VFP Gainesville Chapter 14

Veterans For Peace

▶Veterans Day Salute : The Boxer Simon & Garfunkel

▶ The Boxer Simon & Garfunkel 1981 – YouTube.

Happy Veterans Day.  This seemed appropriate

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This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time | Harry Leslie Smith | theguardian.com

From a WWII British Vet:

Why he will stop his visible remembrance

Over the last 10 years the sepia tone of November has become blood-soaked with paper poppies festooning the lapels of our politicians, newsreaders and business leaders. The most fortunate in our society have turned the solemnity of remembrance for fallen soldiers in ancient wars into a justification for our most recent armed conflicts.

What he will do:

Next year, I won’t wear the poppy but I will until my last breath remember the past and the struggles my generation made to build this country into a civilised state for the working and middle classes. If we are to survive as a progressive nation we have to start tending to our living because the wounded: our poor, our underemployed youth, our hard-pressed middle class and our struggling seniors shouldn’t be left to die on the battleground of modern life.

via This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time | Harry Leslie Smith | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

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▶ What Would You Do?: Anti-Muslim Harassment – YouTube

▶ What Would You Do?: Anti-Muslim Harassment – YouTube.

Here is a video that represents the kind of veteran we can all be proud of.  He appears at the end of the video.

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▶ Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son

 

via ▶ Creedence Clearwater Revival – Fortunate Son – YouTube.

JUST A REMINDER!

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How the World Health Organisation covered up Iraq’s nuclear nightmare | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com

How the World Health Organisation covered up Iraq’s nuclear nightmare | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com.

A UN report summary contradicts other research findings about birth defects seen in Iraq which would point to the use of Depleted Uranium (DU) as a cause.  The DOD’s own training film on DU claims that it is safe as long as the tanks and missiles made of this recycled radioactive waste are not damaged so aerosols of fragmented DU become airborne.  At that point the DU can be breathed in and absorbed into the blood stream by the lungs to become life threatening .  Of  course in a war zone like Iraq this is exactly what has happened to the DU used to harden tanks, bullets and missiles.

Dr. Keith Bavistock of the Department of Environmental Science, University of Eastern Finland,  a retired 13-year WHO expert on radiation and health, criticizes the summary:

“The way this document has been produced is extremely suspicious. There are question marks about the role of the US and UK, who have a conflict of interest in this sort of study due to compensation issues that might arise from findings determining a link between higher birth defects and DU. I can say that the US and UK have been very reluctant to disclose the locations of DU deployment, which might throw further light on this correlation.”

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Malala meets Barack Obama and asks him to end Drone Strikes

From RtoZ.org

Malal meets Obamas

Malala said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration’s use of drones, saying they are “fueling terrorism.”

“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees,” Yousafzai said in a statement published by the Associated Press. “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”

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Shutdown and Veterans services

Raechel maddow interviews Paul Rieckhooff of Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans of America on how the shutdown is negatively affecting veterans services.

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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A Larger of View of the Anti War Struggle

Carl Sagan as a Scientific Prophet reflects the fear of nuclear War in  his time and takes a larger view of why World Peace is so essential to struggle for.

For more see Andrew Sullivan’s take 

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The Shutdown and the NSA

A closer look at how the shut down affects the functioning of the NSA.  I guess you could call it the Goof the Bad and the Ugly because an impaired agency means reduced domestic spying but it also has a negative impact on active duty military in Afghanistan as support for things like supplying weapons and ammunition is no longer functioning.  Here is a list from Juan Cole’s article:

Top Ten Things Ted Cruz did to the NSA and other Security Agencies that Edward Snowden Couldn’t

1. Some 70% of NSA staff have been sent home as a result of the Republican Party shutdown of the Federal government. Despite its straying into US territory and its possible industrial espionage abroad, the NSA does actually track terrorists, and we would like it to do that well; that ability has doubtless been degraded by Cruz’s grandstanding.

2. Likewise 70% of the CIA has been sent home, at a time when al-Qaeda is reviving. Perhaps the Defense Intelligence Agency is in a bit better shape, since it has more military personnel, who are exempt from being furloughed.

3. 4000 computer specialists working for US intelligence have been furloughed.

4. Some 400,000 civilian support staff at the Department of Defensehave been sent home without pay.

5. Among those sent home are the officials who sign arms contracts and buy weapons. You hope our troops in Afghanistan are well stocked; how exactly new weapons and ammunition can be bought and trucked up from Karachi to the Khyber Pass is not clear.

6. The 1.4 million active duty military personnel will likely see paychecks delayed, with negative effects on morale. David Small writes : “The Marine corporal deployed to Afghanistan, making $2,193.90 a month, is worried about his family back home. His kids rely on food stamps, but that program was cut during shutdown. He will try to maintain focus in a combat zone. But he will be distracted and uncertain.”

7. Likewise, military special pay and bonuses, re-up bonuses, rewards for accepting positions in which there are special needs have all been put on hold, along with promotions. Again, a severe impact on morale.

8. Soldiers may not be able to collect danger pay, affecting 60,000 troops in Afghanistan. Those sent to attend classes will not be able to collect tuition payments.

9. The State Department, whose cables were released by Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and Wikileaks, has weathered a few embarrassing cables. But now it will face increasingly difficulties in doing its job of representing the US abroad. Embassies will stay open for a while since some funding is multi-year. But some sort of disruption is likely if the shutdown continues very long.

10. Some security has to do with biological threats; WJLA notes: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is be severely limited in spotting or investigating disease outbreaks such as the flu or that mysterious MERS virus from the Middle East.”

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My Statement on Syria

Mary Bahr, member VFP Chapter 14, Air Force Intelligence 1966-1969

There are many statements on the web in the press and from government officials saying we should punish Assad for his probable actions in the reported gas attacks in Syria,  Lets look at the outcomes if we punish this so called petty dictator.

First Assad has allies including Russia, China and Iran to name a few. The war in Syria is another proxy war like the others we have fought in the Middle East. When you look at the strategic outcomes of an attack they are even worse than the tactical ones which will not prevent the combatants involved from killing each other and the innocents caught in between. So demonizing Assad, as bad as some of his actions may appear does not justify military action which could destabilize the whole region and cause more attacks over there and in the US. Plus if World War 3 breaks out I guarantee all our children will be affected in multiple ways starting the the price of oil going through the roof.

As for standing up to chemical weapons you have to understand the US history as our hands are not clean on this issue. For example when Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurdish village he was our ally and our AWACs (airborne radar) assisted him. And are we sure that our own allies today in Syria which apparently include Al Quaeda are not involved or are not producing propaganda to get us into the game? The intelligence on this “points to Assad but is inconclusive”. we have far too many examples in our recent history where these kinds of statements proved to be part of the “Fog of War”.

I like the idea of using propaganda to fight fire with fire: coming out really strongly against chemical weapons use with UN resolutions and strong statements from our own government.  And how about shipping gas masks and offering medical help to victims – perhaps again through the UN. The US has neither the moral authority (as a former intelligence officer I know more than I can say) nor should it legally or morally unilaterally try to “fix the world”. This is a disease of Empire which we have been suffering from for too long. It is bankrupting our country with 60 cents of every tax dollar going to our war machine and destroying our culture which is more and more based on violence. We are cheating our children and the children of the world of hope for the future. The US needs to back off and learn to work with others.

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