Author Archives: Brad Geyer

This Spring: Conference on Trauma in Madison

Image credit – Ghosts by Mario Sanchez Nevado
Trauma has become a precondition to how we organize our everyday lives, whether from familial violence or mass shootings, or as an outcome of war, oppression, famine and disasters.

Keynote address given by special guests Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Kaleka of the Forgiveness Project.

“From the age of 17 Arno Michaelis was deeply involved in the white power movement. He was a founding member of what became the largest racist skinhead organization in the world, a reverend of self-declared Racial Holy War, and lead singer of the race-metal band Centurion, selling over 20,000 CDs to racists round the world.

Today Arno is a speaker, author of My Life After Hate, and works with Serve2Unite, an organisation that engages young people of all backgrounds as peacemakers.”

In August 2012, six people were shot in a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. It was the worst race-based attack in the U.S. since the KKK bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963. Pardeep Kaleka‘s father was murdered during this event, since then Pardeep has become a powerful voice against hate crime and violence.

 

There will be workshop/panel led by Masood Akhtar and Mike McCabe of Wisconsin’s United Against Hate (https://www.united-against-hate.org/). 

 

We Are Many-United Against Hate is an organization of common people—urban and rural, spiritual and secular—seeking equal protection for all, united against hate, bigotry and racism.

 

For more information on the conference and the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, please visit https://www.wisconsin-institute.org/.

Conference registration at http://mitbytheater.org/

We Must Rethink Drone Warfare

VIGIL FOR PEACE Mondays Noon-1p Corner MLK Jr. Blvd. & Doty St. Madison City-Cty. Bldg. WK 1650 11.18.2019

 

Volk Field ANGB, Camp Douglas, WI trains personnel to operate the RQ-7 Shadow Drone, used for reconnaissance, surveillance, and acquisition integral to U. S. Drone Warfare. Albeit unwittingly, Wisconsin taxpayers support these illegal, immoral actions with our tax dollars.

We must rethink drone warfare.

 

Andrew J. Bacevich Jr. (born July 5, 1947) is an American historian specializing in international relations, security studies, American foreign policy, and American diplomatic and military history.

Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he received his Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University. Before joining the faculty of Boston University, he taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins University. Read posts on BillMoyers.com written by Andrew Bacevich.


Volk Field ANGB, Camp Douglas, WI

Seven peace activists walked onto the base at Volk Field at noon on Tuesday, November 12, wearing black veils, carrying limp dolls and posters of children killed by drones. They were
arrested by Juneau County officers, handcuffed and taken to the station in Mauston, where they
were booked and cited for trespassing and released.

 

Joy First: Seven Arrested Mourning Children Killed By Drones

 

Statement read on the grounds of Volk Field ANG Military Base, November 12, 2019 

by Bonnie Block . Joyce Ellwanger . Joy First . Bob Graf . Jim Murphy . Phil Runkel . Brian Terrell

We come, in peace.

We come, because we mourn the children who have died from attacks by U.S. military drones. We remember these children, whose lives have been cut short while also remembering their
mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and grandparents who continue to mourn the deaths of
these beautiful children.

We come, because the United States is solely responsible for the deaths of many thousands of people from drone attacks, including thousands of children who have been killed by drones.

We come, because our government covers it up, and it is impossible to really know how many innocent lives have been lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and other countries in the Middle East and in Africa, yet the Journal for Investigative Journalism claims that between
8,000 and 12,000 people have been killed by U.S. drones.

We come, because we are causing unimaginable grief to mothers and fathers, sons and daughters whose loved ones have been murdered by the US government. We must remember that these are real people with names and families who love them.

We come, because killing with drones is a violation of human rights and international law. Drone attacks are clearly extrajudicial assassinations, going against the constitution and have
been condemned by the United Nations.

We come, because the personnel working with and training with the RQ-7 Shadow Drones at Volk Field are an integral part of and are complicit in the whole US drone warfare program.

We come, because Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, but It Bends Towards Justice.” We want to be a part of making the arc bend towards justice. We call upon you to be part of it also.

Contact: joyfirst5@gmail.com
(Photo by Cassandra Dixon)

 

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. 

 

 

 

Update for above picture:

If you look very carefully, you will see it says: “$1.67 billion” referring to military spending. It should be “trillion” instead of “billion.” I updated the sign as I must do often (because military spending and body counts get higher every year). But the tape gave out and the old “billion” was exposed.

An alert teacher at Baraboo High School questioned it, and I have since corrected the sign. It now states that the military budget for 2020 is $1.67 TRILLION.

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.”

Stop Recruiting Kids
Facebook   

Website  

“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.