Saturday, October 17, 2015



It’s official: the Afghanistan war won’t end under Obama



President Barack Obama has confirmed plans to extend the US military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2016, in a shift in policy.

Speaking at the White House, he said the US would keep 5,500 troops in the country when he leaves office in 2017…  Announcing the plan on Thursday, President Obama said the troop extension could "make a real difference" for Afghanistan and Afghan security forces, which he acknowledged were "not as strong" as they needed to be… "It's the right thing to do," the president said about the policy change. "As commander in chief I will not allow Afghanistan to be used as safe haven for terrorists to attack our nation again." … He described the mission in Afghanistan as "vital to US national security interests".  More


ANDREW BACEVICH: Why Washington Can't "Stand Up" Foreign Militaries

First came Fallujah, then Mosul, and later Ramadi in Iraq.  Now, there is Kunduz, a provincial capital in northern Afghanistan.  In all four places, the same story has played out: in cities that newspaper reporters like to call “strategically important,” security forces trained and equipped by the U.S. military at great expense simply folded, abandoning their posts (and much of their U.S.-supplied weaponry) without even mounting serious resistance.  Called upon to fight, they fled.  In each case, the defending forces gave way before substantially outnumbered attackers, making the outcomes all the more ignominious… Based on their performance, the security forces on which the Pentagon has lavished years of attention remain visibly not up to the job. Meanwhile, ISIS warriors, without the benefit of expensive third-party mentoring, appear plenty willing to fight and die for their cause. Ditto Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The beneficiaries of U.S. assistance? Not so much.   More US Could End Saudi War Crimes in Yemen - It Just Doesn't Want To

The Saudi-led coalition is guilty of systematic war crimes in Yemen, and the US bears legal responsibility because of the use of arms purchased from the United States, an Amnesty International report charged in early October.  But although the Obama administration is not happy with the Saudi war and has tremendous leverage over the Saudis, it has demonstrated over the past several weeks that it is unwilling to use its leverage to force an end to the war. And it now appears that the administration is poised to resupply the munitions used by the Saudis in committing war crimes in Yemen. The October 6 Amnesty report documented an openly declared Saudi policy of deliberately targeting two Yemeni cities for air attacks in violation of the laws of war. It also documented US liability for the war crimes committed in the air war against Yemen… The Amnesty report points out that the United States has a legal obligation under the Arms Trade Treaty not to provide weaponry it knows will be used in the indiscriminate bombing of Yemen.   More


Reps. Dingell, Ellison & Lieu circulated  a letter to Pres. Obama Expressing Concern over Growing Civilian Death Toll in Yemen Airstrikes – signed by a total of only 13 House members, but including our own Rep. Jim McGovern:

We write to express our dismay over recent reports that airstrikes conducted by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition struck yet another wedding reception on Wednesday, October 7 in Sanban village, killing at least 23 people. This attack comes just over a week after the even deadlier attack on a wedding party in Wahijah village, on Monday, September 28, which killed at least 131 Yemeni civilians, including at least 80 women. Sadly, these are only the latest tragedies in the campaign against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. According to Amnesty International, more than 2,100 civilians, including at least 400 children, have been killed in the conflict, with the “vast majority” of civilian deaths and injuries attributed to attacks by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.   More


Yemen: 'Bombs fall from the sky day and night': Civilians under fire in northern Yemen

A devastating air bombardment campaign launched in March 2015 by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia has killed and injured hundreds of civilians in Yemen, many of them children. The governorate of Sa’da has been particularly targeted, as it is the stronghold of the Huthi armed group, and its capital Sa’da city has suffered more destruction as a result of relentless coalition airstrikes than any other city in Yemen. Much of the city and its surroundings are in ruins and most of the civilian population was forced to flee.   More


Photos of the destruction rarely appear in US media, but see here


U.S. Support for Saudi Strikes in Yemen Raises War Crime Concerns

“The humanitarian crisis in Yemen has received too little attention, and it directly, or indirectly, implicates us,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who noted that the airstrikes may violate legislation he authored barring the United States from providing security assistance to countries responsible for gross human rights abuses. “The reports of civilian casualties from Saudi air attacks in densely populated areas compel us to ask if these operations, supported by the United States, violate” that law, Leahy told Foreign Policy in an emailed statement. In any event, he added, “there is the real possibility that [the air campaign] is making a bad situation worse.”     More


