Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans For Peace

In honor of this day I thought I would let people who know what they're talking about share their voice.

You can read more at VETERANS FOR PEACE

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
October 27, 2009

Dear President Obama,

As veterans of our nation’s wars, we insist you hear our call.

British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin spoke an unassailable truth when he said, “War would end if the dead could return.” If you believe that is true, Mr. President and Members of the House, you must heed our counsel well: we are the closest anyone can come to that truth the dead would speak. Stop the killing!

Because we personally understand what war truly means, we have written, called and demonstrated repeatedly for an end to the killing in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have protested at and have been arrested in House Office Buildings, the House Gallery, the White House and Congressional offices across the nation. We have pleaded, then demanded, that you stop the suffering in these countries. Although promised prior to the election, no combat brigades have returned from Iraq. And now we can smell the mire of escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Nevertheless, we cannot cease to appeal to that spark of humanity in your hearts. We know wealthy, powerful interests such as weapons contractors, lobbyists and right-wing broadcasters daily make a deafening noise, trying to drown out the voice that insists, “Stop the killing.” We also know that no matter how quiet the voice of humanity might become, it can never be silenced.

So we lift up to you voices much more eloquent than our own, voices of soldiers who survived the worst fighting human beings have ever experienced, World War One. For nearly 100 years, the wisdom and compassion of their poetry has endured. Their words now stand as one of the world’s most powerful witnesses to the madness of war.

You must hear them.

…And you yourself would mutter when You took the things that once were men, And sped them through that zone of hate To where the dripping surgeons wait; And wonder too if in God's sight War ever, ever can be right.
– From “Foreword” by British ambulance driver, Robert Service


…If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.
– From “Dulce et Decorum est” (It is Sweet and Right to Die for Your Country) by British Army Lt. Wilfred Owen, killed a week before the 1918 Armistice.

More than that we cannot say to you, so we will address our former brothers and sisters in arms who are now our brothers and sisters in peace.

Most Sincerely,
Mike Ferner
National President
Veterans For Peace

cc: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
Steny H. Hoyer, Majority Leader of the House
John Boehner, Republican Leader of the House
James E. Clyburn, House Majority Whip
Eric Cantor, Republican Whip


Daryl said...

And I salute you for posting this... last nite I choked up/cried listening to/watching the President speak at Ft Hood honoring not just those were killed there but those who give their lives to protect us...

bobbie said...

I knew I could count on you for the perfect post for Veterans' Day, Dianne.

Thank you.

Grayquill said...

Sometime I scratch me head in dismay. Do people really think a sitting president has the power to stop war and killing? I think he would if he could. I know I would.
May God give him the wisdom to do what is right and best. I think that will be sufficient if that can happen.

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

Wonderful, Dianne! Do you mind if I borrow the Veteran's for Peace graphic to add to the one I've alreay posted?

Peace and Love! xo

Matt-Man said...

Damn Dianne...Actually contacting those folks seems like such a hassle. Can't I just say that I support the troops, and that I want the universal soldiers to come home and raise their families? Cheers Sexy!!

Anndi said...

To bring them home we (the residents of this Earth) have to work on ourselves. We must be willing to be compassionate towards every human being. We must listen to others, and discuss... and make a real attempt at understanding.

I doubt a president can do that alone...

Dianne said...

daryl - peace sis

bobbie - coming from someone I always count on that means a lot

grayquill - it is within Obama's power to turn the tide rather than escalate it
the "war" against terrorists does not, IMHO, require troops in all corners of the world
it requires good intelligence and diplomacy
it is one of the reasons I voted for him

petra - I was thrilled to see the banner there on your post
I took it from the VFP website
I hope people check them out

matt-man - yes you can just give lip service - as long as you have a yellow ribbon magnet and wave a flag
c'mon Matty you know the drill

Sott Oglesby said...

That was a beautiful and eloquent collection you put together Dianne. Seriously though, I think Grayquill has it right and there is just way to much money talking.

Dianne said...

anndi - true kiddo
yet a President can choose to follow the wishes of those who voted for him rather than spend nearly a full year attempting to gain bipartisan support from people who will NEVER listen to him, who have NO respect for him and who in NO way whatsoever care about the soldiers
I love ya Anndi and you are a crystal soul on this planet but the time for idealism alone is long gone in the USA
we are headed toward a takeover by zealots and racists and all out loons

Dianne said...

Scott - sadly true and one more example of how corporate America needs to be regulated and investigated and needs to have a big bright light trained on its dark twisted center
instead we have bailouts and compromises to calm the healthcare lobby
we have no investigations into Blackwater
and Bush and Cheny aren't on trial
the right is storing up its guns and shooting off its mouth anyway - let's get them so fucking riled up that the Secret Service can finally arrest some of them by getting something done

Raven said...

I knew if I came here today, you would inspire me... and you quoted Dulce et Decorum, one of my favorite poems... and took away my one idea for a post of my own.

Anndi said...

I speak not of mere ideals... but a way of life, and I think President Obama has shown he walks a noble path.
You know my views on war. I do wish they would bring the troops home.
I'm just saying that if people ask the President to do something, they have to hold up their end of the bargain as well.
People want... what will they give?

