Friday, January 11, 2013

Veterans for Peace

Yesterday I renewed my membership in Veterans For Peace—VFP,


I am a proud veteran of our misguided actions in Vietnam. I was RA—Regular Army, not drafted. I feel rotten and guilty about what we did there—what I did there, for no good reason, but I am also proud I served; proud to put my life on the line for the ideals I thought we were fighting for. I went over in 1968, with doubts which were soon confirmed by the first Tet Offensive. When I left, fraggings were becoming common as were atrocities like souvenir ears and fingers. It was horrible, useless and apparently all for naught because we seem not to have learned from our mistakes. The same kind of thinking and attitudes are still alive and well today in the neocon agitation for attacking Iran and their opposition to Chuck Hagel.


In the pie charts the media sometimes uses when ‘explaining’ our fiscal tribulations, we see that the three largest segments are Social Security, Medicare and defense. Yet in all subsequent discussions, the so-called ‘news’ rarely talks about cutting ‘defense’ but only about cutting the life-sustaining programs.  We constantly hear about the bureaucracy and waste in Social Security and Medicare, but rarely about the gargantuan waste in the DOD.’


What kind of people are we that we let our children and elderly go without food and health care so we can have more tanks and aircraft carriers? How are we ‘defending’ our ideals and society if we gut the life-sustaining, safety net programs? Why are we so deeply afraid that we believe we must defend ourselves so vigorously? Where is the ‘threat’ coming from? We are told that warfare is now asymmetrical—that a few individuals armed with box cutters can take down the World Trade Center. If this is so, and I believe the facts show it is, then why do we need more tanks and aircraft carriers?


A few years ago, I recall reading that one of the DOD’s international threat assessments said that the greatest threat to American security were food and water shortages leading to price increases pushing people in poorer nations to rise up. Apparently, Lindsay Graham and John McCain (isn’t it sad, what’s happened to McCain?) haven’t read that document. Global climate change—another thing Graham and McCain don’t believe in, impacts food and water supplies.


Clearly it is not Social Security and Medicare that needs to be cut, but our so-called ‘defense’ which defends us against the wrong things. Yes, we need a DOD. Yes, there are people out to get us. But will more tanks and aircraft carriers protect us? Let’s stop talking about cutting Social Security and Medicare and start talking about making intelligent cuts in defense. Let’s also take advantage of the DOD threat assessment and shift some of the resources to dealing with global climate change and its impacts on food and water.

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