Washington and Kabul Stand in the Way of International Probe Into Kunduz Attack

An international panel said it is prepared to launch an investigation into the botched American airstrike that hit a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan this month, but the probe can’t begin unless both Washington and Kabul sign off — a step the two governments may hesitate to take because of the potential political and legal fallout… Washington has promised a full probe into who asked for the strike, who approved it, and why the many safeguards designed to prevent such a tragedy all failed to do so.  So far, however, the White House has refused to allow the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC), a Swiss-based body designed to investigate breaches of humanitarian law, to begin its work.    More

Got Them Down-Hearted Blues-With The Empress Of The Blues Bessie Smith In Mind

Got Them Down-Hearted Blues-With The Empress Of The Blues Bessie Smith In Mind  

From The Pen Of Sam Eaton

Sure 1920s guys, gals too, black guys, black gals on Mister’s 28,000 acres of the best bottomland in Mississippi or some such number, had plenty to have the blues about (and maybe some woe begotten poor white trash but this is about the blues, the musical blues and not some general social issues so those “no account” whites don’t play here, actually whites in general until the music heads north in a generation and the “white negro” hipsters (to use big daddy Norman Mailer’s term), “beats (to use Jack Kerouac term hustled from some dead-pan beat down hustler named Huncke via John Clellon Holmes for Christ sake),” folkies (to use the Lomaxes’, father and son, expression), college students (to use oh I don’t know the Department of Education’s expression), and assorted others (junkies, grifters, midnight sifters, drifters on the wing, winos trying to sober up, good time prostitutes) decided that that beat in their heads had Mother Africa who spawned us all had to be investigated but all that indeed was later). Especially had the blues about how Mister and his Mister James Crow laws fitted him, Mister, and his just fine at the expense of those black guys, their women and their righteous children (righteous when they, his children and their children smote the dragon come freedom summer times but that is a story for their generations to tell I want to talk about the great-grand pa’s and ma’s and their doings).

How Mister James Crow said every day of the week, even the Lord’s Day, Sunday that if you were black, get back, if you were right you were alright and proved it by separate this and separate that, keeping his street clear of stray “negros,” yeah, with small “n” if he was being kind that day, another today socially not acceptable expression if not, telling the brethren to go here, not go there, look this way but not that (and by all means not his peeking womenfolk), walk there but not here, or face nooses and slugs for his troubles. So yeah the blues almost cried out to be the order of things. Working all day for chump change in Mister’s fields or worse share-cropper-ing and having Mister take the better portion and leaving the leavings he didn’t want, meaning what he couldn’t sell to his profit as the rest.

Yeah, so there is no way that black guys could not have had the blues back then except some old nappy Tom who didn’t get the word but they were far fewer than you think the others just fumed at who knows what psychic costs (now too but that in dealt with by the step-child of the blues, maybe second step-child via in your face if there is space hip-hop nations, the angry ones who put words to the rages of the modern “post racial” American society that somebody jerked them around with lately). Hey and to Mister’s miseries, very real, very scary when the nightriders came, woman trouble (maybe at night the worse kind of trouble if Mister wasn’t in your face with her where you been, do this, do that, put it right here, put it right there), trouble with Sheriff Law (stay off the sidewalks, keep your head down, stay down in the bottom lands or else) and trouble with Long Skinny Jones if you mess with his woman, get your own (or face his razor and gun down on Black Mountain).

Plenty of stuff to sing about come Saturday night after dark at Smilin’ Billy’s juke joint complete with his home-made brew, freshly batched, which insured that everybody would be at Preacher Jack’s  Sunday service to have their sins, lusts, greeds, avarices, covets, swaggers, cuts, from the night before (or maybe just minutes before) washed clean under the threat of damnation and worse, worse for listening to the “devil’s music” (funny because come the white rock and roll teen explosion a generation Mister, some Mister, said that too was the devil’s music which confused those clean cut angelic angst-filled teens although not enough to stop listening to Satan and his siren song) by a guy like Charley Patton, Son House (who had the worst of both worlds being a sinner, loving his whiskey more than somewhat which Howlin’ Wolf took him to task for down in Newport one year in the early 1960s at a jam session, and a preacher man), Lucky Quick, Sleepy John, Robert J, and lots of hungry boys who wanted to get the hell out from under Mister and his Mister James Crow laws by singing the blues and making them go away.          

That’s the guys, black guys and they had a moment, a country blues moment back in the 1920s and early 1930s when guys, white guys usually as far as I know, from small label record companies like Paramount, RCA, the radio company looking to feed the hours on their stations with stuff people would listen to (could listen to in short wave times and hence regional roots work). They were agents who were parlaying two ideas together getting black people, black people with enough money  (and maybe a few white hipsters, Village, North Beach, Old Town denizens tired of the same old, same old if they were around and if they were called that before the big 1950s “beat” thing), buy, in this case, “race records,” that they might have heard on that self-same radio, nice economics, scoured the South looking for talent and found plenty in the Delta (and on the white side of that same coin plenty in the Southern hill-billy mountains, and hills and hollows too).

