Archive for the ‘Radio Programs’ Category

VETERANS SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN

Sunday, March 29th, 2009

No one knows better about the costs – physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual – of war.  Their words make great sense and I wanted to pass them on as Pres. Obama prepares for his first journey beyond our borders.  He will no doubt hear other voices raised for peace.  I keep wondering what it will take for our people to say no to war in recognition of what the veterans are saying in this statement, which ends with: “Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary.”

VETERANS FOR PEACE STATEMENT ON OBAMA’S AFGHANISTAN POLICY

NATIONWIDE – March 27 – Today President Obama announced what he termed, “a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

The President went on to say, “I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That’s the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: We will defeat you.”

The national organization Veterans For Peace takes issue with the President’s characterization of the conflict in Afghanistan and his policies. Vietnam War Navy Corpsman and National President of VFP, Mike Ferner, said, “The President has already escalated the war in Afghanistan by an additional 17,000 troops. Today’s announced escalation of 4,000 more troops is another step into the swamp. It doesn’t matter if those steps are big or small, we’re still going into the swamp and we need to turn around. At some point we will undoubtedly stop bombing and start talking. The sooner we do that the better.”

Ferner, who as a Corpsman attended hundreds of wounded troops, added, “Some of what the President said will help the situation, but it is all undercut by the basic belief that more force will provide security. U.S. use of force in the region has caused the deaths of thousands of civilians, greatly increasing opposition to U.S. presence and undermining confidence in the local government. Our military operations in Pakistan have aggravated an already unstable environment, and expanding them will only increase instability. Obama’s plan will ensure more of the same in both countries.”

VFP Executive Director Michael T. McPhearson stated, “President Obama expressed concerns for the women and girls in Afghanistan. VFP shares those same concerns for the women serving in our Armed Forces who are more likely to be sexually assaulted than their civilian counter-parts. What I do not hear in this discussion is the fact that those who suffer the most in war are women and children. War does not protect the vulnerable, it throws social mores out the window and women are seen as spoils. VFP urges the President to rethink his plan of escalation and put the full force of U.S. efforts in diplomacy, economic assistance and humanitarian aid.”

In their August, 2008 Annual Convention VFP passed a resolution calling for: “the government of the United States to immediately withdraw all military and intelligence forces from Afghanistan and Pakistan; to provide humanitarian aid directly to the people of Afghanistan, in non-coercive forms, to help the Afghan people rebuild their own nation and their lives in cooperation with other nations in the region; and to allow the people of Afghanistan to freely determine their own government without interference by the US.”

The resolution also renounced the claim that the war in Afghanistan is somehow the “right” war and reaffirmed their position that war must be abolished.

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Veterans For Peace is a national organization founded in 1985. It is structured around a national office in Saint Louis, MO and comprised of members across the country organized in chapters or as at-large members. The organization includes men and women veterans of all eras and duty stations including from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and current Iraq wars as well as other conflicts. Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary.

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Yet Another Wake-Up Call – Iraqi Soldiers are Taking their Own Lives – Our Help is Needed

The article below tells a tragic tale and one that needs to be broadcast.  The war our governmet has waged for 6 years has taken and continues to take an extrardinary toll on the service men and women who have been its victims.  It is essential that the Obama administration begin to make restitution for the unforgivable actions of the Bush regime and IAVA has a plan to change policy and fund the Veteran’s Administration so it can addres the needs of those whose lives are in danger.  Denial, politics as usual and a horde of distractions cannot be allowed to derail these efforts.  The article tells the story…

More Soldiers lost to Suicide than to Al Qaeda in January: Iraq Veterans Storm the Hill

Posted by Paul Rieckhoff on February 10

Last month, suicide took the lives of more American soldiers than Al Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgency combined.
The article below tells a tragic tale and one that needs to be broadcast.  The war our government has waged for 6 years has taken and continues to take an extraordinary toll on the service men and women who have been its victims and perpetrators.  It is essential that the Obama administration begin to make restitution for the unforgivable actions of the Bush regime and IAVA has a plan to change policy and fund the Veteran’s Administration so it can address the needs of those whose lives are in danger.  Denial, politics as usual and a horde of distractions cannot be allowed to derail these efforts.  The article tells the story…

According to preliminary numbers, as many as 24 soldiers killed themselves in January. That’s almost five times as many suicides as the same month last year. News of this shocking spike in suicides comes as no surprise to anyone who has been following this issue. 2008 marked the highest rate of military suicide in decades, and suicide rates have been rising every year since the start of the Iraq war.

