for Peace in Tulare County
do you think of when you think of veterans? Patriotic soldiers who
have selflessly defended our shores from invading enemies? Tools
of business interests keeping US interests safe? Crusaders bringing
Capitalism, Christianity, and Democracy to the world? Brutal invaders?
Heroes or victims?
a veteran's answer to the above question is going to vary. Draftees
may differ from enlistees. Enlistees who join up for college money
might not answer the same as enlistees who just want to "kill
the bad guys." Soldiers who came back whole may not have the
same perspective as those who were maimed. Veterans who have studied
history may have a different view than those who have not. The vets
who compose the majority of the homeless on our streets are most
certainly going to have interesting views, not necessarily what
you are used to hearing in 4th of July speaches.
abound. Some believe that war is inevitable, necessary and a reasonable
way to make America safe. Others think it should be just for defense.
Many are in the middle, just trying to make sure that returning
vets get not only recognition for their sacrifices, but access to
disabilities and medical services.
Legion, is one of the oldest and largest. The Veterans of Foreign
Wars is also prominent, as is the AMVETS, the Disabled American
Veterans, The Marine Corps League, etc. Less well-known are the
groups like the Vietnam Veterans Against War, Iraq Veterans Against
the War, and the Veterans for Peace are not featured in the annual
pro-war parades on the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, or Veteran's
Day. There is no "Peace Day" parade, so many Americans
are not even aware that there are anti-war veterans.
As a veteran,
and as the father of a veteran, I certainly support veterans! I
think many of them are paying a price that those who sent them off
to fight are not. None of the top folks in Washington that I know
of are suffering from the effects of Agent Orange from the Vietnam
War, or depleted uranium radiation sickness from the Gulf Wars.
Not many of them are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD, called "shell shock" back in the World War One
days). It deeply grieves me to know that as many soldiers committed
suicide after the Vietnam War as were killed in battle. It bothers
me that the Bush administration is proposing cutting Veterans' access
to health benefits, including the closing of 30 veterans hospitals.
I have personally
come to oppose war on many grounds, from the inhumanity of killing
people, who have never done anything to us, in their own back yards,
to the incredible monetary waste which is sacrificing our own children's
futures. In my opinion, wars do not make the world a safer place.
World War I was not, as advertised, "the war to end all wars":
it laid the groundwork for World War II. World War II was just the
gateway to the "Cold War" hot conflicts in Korea and Vietnam
and an arms race that led the USSR to collapse and the US to the
poor house. The current conflict has been fraudulent from the start.
Our attack upon and occupation of a country which had nothing to
do with terrorism or 9-11 only helped make the work of Al Quaeda
A local chapter
of Veterans for Peace is presently forming within the South
Valley Peace Center. The following statement of purpose is from
this group (www.veteransforpeace.org):
dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility
to serve the cause of world peace. To this end, we will work, with
a) Toward increasing
public awareness of the costs of war. b) To restrain our government
from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs
of other nations. c) To end the arms race and to reduce and to eventually
eliminate nuclear weapons. d) To seek justice for veterans and victims
of war. e) To abolish war as an instrument of national policy.
You might want
to look at some of the activities they are involved in on their
website which range all the way from sending election observers
into Central America to actively participating in the fight to save
VA healthcare, defend veterans' rights, and protect our civil liberties
under the Constitution.
I believe veterans
should be in the forefront of the struggle not only to assist veterans
and their families, but to oppose the very wars that are undermining
us morally and financially. If you can support the goals of the
VFP, you might like to contact us about becoming a member of the
Tulare County chapter.
Visit us at