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Support our Troops, not the War (Apr. 26, 2008)

We were able to lead about 15 people into the Salute Our NC Troops parade on April 26. We requested the organizer to be allowed to march in the parade, but he did not respond one way or the other. So we entered the parade at the front and were promptly told by the police to leave the street or be arrested. Patrick O'Neill, who had just joined Veterans for Peace, remained in the street and was removed by the police but no charges were brought. Daniel Lee Foster, not a Vet for Peace, was taken away in handcuffs because he lay down in front of an armored vehicle. We gave contributions for his bail.

The lesson we learned from this is we need to protect those who wish to protest war, even if they are not members of VFP. The fact that we are veterans tends to de-escalate hostility. I think if Patrick O'Neill had been wearing a VFP tee-shirt, someone would not have ripped up his sign which said, "Jesus said, 'Love your enemies'". To view a video of the Jesus sign being torn up.

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The Humility of Peace by Wally Myers (Apr. 27, 2008)

I am a member of Veterans for Peace and I did stand up for peace during the Salute Our Troops parade.  David Ranii’s article “Military Majesty …” was an accurate snap shot of the overall event.  But I have a different interpretation and a closer perspective of the events.  The title Military Majesty I consider Glorification of War, with heroes, spotlessly clean and disciplined troops, and the powerful weapons of war.  I too felt that pride in our military; but if we are ever to disenchant ourselves of this war mentality, then we need to step back and ask “To what purpose are these feelings directed?”  Is this glorification of war also an attack on peace?

On closer perspective, we see the attack on peace occurs by stealth and acquiescence.  Two veterans’ organizations apply to be in the parade, the pro-war Rolling Thunder, with their motorcycles, is allowed but Veterans for Peace is officially ignored.  When the Veterans for Peace march in the parade anyway, they are commanded by the police to leave the street.  The attack on peace proceeds by marginalizing the peacemakers. 

War heroes are on parade and cheered and saluted; but when a peacemaker lies down in front of an oncoming armored vehicle, he is arrested.  I remember such bravery when one lone hero stopped the tanks in Tiananmen Square, China.  The attack on peace continues with arresting its heroes.

While standing on the side of the road, the guy next to me decided to stand in front of our Veterans for Peace banner.  The silencing of peace is engaged with patriotic fervor.  When one of our members holds up a sign that says, “Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies’”, an American flag sign is used to block it.  His sign is then pulled from his hands, ripped up and thrown on the ground.  The philosophy of the Prince of Peace is destroyed.

I don’t believe that any of these actions represents what is best about our country.  But it does point out that we must look at the mentality of war glory that justifies a silent war on peace disguised as patriotism.

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Patriotism Betrayed by Ken Knight (Apr 27, 2008)

I am a veteran of the US Army and a member of Veterans for Peace who was present for the Salute to Our Troops parade in downtown Raleigh on April 26.
I was there to support our troops in a way that some people were offended by.  I stood by the street with a friend of mine and held up a Veterans for Peace banner.  I was asked by a gentleman near me why I was not supporting the troops.  I answered that I had been a troop myself and I was lucky to come home unharmed by war.  I support and love our troops, but I feel sorry for them.  They have been swindled into putting their lives on the line for a pack of lies.  The politicians who, like sheep, supported this war without asking questions betrayed our troops.  Politicians who continue to keep our troops in harms way and to lie to them about why they are really there are the ones I do not support, not the troops themselves.
The best way to support these brave men and women is to tell them the truth and bring them home safe and sound.

War is terrorism on an unlimited budget.

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The Mirage of Military Might by Andy Silver (May 4, 2008)

Our group of protesters at the Salute to Our Troops parade in Raleigh
supported the troops in the most meaningful way.  My sign said ‘Support Our Troops. Bring Them Home Now!’    Several of us are veterans. A letter was published Tuesday from the mother of two brothers, a protester and a marine.  My son served in the navy, and I served decades ago in the Israeli military.

We were not against the troops.  We were against sending them to die or be maimed in a war based on lies.  Far from defending freedom, the war on terror has meant abrogating constitutional freedoms at home, causing our country to be reviled around the world, and bringing a multitude of new recruits to Al Qaida.  The perpetrators of 9/11 could hardly have hoped for a response better designed to undermine American power and, indeed, our way of life.

Our group distributed a leaflet, ‘Why We Are Here, Why We Mourn,’ in which we advocated, instead of saluting the mirage of military might, ‘a parade of those in wheel chairs and on crutches followed by a demand that a sad but grateful nation provide the ongoing care that these young people will need.’

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Why We are Here, Why We Mourn by Cy King (Apr 08)

Most of us, some of us veterans of past wars, were on Capitol Square to join millions around the world to protest the invasion of Iraq.  Unfortunately we did invade Iraq and our nation is mired in a misguided, unnecessary and unjust war.  Thousands of young men and women in our military have died and suffered terrible physical and mental injuries. We mourn for them and for our nation.

This parade today is more about showing off the weapons of war than the tragedy of war.  A more fitting tribute would be to have a parade of those in wheel chairs and on crutches followed be a demand that a sad but grateful nation provide the ongoing care that these young people will need.

This is why we are here.  That is why we Mourn.

 

The Unfortunate Truth

"The unfortunate truth is that we are conditioned to regard warfare as something exciting and even glamorous: the soldiers in smart uniforms (so attractive to children) with their military bands playing alongside them.  We see murder as dreadful, but there is no association of war with criminality.  On the contrary, it is seen as an opportunity for people to prove their competence and courage.  We speak of heroes it produces, almost as if the greater the number killed, the more heroic the individual.  And we talk about this or that weapon as a marvelous piece of technology, forgetting that when it is used it will actually maim and murder living people.  Your friends, my friend, our mothers, our fathers, our sisters and brothers, you and me."

The Dalai Lama