used on people and their homes. The residual effect is a radioactive nightmare that kills silently and deforms children while still in the womb, leaving faceless, legless, armless replicas of what should be a healthy baby. Nightmarish photos exist of disastrously deformed babies, paid for by our tax dollars.

But we have these things now, so we use them. What nightmare situations are in our near and if we survive, distant future?

War is expensive, you use a bullet, rocket, artillery round but once, then you have to get more, the cycle continues, built on the false hope that war can “cure” war. What “cures” war is Equality, Justice and a motivation to lay down the arms we use to kill and maim others. It takes us to another level of communication, where intellect is king, not who has the heavier tank, or bigger nuclear device. If we are all to be free from war and skirmishes we need to understand the needs of people and act to make those needs accessible. Food, clothing and a place to live top the list. Taking care of these three things would move us closer to Peace, We can then fine tune the outcome, help with irrigation, seeds for edible plants, factories to make clothes and other items, concrete to build homes sturdy enough to withstand desert storms. No more exploitation of the locals, no more empire building, no more theft of resources, no more killing.

Peace,

Bob

 

April 11, 2014

Corruption To The Core

I suppose I should not be surprised by anything any more, but there seems to be no limit on the “oh-shit-ometer”, with a Federal Judge stating in a ruling that killing American citizens by drone is Constitutionally protected behavior. We have stepped into some very ugly territory, and we’re not looking to history for a viable answer.

Using history, recent history, we should be quite capable of realizing that bombing people, attacking nations and domination of sovereign states never works out well, and a lot of people die and are maimed for life for nothing more than making others more wealthy than they already are. Our forays into this world of war have been disastrous, The Great War, (WWI), did nothing but produce the elements that would bring on WWII. Sanctions against Japan threatened that country’s existence, when the military, the source of power in Japan at the time, decided they were doomed if the US retained the sanctions for raw materials, there appeared to be no option other than open warfare to get what they needed. Pearl Harbor sent us into an all compassing war at virtually ever angle that could be imagined. The only source of salvation  we had was that we had enough distance between us and Europe and Asia to keep us from being directly attacked on the mainland.

The Cold War gave us Korea, Vietnam, forays into Europe, Africa and South America, and, as an extension the current fiascoes in the Middle East. All of which could easily have been dealt with diplomatically as opposed to force of arms. The only thing that comes from all of this, is more death and destruction, more maiming and expenditures on the military that are ludicrous. All of this is happening because we have a media that is spoon-feeding us trash, calling it “news”, and an ill informed population cannot make intelligent choices about their futures. We have exceptional schools that are defunded and left to make it on their own, our investment is our children, and we need to protect that investment with education and a broad knowledge base, we are failing our prodigy.

I fully admit that my generation, the “Baby Boomers”, dropped the ball on a host of issues and have remained so fully engrossed in personal gain above all else, that we are in the process of killing the only place we know of  where human life can flourish in the universe. We all seem to come together when disaster hits close to home, never before has disaster been this close for the humans on this planet, essentially because we spend fortunes on destructive behavior and a pittance on constructive behavior. We need to bring all of this to a halt and do what we can to bring people together to work on this problem before we incinerate ourselves. War is not the answer, it is devised to bring in fortunes to those who invest in the destruction of others, could there be a more blatant description for this murder?

What I find very disturbing is the notion that it is “legal” to execute someone w/o a trial, (for the record, I find executions appalling in the first place, but anyone, anywhere being assassinated is particularly nauseating.) How can outright murder be considered “legal” under the Supreme Law of the Land, The Constitution we  have all been taught to look at in awe by it’s wisdom. In the Japanese Constitution, essentially a copy of our own to a degree, there is Article 9, which forbids Japan to go to war; why didn’t we add an “Article 9” in our  Constitution?  Why is it that very few countries have something akin to Article 9?

Going to war, then seeking revenge when things go awry seems to be the current mode of thought, both here and in other places. How many lives would have spared the many agonies of war if we took a few minutes to challenge the idea of picking up a sword every time someone says something “offensive”? I think we well may be the thing we fought against during WWII, central governments that are essentially dictatorships, with the “leader” having complete power over life and death, I don’t want to look in the mirror and have an SS image looking back at me!

It appears to me that we need to do some serious thinking at this juncture. We have literally given up many Rights protected under the Constitution already, our highest court has decided against citizens many times in the past, but never before has there been such an onslaught radical decisions as we have seen in the past twenty years, particularly since 2001. It has been easy to wonder what, if anything, these nine individuals are thinking when they make decisions that have a negative effect upon the people. In some cases, such as the question of  “corporate personhood”, goes back to the the 19th Century, we could change this by Amending the Constitution, but the rub is, congress will do nothing if it interferes with the cash flow they get from corporate entities.

How many more must die in order for us to realize that killing people is atrocious when at war, but actually assassinating targeted people is a war crime, as we tried to show the world during the Nuremberg Trials? I think we can recover from this, but it will take a lot of work, the framework is place, we need to expend energy in positive ways that benefit all, not the elite. We can, and will eventually rise to this challenge, we’ve done it before, many of us are working on it now. We must all come together in our desire to have Equality and Justice, for then, we will have Peace. To be an activist means you have to be active, and effectually work for the good of the citizens of this nation and all nations.

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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