Tag Archives: war

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.

How Much is Enough? Endless War & Profiteering

How much military does the US government have?  It all depends on what you consider a base or a site or a combat machine or what the government wants you to know and what is to be secret.

 

“The US today is the main imperialist power in the world and responsible for around 1,000 foreign bases in about 172 countries. This is around 20 times the number of foreign military bases as all other countries in the world combined. The countries with the second and third highest number of foreign bases are Britain and France, 2 of the US’s NATO allies.”

International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases


“U.S. bases represent 90-95 percent of the world’s foreign bases, constituting the largest collection of extraterritorial bases in world history…”

Military spending has many points of contention: Closing overseas bases isn’t one of them (2019)  
BY MEDEA BENJAMIN, JOHN TIERNEY, DAVID VINE, AND COL. (RET.) LAWRENCE WILKERSON


“The United States has 460 bases overseas! It has 507 permanent bases! What is the U.S doing with more than 560 foreign bases? Why does it have 662 bases abroad? Does the United States really have more than 1,000 military bases across the globe?
In a world of statistics and precision, a world in which “accountability” is now a Washington buzzword, a world where all information is available at the click of a mouse, there’s one number no American knows. Not the president. Not the Pentagon. Not the experts. No one…”

The Pentagon’s Planet of Bases (2011)
by Nick Turse


At Least Seven Hundred Foreign Bases
“It’s not easy to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department’s annual “Base Structure Report” for fiscal year 2003, which itemizes foreign and domestic U.S. military real estate, the Pentagon currently owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries and HAS another 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories…”

America’s Empire of Bases (2004)
By Chalmers Johnson


Military dot com: Base Guide 


National Park Service: Military Bases in the Continental United States


“While we are opposed to all foreign military bases, we do recognize that the United States maintains the highest number of military bases outside its territory, estimated at almost 1000 (95% of all foreign military bases in the world). Presently, there are U.S. military bases in every Persian Gulf country except Iran…”

Coalition Against U.S. Foreign Military Bases


David Vine on Closing U.S. Military Bases – November 30, 2018

The Scott Horton Show


“Today, while there are no foreign bases in the United States, there are around 800 U.S. bases in foreign countries…”

Trumping Democracy in America’s Empire of Bases (2017)
By David Vine


“It’s not a matter of whether the war is not real or if it is. Victory is not possible.
The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous. A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance.”

~ George Orwell ~

Raise Your Voice – No F-35’s – No to wasteful killing machines

Some of our public officials don’t know there is opposition to the F-35’s. They have heard from few of their constituents, and because of this some don’t even have it on their radar. Even if you know they oppose the F-35’s, your elected officials need to hear from you.

What you can do:

Contact local representatives on City Council, Dane County Board, State Senate and Assembly, and US Senate and Legislature – especially Tammy Baldwin, Mark Pocan, Joe Parisi, and Satya Rhodes-Conway.

Show up Sept 12 at our 5:00pm press conference at the Alliant Energy Center [see map] just before the Public Hearing on the Environmental Impact Statement. We will provide matching signs to hold and stickers or buttons to wear, to make it clear that we have a sizeable opposition.

*Please contact your alder and county supervisor AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

It can be simple, just that you oppose having the F-35’s stationed at Truax due to environmental and safety concerns.

Ask them if they’ll be attending the Sept 12th public comment session at Alliant Energy Center that the Air National Guard is holding to express their constituents’ reservations about the F-35 project.

If you want to provide more reasons go ahead. You can find lots of information attached and at safeskiescleanwaterwi.org

· Madison Alders – find your alder on this map: https://www.cityofmadison.com/Council/councilMembers/map.cfm

· Dane County Supervisors,  contact information may be found here: https://board.countyofdane.com/Supervisors OR

Enter your address to find your supervisor:

https://dcimapapps.countyofdane.com/supervisors/

· Rep. Mark Pocan….  https://pocan.house.gov/contact
· Sen. Tammy Baldwin…  https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/feedback
· Dane County Exec Joe Parisi… parisi@countyofdane.com
· Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway… https://www.cityofmadison.com/mayor/contact

If you are interested in setting up a meeting with your alder or County supervisor, please contact Tom Boswell at tomboswell2002@yahoo.com or 608/718-7312.