But those black blues brothers were not what drove the race label action back then since the rural poor had no money for radios or records for the most part and it was the black women singers who got the better play, although they if you look at individual cases suffered under the same Mister James Crow ethos that the black guys did. There they were though singing barrelhouse was what it was called mostly, stuff with plenty of double meanings about sex and about come hither availability and too about the code that all Southern blacks lived under. And the subjects. Well, the subjects reflected those of the black guys in reverse, two-timing guys, guys who would cut their women up as soon as look at them, down-hearted stuff when some Jimmy took off with his other best girl leaving her flat-footed, the sins of alcohol and drugs (listen to Victoria Spivey sometime on sister cocaine and any number of Smiths on gin), losing your man to you best friend, some sound advice too like Sippy Wallace’s don’t advertise your man, and some bad advice about cutting up your no good man and taking the big step-off that awaited you, it is all there to be listened to.   

And the queen, the self-anointed queen, no, better you stay with the flow of her moniker, the empress, of barrelhouse blues was Bessie Smith, who sold more records than anybody else if nothing else. But there is more since she left a treasure trove of songs, well over two hundred before her untimely early death in the mid-1930s (untimely in the Mister James Crow South after an car accident and they would not admit an empress for chrissakes into a nearby white hospital, yes, rage, rage against the nigh unto the nth generation-black lives matter).

Guys, sophisticated guys, city guys, black guys mainly, guys like Fletcher Henderson, Tin Pan Alley kind of guys in places like high holy Harlem and Memphis, Saint Louis would write stuff for her, big fat sexy high white note sax and chilly dog trombone players would back her up and that was that. Sure Memphis Minnie could wag the dog’s tail with her lyrics about every kind of working guy taking care of her need (and you know she needed a little sugar in her bowl just like Bessie and a million, million other women, and a quick listen to any of a dozen such songs will tell you what that need was or you can figure it out and if you can’t you had better move on, the various other Smiths could talk about down-hearted stuff, about the devil’s music get the best of them, Sippy Wallace could talk about no good men, Ivy Stone could speak about being turned out in the streets to “work” the streets when some guy left town, address unknown, and Victoria Spivey could speak to the addictions that brought a good girl down but Bessie could run it all. From down-hearted blues, killing her sorrows with that flask of gin, working down to bed-bug flop houses, thoughts of killing that no good bastard who left her high and dry, seeing a good Hustlin’ Dan man off to the great yonder after losing that bout with TB coughing, blowing high and heavy in the thick of the Jazz Age with the prince of wails, looking for a little sugar in her bowl, and every conceivable way to speak of personal sorrows.

Let me leave it like this for now with two big ideas. First if you have a chance go on YouTube and listen and watch while she struts her stuff on Saint Louis Woman all pain, pathos and indignity as he good man throws her over for, well, the next best thing. That will tell you why in her day she was the Empress. The other is this-if you have deep down sorrows, some man or woman left you high and dry, maybe you need a fixer man for what ails you, you have deep-dyed blues that won’t quite unless you have your medicine then you have to dust off your Billie Holiday records and get well. But if the world just has you by the tail for a moment, or things just went awry but maybe you can see the like of day then grab the old Bessie Vanguard Record or later Columbia Record multiple albums (four double record sets from beginning to end) and just start playing you won’t want to turn the thing off once Bessie gets under your skin. That’s what I did more than once when I was down on my luck living in flea-bitten rooming house in a cold-water flat with me and my bed, bureau, desk and chair and a battered old RCA record player and just let it wail, let the fellow stew-ball tenants usually behind on their rents anyway howl against the night. Bessie was on the square.                

NEW WARS / OLD WARS – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

NEW WARS / OLD WARS – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


Safe Zone or No-Fly Zone. . . “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”  (nostalgic VIDEO here!) the hawks, neocons and liberal interventionist have changed their tune, as if on cue.  The call for a “Safe Zone” in Syria – no doubt properly vetted with focus groups – has now replaced the scarier-sounding “No-Fly Zone,” which has resonances of the Libya catastrophe.  It means the same thing, though: a slippery slope of further illegal intervention into the Syrian civil war and ongoing new Middle East quagmire. Thankfully, the presence of Russian airpower in Syria probably makes this plan unworkable – although some of the more vehement neo-Cold Warriors and Republican Presidential candidates are gushing enthusiastically over the prospect of shooting down some Russian planes.  Let the good times roll, Dr. Strangelove!


