Category Archives: violence

Pro-Peace and Pro-Justice Letter to Senator Baldwin August 2021

August 22, 2021

Dear Senator Baldwin

You are our Senator, representing us in congress.  We have supported you in the past, but it is getting more difficult because for many years now we believe you are not representing us in your votes promoting militarism.  Militarism, as Martin Luther King Jr. stated, is one of the triple ‘evils’, along with racism and excessive materialism, that harm our American society.  As you know, the U.S. government spends more on militarism than the next 11 countries combined. We would like the money we spend on militarism moved to spending on human needs, such as health care, housing, food, education, and a green energy economy.

Therefore, for our continued support we ask that you commit to:

Lowering the 2022 spending from the 2021 present military budget of 740 billion dollars, over 60% of the total US discretionary budget.  It is against  our values when the Department of Defense gets more of our taxpayer dollars than all the other departments of our government, education, health, housing, State, etc. combined.

Withdrawing your advocacy and support for the F-35 being based in Madison.  This plane, a major polluter of the environment, air, water and noise, is considered by many military experts a “boondoggle”, too big to fail.  Madison and Wisconsin residents have made it clear they do not want it. 

Stop supporting increased funding to the largest industrial polluter in the world, the US military.  In a world on the brink of climate destruction, we must lessen our support for major polluters.  War is nonsustainable and only leads to more wars with destruction to continue.

Supporting more jobs in education, clean energy and health care over military jobs.  We know that “1 billion in military spending creates approximately 11,200 jobs, compared with 26,700 in education,16,800 in clean energy, and 17,200 in health care.” https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/costs/economic/economy/employment  

We will gather in front of your office on the square on Sept. 11, 2021 at 10:00 am to hear your response to these demands.  We would like you or your representative to be present and show us that you hear us and will represent us.  We wait for your response on 9/11 at the Madison Farmers Market, a day we remember the terror of 9/11 and also celebrate sustainability.

Sincerely,

Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars

joyfirst5@gmail.com 608 239-4327

Ray McGovern: Hold the Generals Accountable

By Ray McGovern

Original Link  

 

If, after the horrors of this week in Afghanistan, the 4-Starry-eyed generals responsible for this 20-year March of Folly are not held accountable, there will be still worse to come. None were held accountable for the disasters of Vietnam or Iraq, and now the allegedly smart 4-Star Generals and Admirals are – get this – preparing for war with China and Russia.

“Civilian control” of the military is a fiction when the Departments of Defense and State are headed by windsock politicians like Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton, not to mention President Barack Obama who lacked the spine to stand up to political generals like David Petraeus. This was clear as a bell 12 years ago, when on March 24, 2009, Obama announced his first surge of troops into Afghanistan.

He claimed his decision was the result of a “careful policy review” by military commanders and diplomats, the Afghan and Pakistan governments, NATO, and other international organizations. That he did not mention any intelligence input into this key decision for a slow surge in troops and trainers was not an oversight. There was no intelligence input – just as there was none before the benighted “surge” of U.S. troops into Iraq in 2007, during which an extra thousand GIs were killed.

Gen. David Petraeus and Defense Secretary Robert Gates were in charge, and they knew best. They would run their own policy review, thank you very much. And if the outcome meant an automatic fourth star for the generals, who’s to complain.

The pressure on Obama was so clear that when he announced his decision to surge troops into Afghanistan I wrote “Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President.”

“The road ahead will be long,” Obama warned. That part he got right; that was guaranteed by the strategy adopted.

It seemed only right and fitting that Barbara Tuchman’s daughter, Jessica Tuchman Mathews, then-president of the Carnegie Foundation, showed herself to be inoculated against the kind of “cognitive dissonance” about which her historian mother Barbara Tuchman warned in her classic book, The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam. In a January 2009 Carnegie report on Afghanistan concluded, “The only meaningful way to halt the insurgency’s momentum is to start withdrawing troops. The presence of foreign troops is the most important element driving the resurgence of the Taliban.”

Many old hands in intelligence and the military were also highly skeptical, but Congress and the mainstream media remained bedazzled by the medals and merit badges of Petraeus and other generals, some of whom looked forward to another star and kept their mouths shut. Only one summoned the courage to speak out. He happened to be the top US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, who a few months before had publicly contradicted his boss, Defense Secretary Gates, when Gates started talking up the prospect of a “surge” of troops in Afghanistan.