It’s clear that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a tremendous toll on our troops, our veterans and their families. And suicide isn’t the only challenge we’re facing. Seven years of war have taken their toll on our military families, especially military marriages. Divorce rates among female servicemembers are especially alarming. Unemployment rates are up in general, but new veterans are being hit especially hard. Among Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans of the active-duty military, the unemployment rate was over eight percent in 2007, about 2 percent higher than their civilian peers. And already, at least 2,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have shown up in one of our nation’s homeless shelters.

It is time for bold and immediate action.

That’s why I’m leading a delegation of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans from across the country to Washington, DC this week to educate our nation’s leaders on the most pressing issues facing today’s troops and veterans. We hit the ground running with a congressional briefing in the Capitol, and we’ll be meeting with over 100 legislators’ offices throughout the week.

Each day, we’ll be reporting live from DC, so follow us at www.StormtheHill.org.

We’ll be hitting all the top points in our Legislative Agenda, including better screening for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, a stronger veterans’ component in the stimulus package, and correct implementation of the historic new GI Bill. And we’re also making sure that the stimulus package includes a robust veterans component. But the top issue we’re tackling is the need for advance funding for veterans’ hospitals.

What does advance funding mean? Year after year, the VA budget is passed late, forcing the largest health care provider in the nation to ration care. Hospitals cannot plan for needed repairs, or be sure when they’ll have the funding to hire new employees. It’s a real problem for veterans across the country of all generations, who have to rely on aging and understaffed hospitals. One veteran on my team today told a staffer that she has to wait an hour at her local VA just to park her car. Without advance funding, this is what can happen. It is like trying to plan for your family’s budget without knowing how much your next paycheck will be for. Funding the VA health care budget one year in advance would put an end to the broken VA funding system, and it wouldn’t cost a dime. If advanced funding is good enough for Big Bird and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, it should be good enough for veterans.

Sounds like a no brainer, right? I’d agree with you anywhere but on Capitol Hill, where common sense solutions go to die. But I’m optimistic. We’ve got the support of all the major veterans’ service organizations, and a lot of support in Congress. We’re going to make sure this easy, crucial fix moves this year.

We’re bringing the largest IAVA delegation to Capitol Hill in our organization’s history, and the week promises to be exciting. Don’t miss out on the action. Our delegation is counting on your support.

VETSTAGE – A PLACE FOR VETS TO PERFORM AND HEAL – ON NPR

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

While driving to visit my son, Caleb, in Lawrence yesterday morning I was fortunate to be listening to NPR’s “Weekend Edition” when a story was aired about an Iraq War veteran, Sean Huze, who had enlisted in the Marines on 9/12/01, served in Iraq and came back traumatized and needing a way to heal.  He wrote an extraordinary sounding one man show that allowed him to begin the healing process by expressing the horrors he had witnessed and participated in, but he also received death threats on the phone from those who do not want to know what is happening in Iraq.  He proceeded to create a theater company, VETSTAGE, with the assistance of the co-writer of the film, “Crash”, Robert Moresco and then to write a second play, entitled “Wolf”, which opened in the theater space they managed to secure.  Without revealing more of the quite remarkable saga, I am recommending that you go the website for NPR and, if you so choose, that you listen to the interview with Mr. Huze.  The company is composed of veterans, men and women, from the last several wars, including Vietnam vets, though they are primarily Afghanistan and Iraq War vets who are using the experience of acting to face their demons, much like the men who were depicted in “No Unwounded Soldiers” used drama therapy to heal.  The website is http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17044212