Everybody is against sending US ground troops to Syria, right? That’s what Hillary Clinton told Bernie Sanders in the first Democratic presidential debate. But her statement was deceptive, because she has joined calls for the US to establish so-called “safe zones” in Syria. The commander of Centcom has testified to the Senate that “safe zones” means “ground troops.”

Urge Congress and the Administration to oppose the use of US ground troops in Syria, including to establish so-called “safe zones,” by signing our petition



By May of that year, thousands of Free Syrian Army militants had reportedly defected to al-Nusra. The utility of a powerful and energetic paramilitary group fighting Assad—the enemy of my enemy is my friend—proved too alluring. As Syria expert Charles Lister wrote earlier this year, “In fact, while rarely acknowledged explicitly in public, the vast majority of the Syrian insurgency has coordinated closely with Al Qaeda since mid-2012—and to great effect on the battlefield.”  The notion that America could have propped up the Free Syrian Army, hermetically sealed it off from al-Nusra, plugged up Syria’s 1,408 miles of land border, talked down the Gulf states, deployed enough secular rebels to overthrow Bashar al-Assad and done it all without bolstering thuggish Sunni jihadists is far more fantastical than anything Tolkien ever came up with.   More


U.S. Weaponry Is Turning Syria Into Proxy War With Russia

The American-made TOW antitank missiles began arriving in the region in 2013, through a covert program run by the United States, Saudi Arabia and other allies to help certain C.I.A.-vetted insurgent groups battle the Syrian government.  The weapons are delivered to the field by American allies, but the United States approves their destination. That suggests that the newly steady battlefield supply has at least tacit American approval, now that Russian air power is backing President Bashar al-Assad.  “We get what we ask for in a very short time,” one commander, Ahmad al-Saud, said in an interview. He added that in just two days his group, Division 13, had destroyed seven armored vehicles and tanks with seven TOWs: “Seven out of seven.”  … Rebel commanders scoffed when asked about reports of the delivery of 500 TOWs from Saudi Arabia, saying it was an insignificant number compared with what is available. Saudi Arabia in 2013 ordered more than 13,000 of them. Given that American weapons contracts require disclosure of the “end user,” insurgents said they were being delivered with Washington’s approval.    More State uses US-made anti-tank missiles in Hasakah offensive

This is not the first time the jihadist group has used the US system. Earlier this month, the Islamic State publicized the use of the missiles during the capture of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. Last December, the jihadist group also published photos showing its forces using TOW missiles against Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces in the Damascus countryside. The United States has supplied several FSA groups with TOW missiles, which have sometimes fallen into the hands of jihadist groups or have been used to assist jihadist groups. The TOWs used in Palmyra and Hasakah were likely captured from battles with the FSA in other parts of Syria.  At least one TOW missile was used by the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, in that group’s offensive on Wadi al Daif in the northwestern province of Idlib. The al Qaeda branch also publicized the usage of TOWs during its capture of Idlib city.  More


War on Islamic State: A New Cold War fiction

The first Russian airstrikes hit the rebel-held town of Talbisah north of Homs City, home to al-Qaeda’s official Syrian arm, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the pro-al-Qaeda Ahrar al-Sham, among other local rebel groups. Both al-Nusra and the Islamic State have claimed responsibility for vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIEDs) in Homs City, which is 12 kilometers south of Talbisah.  The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that as part of “US and Turkish efforts to establish an ISIS ‘free zone’ in the northern Aleppo countryside,” al-Nusra “withdrew from the border and reportedly reinforced positions in this rebel-held pocket north of Homs city”.  In other words, the US and Turkey are actively sponsoring “moderate” Syrian rebels in the form of al-Qaeda, which Washington DC-based risk analysis firm Valen Globals forecasts will be “a bigger threat to global security” than IS in coming years… And they rose to power in Syria not in spite, but because of the US rubber-stamping the jihadist funnel through the so-called “vetting” process. This summer, for instance, al-Qaeda led rebels received accelerated weapons shipments in a US-backed operation to retake Idlib province from Assad.   More



As much as many Americans and Europeans may abhor what President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia did in Crimea and Ukraine, Moscow’s intervention in Syria may offer the first glimmer of hope for ending the quagmire there. Mr. Putin is right that only stable governance and security will allow Syrian refugees to return home.  Rather than pursue decisive victory, America must seek to end this war with a less dramatic, less satisfying settlement.  The United States should have two goals in Syria. First, bring order to those parts of the country that the Islamic State does not control. Second, strive to build a coalition of forces that can contain the Islamic State and eventually replace it. Russia’s “intrusion” could offer a chance to achieve both… With proper safeguards and caution, a broader regional coalition could be a powerful tool against the Islamic State. American officials should acknowledge these realities and use the assets still available to them to advance their humanitarian and anti-extremist goals.     More


