Counter Recruiting in Rural High Schools – David Giffey VFP Madison

Veterans for Peace-Madison Clarence Kailin Chapter 25  |  Nov 12, 2019  |  David Giffey

What you should know before joining the military. 

My counter recruiting visits to Southwestern Wisconsin high schools never fail to remind me of the constant need for a peace presence among young people. I am returned to the uncertainty and indifference I felt when I was young and let myself get drafted and eventually sent to the American War in Vietnam. By nature, youth is apathetic and dismissive of very important decisions, and overcome with a sense of bravado.

Today I spent the lunch hours counter recruiting at Dodgeville High School. Protocol requires that I remain at my table and wait for students to approach. Then I offer information about alternatives to the military and try to warn students that “the military is not just a job.” This is the 11th year our Chapter 25 has offered a scholarship for the essay contest winner at Dodgeville, and my 11th year counter recruiting in Dodgeville. The staff is very helpful and kind. The administration has changed in the past decade. Twelve years ago, it was necessary to consider legal action when Veterans For Peace was denied the right to counter recruit in Dodgeville High School.

The tradition of militarism in American culture is evident in the high schools I visit. Today a student asked me if I was “anti-military or anti-war.” I assured him that I was “anti-war.” How could I be opposed to people in the military, since I was once one of them, I asked. Within minutes two students who, I presume, were friends of his approached me and very politely told me they had enlisted. I reminded them that the purpose of all U.S. military branches is to wage war. I showed them copies of the contract they may sign which removes all their rights to self-determination. I wished them well. The war in Afghanistan is now in its 19th year. Neither of those boys were born when it began. They have, I believe, become inured to war by its constant presence.

Last week I read excerpts from Long Shadows: Veterans Paths to Peace at an event in Madison. In the book, the late Dr. James Allen, a longtime peace activist who was drafted into the War in Korea, recalled someone saying, “We’ve made a little progress in the last few thousand years because in the old days when the conquering army came in, they usually killed everybody in the city. Now we just say we want to kill the soldiers.”

Visiting high schools, offering scholarships for essays on the topic of peace, meeting young students, worrying about our grandchildren…these are important reasons for supporting the work of Veterans For Peace. Today at Dodgeville High I talked to half a dozen students who were interested in writing essays for our contest. I discussed war and peace with several teachers who were eager to read our literature and to learn more. I gave two students copies of “Addicted to War,” a graphic history of U.S. involvement in wars.

Later this week I’ll visit Baraboo High School. Next week I’ll be counter recruiting in Boscobel and Richland Center, and then Muscoda. I’ve already been to River Valley High School in Spring Green. Then I’ll start over again hoping to let young people know that the world will be more peaceful if they remain civilians after graduation.

As veteran Clarence Kailin, namesake of Chapter 25, said: “There’s a lot of work to do.”

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“I had a good/busy day in Dodgeville HS during lunch hours today. I spoke with at least five seniors who are very interested in the essay contest, a couple of hecklers, and two seniors who said they have enlisted. But they listened when I told them about options. And several teachers had conversations with me also.”  – David Giffey

My Thoughts on Militarism – Brad Geyer

My Thoughts on Militarism:  My words at the Good Noise, Good Neighbors Festival Oct 20, 2019

We don’t need the jets. We don’t need the base.

I served for 13 years in the US military, including 9 years here at Truax Field with the 115 Fighter Wing. During my time with the Air Force, I was deployed to the Middle East to combat zones and Southwest Asia five times.

Years ago, President and General Dwight Eisenhower warned Americans about the big money of the Military Industrial Complex. Through the years this corruption has gotten worse. Over the past 50 years, big business led by entities like the Chamber of Commerce and ALEC have purchased our legislators.

There are too many lobbyists in our government. A good example of a conflict of interest is the Secretary of Defense who is a former lobbyist for Raytheon. Raytheon makes at least four components of the F-35.

The activist courts have invented law taking away our ability to regulate bribery. With the decisions leading up to Citizens United, we now have a Military Industrial Complex on steroids.

Jimmy Carter and others have stated that the US is now an oligarchy. There are a few wealthy people, the 1%, that our government is serving. [Although, we could change that tomorrow if we had the will.]

Now is the time to talk about how much military assets we have. How much we spend on war and where we want to spend our money.

