Tag 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.

Horror of war captured in art – Display in Gallery 211 showscases work of soldier turned activist

Originally posted on TheClairion

Ana Bon, Art Director

Allie Christensen/Clarion “Long Shadow” by David Giffey is on dispay through Sept. 30. Giffey will be at the artist’s reception on Sept. 22 from noon to 2 p.m.

Paintings about remembrances of the Vietnam War currently hang on the walls of Gallery 211 at Madison College’s downtown campus.

David Giffey, peace activist and war veteran, has found his “Long Shadow” series of paintings to be a peaceful way of confronting something terrible.

“I feel these are anti-war paintings,” said Giffey, sitting in the center of his gallery exhibition. “If someone disagrees with me, that’s their right, they don’t have to look.”

You can find elements of Giffey’s original black and white photographs in each of his paintings.

Next to each painting, you can read an expert from the personal journal that Giffey kept during combat.

“It’s a very private kind of journal but I share parts of it sometimes, ” he said. The chosen entries best describe Giffey’s memories and emotions regarding the paintings.

“Long Shadow” is a series of paintings that is different from Giffey’s preceding artwork. In contrast to his prior work, these paintings were done more quickly, and the coloration much redder, expressing the violence and his emotional outlook as an artist. He has decorated churches and painted murals, but these paintings are a more personal expression.

“I can’t imagine and I’ve never heard of a visual artist who tried to illustrate anything about the violence of war in any way other than just shocking violence imagery, and that is really what war is about, there is nothing romantic or peaceful about it,” he said.

“I hope that whoever really takes the time to examine, to look at the photographs, to read the labels, will realized that militarism and the traditions of militarism, really, really need to be examined,” said Giffey. Giffey’s paintings are not only an artistic expression, they are also a form of self-awareness.

“While I was in Vietnam in the war, I became very convinced that it was a terrible mistake,” said Giffey. “That we, American soldiers, should not have been there. It was not our concern.”

Giffey grew up on a very small dairy farm in Fond du Lac county in Wisconsin. He attended UW-Oshkosh but was really interested in writing and got a job with a newspaper. At that time, the ‘60s, if you weren’t in college, you were eligible to be drafted in the military. Giffey leaned towards writing over college and was drafted in 1964.

“Even though I had been politically active, I really hadn’t been aware of the south east Asia and Vietnam as a potential place where there would be a war. However, about a year later, I found myself on a ship going to Vietnam,” said Giffey.

When he was drafted for Vietnam, he was first trained as an artillery gunner, then reassigned to become the assistant editor of for the first infantry division. It was his duty to go into combat missions along with other soldiers to take photographs.

As soon as Giffey came back from war in 1966, he joined the peace movement

“I go to high schools and try to let young people know that there are alternatives to the military,” he said. “After the war in Vietnam, it was clear to me that I had to try to work for peace and justice whenever possible. It’s a helpful kind of work for me, just like visual art and writing, because it is non-violent.”

“My time in the Army and the war never leaves my mind. It was a difficult time and I will always try to overcome my participation in the military by following a peaceful path.”


Artist reception will be held Sept.22 at the Downtown Campus, with refreshments provided from noon to 2 p.m.

To see more of Giffey’s artwork you can visit davidgiffey.com.