The Drone Papers:


Drones are a tool, not a policy. The policy is assassination. While every president since Gerald Ford has upheld an executive order banning assassinations by U.S. personnel, Congress has avoided legislating the issue or even defining the word “assassination.” This has allowed proponents of the drone wars to rebrand assassinations with more palatable characterizations, such as the term du jour, “targeted killings.”… The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret slides that provides a window into the inner workings of the U.S. military’s kill/capture operations at a key time in the evolution of the drone wars — between 2011 and 2013. The documents, which also outline the internal views of special operations forces on the shortcomings and flaws of the drone program, were provided by a source within the intelligence community who worked on the types of operations and programs described in the slides.   More

Still Living with Christopher Columbus

Still Living with Christopher Columbus

DPP’s October meeting is a week later than usual because of the Monday Columbus Day holiday this week -- which prompts attention to these perspectives: Day Is the Most Important Day of Every Year

Columbus’ landfall in the Western Hemisphere was the opening of Europe’s conquest of essentially all of this planet. By 1914, 422 years later, European powers and the U.S. controlled 85 percent of the world’s land mass.  White people didn’t accomplish this by asking politely…  Formally, of course, European colonialism largely ended in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Yet informally, it has — behind the mask of what Pope Francis recently called “new forms of colonialism” — continued with surprising success. Thus European colonialism is the central fact of politics on earth. And precisely because of that, it is almost never part of any American discussion of politics. Anthropologists call this phenomenon “social silence” — meaning that in most human societies, the subjects that are core to how the societies function are exactly the ones that are never mentioned.    More


Five myths about Christopher Columbus

An early American archetype, Columbus has long served as a model entrepreneur. Columbus Day blog posts and articles have included “3 Business Lessons Learned from Christopher Columbus” and “5 Lessons in Leadership Effectiveness from Christopher Columbus.” These inspirational essays boil down to memorable bullet points such as: “Find an opportunity where the wind is at your back.” One asks, “Do you have a Columbus in your company?” … Columbus was clearly no friend of native peoples, but a document discovered 10 years ago in Simancas, Spain, suggests he was an equal-opportunity tyrant. Witnesses testified that his brief government of Hispaniola was marked by routine cruelty not only to the native Taínos but also to Spaniards who defied or mocked him. A woman who reminded Columbus that he was the son of a weaver had her tongue cut out. Others were executed for minor crimes.   More


The US Way of War: From Columbus to Kunduz

Popular Resistance has reported on the the legacy of Columbus. Howard Zinn describes the true history of Columbus and the Indigenous people of North America. There is a great need for the Columbus myth to be revised with realities. When the truth is understood, it is evident the US is celebrating a brutal war criminal and that it is time to abolish Columbus Day…   The Kunduz bombing and recent US wars are all consistent with the “US Way of War” which includes terrorizing communities, killing civilians of all ages, denying them healthcare and even food. We see the latter two in tactics like economic sanctions that increase poverty or make prescription drugs unavailable. These tactics go back to the founders…  How do we get out of these depraved quagmires of our own self-creation? Nader gives an answer – a change in approach to the world, an end to war culture and a move toward a humanitarian culture…  Let’s stop repeating the mistakes [crimes] that have been with us since Columbus. Let’s end the American culture of war.   More


As Cities Give Columbus the Boot, Indigenous Peoples Day Spreads Across US

While the annual celebration of Christopher Columbus has fueled years of outrage, satire, and resistance, this year an alternative holiday recognizing the original inhabitants of the United States appears to have reached the mainstream.  In the past two months alone, eight major municipalities—including Albuquerque, New Mexico; Portland, Oregon; St. Paul, Minnesota; Bexar County, Texas; Anadarko, Oklahoma; Alpena, Michigan; Lawrence, Kansas; Carrboro, North Carolina; and Olympia, Washington—have opted to pay homage to the history and culture of the country's true native people by celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October. This wave follows recent moves in Seattle and Minneapolis, among others More