McKiernan insisted publicly that no Iraqi-style “surge” of forces would end the conflict in Afghanistan. “The word I don’t use for Afghanistan is ‘surge,’” McKiernan said, adding that what is required is a “sustained commitment” that could last many years and would ultimately require a political, not military, solution.

One argument Gates adduced to support his professed optimism made us veteran intelligence officers gag – at least those who remember the US in Vietnam in the 1960s, the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s and other failed counterinsurgencies.

“The Taliban holds no land in Afghanistan, and loses every time it comes into contact with coalition forces,” Gates explained. Was he unaware that his remark echoed one made by US Army Col. Harry Summers as the Vietnam war was approaching its own denouement?

In 1974, Summers was sent to Hanoi to try to resolve the status of Americans still listed as missing. To his North Vietnamese counterpart, Col. Tu, Summers made the mistake of bragging, “You know, you never beat us on the battlefield.”

Colonel Tu responded, “That may be so, but it is also irrelevant.”

Obama’s generals resemble all too closely the gutless general officers who never looked down at what was really happening in Vietnam. The ones standing behind Obama at the press conference on March 24, 2009 had smarts – but not courage – enough to have told him: NO; IT’S A BAD IDEA, Mr. President.

That should not have been too much to expect. Sadly, after that press conference it was easy to predict: “Gallons of blood are likely to be poured unnecessarily in the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan – probably over the next decade or longer. But not their [4-star] blood.”

It Will Happen Again, Unless…

This time there must be accountability for Afghanistan. The more so since generals and admirals, active duty and retired, are going off half-cocked. Some of them, like Admiral Charles Richards, head of US Strategic Command, are saying nuclear war is possible. Earlier this year Richard wrote that the US must shift from a principal assumption that nuclear weapons’ use is nearly impossible to “nuclear employment is a very real possibility.”

And retired Adm. James Stavridis, former commander of NATO, is already talking about war with China “perhaps ten years from now.”

Accountability and effective civilian control of such general officers can prevent the next March of Folly.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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/

Climate Strike! Madison to the Globe

This September, millions of us will walk out of our workplaces and homes to join young climate strikers on the streets and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.  [Veterans for Peace-Madison has endorsed the Climate Strike. ]

A walkout and actions at the state Capitol and at Madison Gas and Electric will take place on September 20.

Our house is on fire — let’s act like it. We demand climate justice for everyone.

“Madison strikers are demanding that Governor Evers, our county, and our city government declare a climate emergency. Our private sector demands to MG&E are that it divest and transition completely to 100% renewable energy by 2030 by closing the Columbia & Elm Road Coal Plants still in use.”

Wisconsin Youth Climate Action Team
Questions: general@ycatwi.org  |  or  |   GlobalClimateStrikeMadison@gmail.com

Schedule for Friday. 8/20:

  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
    Concert for Climate (State Capitol Steps – State St.)
  • 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    MG&E Rally – Railroad Street (Teach-ins, Action Booths, Food Trucks, & more activities!)
  • 3:00 PM – 3:10 PM
    March to Capitol
  • 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM
    Rally – Capitol Steps, State Street (Speakers, Chalking, Action Booths, & more!)
  • 4:15 PM – 6:00 PM
    Rally – Rotunda (Free Pizza, Petition/Letter delivery, & more!)

Strike Planning Meeting  September 5 from  7 PM – 9 PM, Wisconsin Network for Peace, Justice & Sustainability office at 30 W Mifflin #702, Madison

Banner drops Sep 5, 6, 12, 13, 19

Extinction Rebellion Presentation

Sunday, September 8 from 12:30 – 2 PMpin
First Unitarian Society of Madison @ 900 University Bay Dr, Madison

Climate Strike-Madison Facebook Event

Global Strike Website

“Our house is on fire. The climate crisis is an emergency but we’re not acting like it. People everywhere are at risk if we let oil, coal and gas companies continue to pour more fuel on the fire.

Our hotter planet is already hurting millions of people. If we don’t act now to transition fairly and swiftly away from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy access for all, the injustice of the climate crisis will only get worse.

We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart.

But it’s going to take all of us working together to succeed. Join the Climate Strikes starting on September 20 – three days out from the UN’s climate emergency summit and continuing on September 27.

Millions of us will walk out from home, work, school or university to declare a climate emergency and show our politicians what action in line with climate science and justice means.
The climate crisis won’t wait, so neither will we.”