Please share this information with as many Madisonians as you can

Thank you, you make a difference.

Content from Vicki Berenson
for Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin
www.safeskiescleanwaterwi.org  

Air Force Environmental Impact Statement…
http://www.angf35eis.com/Documents.aspx

Illustration by Bill Krupinski

Kruptoons

Memorial Day Peace Rally 2019

Veterans for Peace, veterans, friends, supporters and family all gathered at the Gates of Heaven at James Madison Park in Madison to honor the dead and rally for a peaceful tomorrow on May 27, Memorial Day, the peace rally is an annual event.

Finding peace and comfort in uncertain times was a theme that accompanied a week-long installation of the Memorial Mile along Atwood Avenue on the shores of Lake Monona. The Mile gives remembrance to the deaths of over 7.000 military members who have died in ongoing military actions around the world.

“The traditional Memorial Day programs have, we feel, a very militaristic flavor, and our program is really a peace event,” according to Veteran for Peace, David Giffey, who acted as emcee.  The Veterans for Peace rally is, in part, focused on communicating the great costs of war.

 

The event began as the band, Old Cool, led by singer Sandy Nowak along with Dan Hildebrand and Arvid Berge sang to remember the military members and other victims of war and to hope for a better future.

 

 

 

The Class of 2019 students from area high schools were recognized for their winning essays on topics about peace and nonviolence.  Veterans for Peace-Madison received 30 essays this year.

Ashley Cornwell, from Baraboo, read from her essay dealing with conflict resolution through diplomacy. We can do much more to communicate better and in working to understand how others feel and what they think.

Priest, poet and former Madison police chief David Couper addressed the peace rally. Couper spoke during the peace rally about his path to nonviolence and read his poetry, including a poem about what it means to be a patriot.

 

 

Our goal is to abolish war, said David Giffey, we can be advocates for peace and be patriotic.  The cost in lives, the cost of displacement of human beings and the opportunity costs are all  immense and avoidable.

 

 

Giffey read the names of Veterans for Peace who have passed away including Clarence Kailin, Joey Camarrano, Jim Ellsworth, Sidney Podell, Dr. James Allen, Jeff Goldstein, Charles Sweet, Dr. Eugene Farley, Joel Gaalswyk, John Oliger, and Ed Garvey.  Since Memorial Day, we have also lost Bob Kimbrough, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and veteran of the Korean War.


Melissa Sargent, a state representative from the local Madison area; spoke on peace, government, the civil rights of citizens and immigrant communities.

Give a listen: Audio of Melissa Sargent’s May 27 speech, courtesy of WORT FM and Gil Halsted.

Sargent honored the dead while reflecting on the moral injustices of war. The effect of violence and war on the military members cascades down to spouses and family members, and the impact continues long after the immediate conflicts are ended.

Melissa Sargent:  “This Memorial Day, it was my pleasure to speak at and to be a part of the Veterans for Peace rally. While we were honoring those who have sacrificed their lives for our country, we also recognized the moral injustices of war and that the cost of war encompasses more than the loss of those killed. With lost loved ones, post-traumatic stress disorder, civilians who are impacted and injuries that continue after wars are over, too many people have had their lives torn apart by war.

While we cannot bring back those whose lives have been lost, we can continue to strive for peace in the future. We must lift one another up, and take small steps towards peace each and every day. I know that when we each do better, we all do better. We are stronger together, and together we can build strong and peaceful communities.”


As the attendees filed out of the synagogue, musician Sean Michael Dargan played somber tunes on his bagpipe lending to the sense of seriousness of the loss of these human beings, and we were handed carnations.

 

 

 

 

The red flowers were then placed on and near the Lincoln Brigade monument.

 

 

 

The Lincoln Brigade were volunteers who fought the fascists in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, which initially the US government was not opposed to.  At least until, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini gave fascism a bad name.

More info on the Lincoln Brigade and the Spanish Civil War

 

Photographs taken by Paul McMahon, Heartland Images. Thanks to Paul.  Thank you to Norman Stockwell, publisher of the Progressive Magazine, for all of your technical expertise and hard work.

Veterans for Peace-Madison includes veterans from a variety of conflicts around the world.  We meet every third Wednesday of the month, our meetings are open to the public.  We invite you to attend.