The Golden Rule Returns to Humboldt Bay

October 15, 2015
The Golden Ruleis coming home to Humboldt Bay! The historic sailing vessel is completing her first voyage since being restored by Veterans For Peace and many friends.  The Golden Ruleis expected to arrive into Humboldt Bay at approximately 11 am Friday, October 16.  She will be docking at the Eureka Public Marina.  Arriving on the Golden Ruleare Captain Ed Fracker of King Salmon and crew members Michael Gonzalez of Trinidad, David San Giovanni of Eureka, and Helen Jaccard of Seattle.
The Golden Rule departed from Eureka on July 23rd and sailed to San Diego in time for the Veterans For Peace national convention. Since leaving San Diego, theGolden Rule has been “port-hopping” up the coast, making stops in Long Beach, Marina del Rey / Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay / San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Berkeley, Sausalito and Noyo Bay / Fort Bragg.  At each stop, the crew was interviewed by local media, feted at public events and potluck dinners, and raised funds to continue the mission of the Golden Rule –Sailing for a Nuclear-Free World.
“This was a very successful voyage,” said crew member Helen Jaccard. “Everywhere we went, people were happy and excited to see the Golden Rule.  We made many new friends.”
In 1958, the Golden Ruleand her intrepid crew of Quaker peace activists brought worldwide attention to U.S. nuclear bomb testing in the South Pacific. Their highly publicized attempt to sail into the nuclear test zone in the Marshall Islands was stopped cold by the U.S. Coast Guard in Honolulu, but they spurred a worldwide movement.  In 1959 President Eisenhower stopped the testing and in 1963 President Kennedy signed the Partial Test Ban Treaty with the UK and the USSR.
Five years ago, after the famous 30-foot ketch was pulled from the bottom of Humboldt Bay, members of Veterans For Peace launched a campaign to restore the Golden Rule.  Scores of volunteers and hundreds of donors made it possible.  The Golden Rule is once again sailing for a nuclear free world.

              To find more about the Golden Rule peace boat, go to

Veterans For Peace Calls On U.S. Public to Say No to More War

President Obama’s decision to prolong the U.S. led war in Afghanistan only ensures U.S. responsibility for more death and destruction. Veterans For Peace condemns the decision and calls on the U.S. public to say no to more war.

Today, President Obama commented, “I do not support the idea of endless war, and I have repeatedly argued against marching into open-ended military conflicts that do not serve our core security interests.” But Veterans For Peace asks, what is this policy but endless war? The U.S. has been fighting in Afghanistan for over fourteen years. What can fewer than 10,000 service members do that more than 100,000 could not? Al-Qaeda is a non-factor in Afghanistan and the Taliban are Afghans. U.S. presence in Afghanistan ensures more Afghan deaths and delay in reduction of violence so that civil society can be rebuilt and peace and justice can begin to take hold. War, Mr. President, has not worked. If you don’t believe in endless wars and you want to be a true Nobel Peace laureate to be looked up to and admired for working for peace in the face of pressure to continue down the road of war, Bring Our Troops Home and put all of the weight and power of the U.S. behind building peace.
In his remarks, the president referred to the Taliban and the people of Afghanistan as if they are two different groups. The truth is that the Taliban represent a portion of the Afghan people. The Taliban are Pashtun tribesmen. Pashtuns are also the majority in Afghanistan. This makes it very difficult to combat the Taliban as they have many sympathizers and supporters who may not actively fight the U.S. backed government, but will not support it.

It is clear that U.S. led efforts in Afghanistan have given more people reason to join the Taliban. A Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2009 question and answer piece explained, people… “join because the Afghan government is unjust, corrupt, or simply not there. They also join because the Americans have bombed their houses or shown disrespect for their values. For young people, joining the Taliban is a way to earn social status.”
That was written six years past, and little has changed. Just two weeks ago on October 3, 2015 the U.S. bombed a Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz Afghanistan killing twelve medical staff, ten patients and wounding thirty-two others.  This type of incident is not uncommon. Amnesty International’s 2014/15 Annual Afghanistan Report says, “ISAF and NATO forces continued to launch night raids and aerial and ground attacks, claiming dozens of civilian lives, despite completing the handover of responsibility for security to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in June 2013.”
The report goes on to say. “There were significant failures of accountability for civilian deaths, including a lack of transparent investigations and a lack of justice for the victims and their families.” An October 14th New York Times article reports that, “Mr. Ghani is not popular among Afghans. And the problems in his government — like corruption and incompetence — run so deep that fixing them will take years, possibly decades.” Trust of the Afghan government has not increased among the people it claims to represent.
It is true that anti-government forces are responsible for the vast majority of civilian deaths. However, continuing the war does not increase the possibility for reduction of violence to save lives. This makes coalition forces and the opposition complicit in every death.  There is little chance of defeating the Taliban because they will not stop fighting until the foreign invaders are gone and there are not enough Afghans willing to possibly die in support of the U.S. backed national government.
There is not a perfect solution to the tragedy of Afghanistan. War has been the norm for the people of Afghanistan for nearly 37 years. The answer to ending the violence there is political, not military. The U.S. must withdraw and give the nation of Afghanistan back to the people of Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan must form their own union. One we may not like, but is theirs. The international community must pressure the Afghan government, Taliban dominated or not, to follow international law and respect human rights. A real diplomatic effort must be brought to bear to end the violence so that the people of Afghanistan can rebuild civil society and create space for human rights activists to struggle for a just society.
Concerns about the threat of ISIL in Afghanistan must be met with more effective efforts to end the violence and wars in Iraq and Syria. U.S. global policy of endless war is merging into a global response of violence. We need a global response that meets human needs and aspirations. War is not the foundation on which to build peace. U.S. efforts have proven that war is the breeding ground for more violence and hatred. We demand a peace plan, Mr. President. We are not war weary, we simply know it does not work.
Finally, there are U.S. service members and families upon whose shoulders this failed and derived policy of endless war will continue to fall. U.S. military personnel have sacrificed enough in blood on the battlefield; wounded and killed.  They are burdened with executing a no win strategy. When they come home they face unemployment, homelessness, recovery from physical and mental wounds and high rates of death by suicide. The Department of Veterans Affairs is already overwhelmed, unable to meet the needs of our brother and sister veterans. This policy ensures more of the same on the home front as well. Mr. President, it is clearly time to end this and all U.S. wars. Bring Them Home and Take Care of Them When They Get Here.