Akelamalu said...

Excellent post Dianne.

Dianne said...

raven - the soldiers quoted the poem, not I
and so I think you can use it
even though you could use it even if I had written it LOL
I know you can expand upon it far better than I could, I was unfamilar with it before I visited the vets site

anndi - I don't want to make this all about Obama, I'm always so so so uncomfortable when I am critical of him since I so despise his enemies and wish so much for him to succeed, not to mention that I think he is a wonderful human
But there is a but - a big but.
many of us who voted for him gave a lot - money, time, hopes
I literally lost friends by supporting him and was actually threatened by people who could not even imagine him as the leader of this country
he said he'd close Gitmo
he said he'd scale back the invasion - it is NOT a war, we invaded
he said people like me would have an option for healthcare
in NJ he campaigned for a governor that was weak and disliked rather than helping the party find one who could win
now I have a fucking facist as a governor
and it appears the same mistake is going to be made in my dear home state of NY
walking man said something recently about wanting Obama to get his Chicago balls back, so do I.
even saints kick ass when necessary and if it's not necessary now I don't know when

Dianne said...

akelamalu - thank you Lady :)

Bond said...

I did not know of this group...

I wave my flag 365 days a year...I thank military personnel when I cross their paths...

I did a post for Veteran's Day

I am not maudlin

Nessa said...

A very poignant choice for today.

Wordless Wednesday

Reb said...

Wonderful letter Dianne, thank you for sharing it and the Verterans for writing it.

Dianne said...

bond - I didn't know of them either. I was looking at the Vietnam Veterans Against the War site (I have friends there) and found their link
they support some good programs beyond striving to bring the soldiers home

nessa - I hope so, thank you

reb - I thought it was worth sharing, thank you

Linda Reeder said...

What can I say. On my blog, I said "I honor the soldier. I hate the war".
I don't know how to end these wars. As you said, they are so easily started and so hard to end.
Sending our service people on one tour after another until they are dead or damaged has got to stop.
Diplomacy, political and aconomic power must replace warfare.

Frank Baron said...

Their passion rings loud and clear and certainly their experience lends a powerful credibility.

I think Obama is learning the constraints of his office. If he can stickhandle his way to a 2nd term, that's when I think you'll see him able to better exercise his muscle to forward his aims. Like many visionaries, I think he's chafing at reality's bridle. But he's got to learn how to play the game if he's ever going to win at it.

Carly said...

very neat picture and a great message!

the walking man said...

War is a street fight writ large. If you quit the fight and turn your back before you have defeated your opponent he will slug you from behind.

I would that cheney and bush be tried fro the war criminals they are but I doubt that withdrawal is an option at this time.

While I understand the concept of peace, tell me of a time in our generation where it was a reality?
The fight will go on no matter how many (and on this point I agree with you mostly) brigades are returned home. The battlefield will change is all.

Smalltown RN said...

Very well said Dianne....yes we must hold our leaders accountable for their promises...but I must also agree with Anni about as humans we must be willing to do our part to also make peace happen....we have to stop the bickering and racial slurs that happens in our own communities, we have to find the tolerance for others...once we as a society start to do that...then maybe the powers that be will stand strong and do their bit as well.....

Deborah Godin said...

I can only nod in deep appreciation of these words, and hope that those who need to listen and act, hear it and move.

Anonymous said...

'Give peace a chance'. Hope somebody is listening. Thanks for coming to my blog. I like yours very much.


Doc said...

That is a great post Dianne!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

So very powerful Dianne....If only ALL of the Politicians would truly listen with their Hearts...Maybe, Just Maybe....these two Wars would END! And End Now!
Thank you for this very moving post, my dear.

Travis said...

We all do what is in us to do.

Dianne said...

linda - yes, that one line says it all

frank - it was because of their credibility that I decided to share their letter, otherwise it's just another peace protest
I shudder to think what the 2012 election season will be like since this last one was so ugly and I'm very concerned that Obama will get a 2nd term which is why I'd like something to get done in this term

carly - the pic is Arlington West, a monument/protest set up by the vets

walking man - I'd like to see the next battlefield be Wall St, I'd sign up
and I'm only being a little sarcastic about that

smalltown - I don't disagree with Anndi, I just think we're talking about 2 different things

deborah - ahhh yes, listening
wouldn't that be a novel approach for DC

singing bear - it's so very nice to see you back

doc - thanks doc! nice to see you back around as well
Patrick must be 6 feet tall by now
Did I remember his name correctly?

old old lady of the hills - I would imagine that war veterans would (as Frank said) have the credibility and deserve to be heard

travis - that is certainly true although I don't understand how it applies here
I'm not asking anyone to do anything, the veterans are
and if the people that letter is addressed to can't do more then we're in even deeper crap than I think we're in
I intentionally shared the vets voices on this day and not mine since my strong feelings about this day and the way our culture treats it is more divisive than I thought was respectful

Jacob said...

Interesting and important post, Di, and the photo is very special, too.

Lily Hydrangea said...

so profound to read this from a group that has truly been there and cares so much for their fellow Veterans.
Thanks for posting this Dianne.

shelly said...

Beautiful post Di...heartbreaking.
Nuff said.