Category Archives: Militarism

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.

Book Review: Global Security System-An Alternative to War

                                                BOOK REVIEW

Title: A Global Security System-An Alternative to War Authors: The Staff of World Beyond War and Members of its Coordinating Committee

Reviewed by: Randy Converse, member of Chapter 25, Veterans for Peace

This book describes the “nuts and bolts of a concrete alternative to war as a means of conflict resolution and the mechanisms to create a culture of peace to support such an alternative system. The sections that I feel are the most intriguing are:

Demilitarizing Security

Managing International and Civil Conflicts

Creating a Culture of Peace

Managing international and civil conflicts

In the Demilitarizing Security section, the authors suggest the ultimate form of national defense would be a nonviolent civilian defense force. This force would deter attacks by engaging in a variety of nonviolent tactics to make our country more resistant to rule by aggressors. A first step toward such a force would be to have a truly non-provocative defensive military posture. Such a posture would eliminate long-range weapons such as intercontinental ballistic missiles and militarized drones and phase out overseas military bases.

The section titled Managing International and Civil Conflicts includes ideas on creating nonviolent peacekeeping forces, reforming the UN, strengthening the International Court of Justice, and working toward a stable, fair, and sustainable global economy.

In Creating a Culture of Peace, suggestions are given on how to debunk war myths (i.e. war is inevitable and World War II was a “good war”). The importance of funding peace education projects is stressed. An example of a successful education project of the Chapter 25 Veteran’s for Peace is a scholarship program for high school youth that is based on an essay “Why war is not the answer”.

A Global Security System: An Alternative to War is a concise and quite readable section. It gives a detailed blueprint to present in outreach efforts when people say, ”War is horrible, but what’s the alternative?”

Read A Global Security System: An Alternative to War Free Online here.

View or download full PDF version.

First Edition from 2015 is here in multiple formats.

 

2015 Madison College Scholarship Application

A $1,200 scholarship will be offered for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year to a Madison High School student who writes the best original essay on the peace topic “Why I Believe War and Violence Are Not the Answer”.     (See scholarship application for more details.)

This scholarship is open to any senior student at a Madison public high school who will graduate in 2015.  Applicants must plan to enroll at Madison Area Technical College (Madison College)–full-time or part-time–beginning the fall semester 2015, to be eligible to receive this award.

Applications must be postmarked no later than Saturday May 2, 2015.

Veterans for Peace College Scholarship

Is the Ferguson (MO) Issue Embraced by Our Statement of Purpose?

(Editorial note: Following the Ferguson, Missouri shooting in November 2014 and subsequent public outcry and demonstrations, there was wide debate within the VFP community about whether it was germane to take a stand on the those issues raised given our normal organizational focus on international peace. Madison Chapter25, which begins its meetings with a reading and reaffirmation of the national “Statement of Purpose,” discussed and approved the following statement. It was authored by member Lincoln Grahlfs, a veteran of WW II.)

A terse answer to this question is simply to note that one should not make a distinction between international peace and domestic peace. Certainly, any hostility along ethnic, racial or religious lines is inimical to domestic peace.

It should be noted, further, that at one time in this country policemen were frequently referred to as “peace officers.” Americans have consistently had a negative response when police in other nations assume the role of “enforcers.”

Certainly, it can be argued today that some of the most serious breaches of the peace results from exacerbation of racial, ethnic or religious differences. To ignore them is to turn ones back on any efforts for peace.

Finally, let it be noted that every one of us, as American veterans, took an oath to support and defend the Constitution; the thirteenth amendment to that constitution contains the statement: “nor shall any state deny any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction, the equal protection of the laws.”