Veterans For Peace Weekly E-Letter


Friday, October 16, 2015

VFP Calls On U.S. Public to Say No to More War

President Obama’s decision to prolong the U.S. led war in Afghanistan only ensures U.S. responsibility for more death and destruction. Veterans For Peace condemns the decision and calls on the U.S. public to say no to more war.
It is clear that U.S. led efforts in Afghanistan have given more people reason to join the Taliban. A Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2009 question and answer piece explained, people… “join because the Afghan government is unjust, corrupt, or simply not there. They also join because the Americans have bombed their houses or shown disrespect for their values. For young people, joining the Taliban is a way to earn social status.”  <VFP Full Statement>
Click here to sign the Petition created by Doctors Without Borders telling President Obama to to consent to independent investigation of Kunduz hospital bombing.
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Afghanistan and Iraq: Lessons for the Imperial

Submitted by VFP Advisory Board member Ralph Nader
The photographs in The New York Times told contrasting stories last week. One showed two Taliban soldiers in civilian clothes and sandals, with their rifles, standing in front of a captured U.N. vehicle. The Taliban forces had taken the northern provincial capital of Kunduz. The other photograph showed Afghan army soldiers fully equipped with modern gear, weapons, and vehicles.

Guess who is winning? An estimated 30,000 Taliban soldiers with no air force, navy, or heavy weapons have been holding down 10 times more Afghan army and police and over 100,000 U.S. soldiers with the world's most modern weaponry -- for eight years. <Full Article>

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The Golden Rule Returns to Humboldt Bay

Golden Rule at Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Rule is coming home to Humboldt Bay!  The historic sailing vessel is completing her first voyage since being restored by Veterans For Peace and many friends.  The Golden Rule is expected to arrive into Humboldt Bay at approximately 11 am Friday, October 16.  She will be docking at the Eureka Public Marina.  Arriving on the Golden Rule are Captain Ed Fracker of King Salmon and crew members Michael Gonzalez of Trinidad, David SanGiovanni of Eureka, and Helen Jaccard of Seattle. <Press Release>
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Only a Few Days Left to Place Your PIOT Order!

Deadline to place NEW subscriptions and new bundle orders
Oct 19, 2015

Order your copy or bundle today!
Articles included in this edition:
  • Capt. Mena Sandoval: A Different Kind of Soldier – John Lamperti
  • Peace Movement Must Pivot Into Asia Pacific – Bruce Gagnon
  • The Asian Pivot, U.S. Militarism and Agent Orange – Tarak Kauff
  • Power of Conscience: U.S. Military and the Myth of Violence – Maria Santelli
  • PIOT Editor to Run for Mayor – Mike Ferner
  • Black Americans and the Military – William Anderson
  • Voyage of the Gold Rule Continues – Ellen Taylor
  • WWII Hero Condemns Nuclear Weapons – Pamela Alma Weymouth
  • The Other Feminism – Charlotte Maria Sãenz
  • Hedges, Swanson, Marjorie Cohn . . . and much more
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Back by Popular Demad - Proud Supporter Tshirt

Veterans For Peace has launched a series of proud supporter shirts, available in a variety of colors. All proceeds will go to Veterans For Peace.  
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Travel Opportunities for Activists

Please be advised that we take 15-20 people, and only 4 spaces remain. Our tours are led by VFP member and Cuban documentary film maker Jim Ryerson, who has been to the island more than 25 times.  If you are interested, please contact Jim. Like the other 2 trips, this one will sell out.