We don’t seem to be having an effective discussion on these questions. Instead we have propaganda about whether we support the troops or if we love the flag. Those are games being played. Those are not valid, logical arguments relative to the situation.

According to a poll from September, most Americans want more money spent on the domestic needs of people and less spent on the Pentagon.


Defending our homes and our constitution is very important, but we could do that and spend more money on…

  • More hospitals, clinics, staff, nurses and doctors for veterans and civilians
  • Clean energy
  • Giving teachers the tools they need
  • Art and music funding
  • Heating assistance and other help for the elderly
  • Processing refugees in a more humane manner
  • Dealing more effectively with substance abuse, trauma, mental health and PTSD
  • Protecting our natural world, our air, our water, our soil

A few numbers…

This is not defense. This is empire.

Some of our children, go to schools where the textbooks are 30 years old and dilapidated, while our government is buying weapons like the F-35 for one hundred million dollars, a jet that has a windshield made of sapphire and has a helmet that cost $400,000.

I think we can have a better balance. Part of that balance is pushing for laws to be enforced instead of bombs dropping so often, and we need a government that is not out there creating enemies for Americans.

Two priorities we should have in order to achieve real progress:
We need people to be involved and informed.
We need to get the big money out and the people in.

Fundraiser for the Veterans: Unified U.S. Deported Veterans, Chapter 182 Veterans for Peace

Common Ground, 2644 Branch Street in Middleton  |   Nov 7 from  6-9 pm  |
Contact Fran: f aw231@aol.com, 608-576-7416

Abandoned. Discarded. Devastated. Betrayed.

Mario De La Cruz, U.S. Army, Uncharacterized Discharge, born in Mexico (1969), deported.

These are the words used by deported veterans to describe the country they served honorable which is in some cases is the only home they have ever known. Individual details in the hundreds of stories vary but often include minor infractions of the law common to troops reintegrating from combat or errors in the dysfunctional immigration system.

Cut off from family and friends, the original members of Unified U.S, Deported Veterans based in Tijuana, Mexico banded together in mutual support and now provides over ninety veterans help with basic needs, contact with family members and links to legal resources as well as mental and physical healthcare.

Please join Common Ground Coffeehouse, WORT community radio 89.9 FM Madison, and Veterans for Peace Clarence Kailin Chapter 25 Madison in a night of poetry by …

All donations will directly benefit Unified U.S. Deported Veterans, Chapter 182 Veterans for Peace.

Military Times, ICE is supposed to consider service when deporting veterans. It hasn’t been.

 

Evening of poetry, writings, and music to benefit Unified U.S. Deported Veterans
Thursday, November 7, 2019, from 6-9 pm
Common Ground Coffeehouse
2644 Branch Street in Middleton, WI

For more information contact Fran Wiedenhoeft, faw231@aol.com, 608-576-7416

DREAMING OF FREEDOM: Palestinian Youth Under Siege and Occupation

Event: Sunday, October 27 @ 2 – 4 pm
Christ Presbyterian Church,
944 E Gorham St, Madison, WI 53703  


DREAMING OF FREEDOM:
Palestinian Youth Under Siege and Occupation
With Yousef Aljamal, Gaza Writer and Activist
Facebook event page

Meet Yousef Aljamal, a young writer who grew up in a refugee camp in Gaza and lived through the three devastating Israeli military assaults between 2008 and 2014. He will share his experiences and insights about the lives of youth there and elsewhere in Palestine, including tens of thousands imprisoned by Israel’s military regime in the West Bank since 1967.

A contributor to the anthology Gaza Writes Back: Short Stories from Young Writers in Gaza Palestine, Aljamal has recently translated into English the book Dreaming of Freedom: Palestinian Child Prisoners Speak.

Yousef’s talk will be preceded by brief remarks from Rep. Mark Pocan.

Free, but donations gratefully accepted to fund another Maia Project clean water filter for Rafah kids.


Local Sponsors: Madison-Rafah Sister City Project; Jewish Voice for Peace-Madison; UW-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine; Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison. Tour sponsored by Just World Educational. Welcomed by WORT Radio.

Note: Yousef is scheduled to be a guest on WORT Radio’s A Public Affair with host Allen Ruff on Thursday, October 24 from noon – 1 pm. Call in at 608-256-2001 or listen live online at WORT 89.9 fm.

For more information, visit The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project website or follow MRSCP on Face Book.