Keeping in Touch—23 August 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters of Veterans For Peace,
The 2012 VFP convention is now history, and was a big success by all accounts. I think everyone was impressed by the quality of the speakers and workshops, and my biggest worry—the business meeting–was long, but very productive. The membership passed amendments to the bylaws, which will move the voting process for the remaining bylaws and all of the resolutions, out of the convention. This means that every eligible voter will receive a ballot in October that will allow them to vote for the board candidates, bylaws amendments and resolutions. I am particularly gratified that this passed; I believe that is a giant step in the right direction, is much more inclusive and democratic.
I have appointed a committee of three board members who are working to compile all the pertinent information about the bylaws amendment proposals and resolutions, which will be available on the VFP website soon. We will also be scheduling more live debates/discussions via our webinar service. Now that every eligible member will have the opportunity to vote, I expect that there will be a lot more participation in the debate and discussion.
There are a lot of things going on with VFP these days—and we are trying to make better use of VFP “Action Alerts” to keep the membership aware of all the different projects and issues that we are working on, and that we are encouraging all of you to get involved with as well. I hope you will check the VFP website frequently—we are trying hard to update it often.
Next week is the RNC in Tampa, and the DNC in Charlotte the week after that. Today VFP released this article as a press release: “Why Veterans For Peace Will be Protesting the RNC and DNC” http://www.opednews.com/articles/Why-Veterans-For-Peace-Wil-by-Leah-Bolger-120823-193.html
VFP is teaming up with Courage to Resist in calling for coordinated actions in support of Bradley Manning on September 6th at Obama campaign HQ offices around the country. You can contact Gerry Condon at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know what you or your chapter is planning. http://www.veteransforpeace.org/files/5513/4548/9247/free_bradley_manning_rally_sep62012.pdf
The Veterans Peace Teams/Action Team are working on plans for a VFP-led action in New York City on October 7th—the 11th anniversary of the U.S. war on Afghanistan. The details are still being worked out, but the plans promise to be quite powerful. I plan to be there, and I hope many of you will be able to join me.
The most pressing issue that we are working on is the threat of war on Iran. Our Iran working group, led by Faraz Azad has been working hard on developing resources that we can all use to express our opposition to the sanctions on Iran as well as a military attack by either Israel or the U.S. VFP is also working with United For Peace and Justice and coordinating with their “Pledge of Resistance” campaign. We have issued several very strong statements, the most recent one being an appeal to the Non-Aligned Movement nations to do everything in their power to stop an attack on Iran. The NAM will be meeting in Tehran next week, bringing together dozens of heads of state and high-level diplomats, including Egyptian President Mosri. I urge you to stand up and speak out against a military attack on Iran which would be illegal and catastrophic. I also urge you to speak out as Veterans For Peace, about the immorality of the economic sanctions that our government has imposed as collective punishment on the people of Iran. Just yesterday I attended a town hall meeting with my own Congressman, Rep Peter Defazio, who is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, opposes the WTO, and advocates for the prosecution of banking industry officials. When I challenged him on his position on Iranian sanctions (he was an original co-sponsor along 363 others), he told me that President Ahmahjinedad had been acting “irresponsibly” and even cited the mis-translated quote about Iran threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the map. I pointed out that unlike Israel, Iran was a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and asked him when was the last time that Israel had allowed IAEA inspectors into their country…? He then cut me off and said he wasn’t going to discuss it anymore. This was extremely disappointing to me—Peter Defazio is a very smart man who generally challenges the system, yet he is buying into this propaganda whole cloth. To make matters worse, our local paper wrote a lengthy article about his town hall, but made no mention of our exchange: http://www.gazettetimes.com/news/local/defazio-hosts-corvallis-town-hall/article_df060ab4-ed9e-11e1-aabe-0019bb2963f4.html
But what this means, is that I have to work harder to point out the immorality and hypocrisy of his position…of our government’s position…on Iran in particular, and our foreign policy in general.
As I said at the convention, if a military strike is launched against Iran, will I be able to say that I did everything I could…did VFP do everything it could…to keep it from happening? As difficult as it may be to avert war, it will be exponentially more difficult to end it once begun. Let’s make sure we are doing everything that we can.
In peace and solidarity,