Here is the itinerary
(Click on Book Now to see prices)

Sponsored by
Contact for Additional Information
Palestine Code Pink Nov 1-8, 2015 Visit the Code Pink website
Cuba Code Pink Nov 20-29, 2015 Visit the Code Pink website
Venezuela SOAW Dec 2-10, 2015 For more information email Terri Mattson at
Cuba Jim Ryerson Jan 22-29 2016 For more information email Jim Ryerson at
Cuba Code Pink Feb 2016 Visit the Code Pink website
Việt Nam Việt Nam's  Hoa Binh (Peace) Chapter 160 Mar 14 -Mar 30
For more information, please email Nadya Williams
Cuba Code Pink May 2016 Visit the Code Pink website
Palestine Interfaith Peacebuilders May 21 -Jun 1 2016 For more information email
Palestine Interfaith Peacebuilders Jul 16 - Jul 29 2016 For more information email
Palestine Interfaith Peacebuilders Oct 24 - Nov 6 2016 For more information email

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In This Issue:

VFP Calls On U.S. Public to Say No to More War

Afghanistan and Iraq: Lessons for the Imperial by Ralph Nader

The Golden Rule Returns to Humboldt Bay

Only a Few Days Left to Place Your PIOT Order! - Deadline Oct 19, 2015!

Back by Popular Demad - Proud Supporter Tshirt

Travel Opportunities for Activists

Holiday Items in VFP Store

2015 Convention Videos Available

Save the Dates: Nov 20-22 - SOA Watch Vigil

Protest Killer Drones: Speaking Event @ Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC

VFP Member/Chapter Highlights

Upcoming VFP Endorsed Actions/Events

Holiday Items Now in VFP Store

Holiday Cards
A set of 10 vertical holiday cards, 5 x 7 inches (11 envelopes).  Message inside:  Blessed Holiday Season. - $15

A set of 10 horizontal holiday cards, 5 x 7 inches (11 envelopes).  Message inside: ...this season and throughout the New Year! - $15

Gift cards for store also available. 
Coming soon - 2016 Syracuse Cultural Workers calendar.  $14.95
To order, click the image to be redirected to the VFP Store.
Kunduz Hospital Banner

2015 Convention Videos Available

Plenaries and workshops from the VFP 2015 National Convention are available online. More will be available online in the upcoming weeks

Save the Dates: Nov 20-22 - SOA Watch Vigil

Join us as we continue to denounce the failed U.S. policies, which have left a brutal legacy of impunity and Human Rights violations throughout the hemisphere.
If you haven't already done so, start making your travel arrangements to Georgia! Please contact Casey at or 314-725-6005 if you plan to attend the SOAW gathering this year. 
Hourly Shuttle Info from Atlanta to Columbus

Protest Killer Drones: Speaking Event @ Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC

On October 27, the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC is sponsoring an event called “Predator: Transforming Modern Warfare with Drones” with speaker James G. “Snake” Clark. The event advertisement reads: “James G. “Snake” Clark carefully engineered this political and military feat in the Pentagon and over the skies of the Middle East at the initial direction of Air Force General Ronald Fogelman.” Peace activists will gather outside the museum from 7:00-8:30pm to call for an end to drone warfare. Please attend if you can!  Sign up here.

VFP Member/Chapter Highlights

VFP member, John Snively, from Western Montana Chapter 133 answers the question, 'Did your military service make you an activist?' in an article entitled, Vietnam Veterans' Voices: John Snively was air intelligence officer on Kitty Hawk  <Read article courtesy of Ravalli>
Members from VFP Minnesota Chapter 27 recently passed a resolution insisiting on Israel's withdrawal from Golan Heights. <Read text of chapter's resolution>
VFP At-Large member, Dr. Terrence Webster-Doyle addresses the issue of bullying everywhere – at home, at school, in offices, among nations.  <Article>
VFP lifetime member, Ann Wright will speak at the Women Cross DMZ Panel in New York City, NY on Oct 29th @ noon.  <More Information>

Upcoming VFP Endorsed Actions/Events

Oct 9-24 - Maine Walk For Peace
Nov 20-22, 2015 - SOA Watch 25th Anniversary Vigil

Did you know?

In 2002, publicity generated  by  a  New York Times  ad,  and another  appearing  in  The Los Angeles Times after the bombing of Afghanistan stimulated membership growth. By year’s end, VFP had grown from approximately 500 paid members to nearly 2000.

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