September 29, 2010

"We lost. 143-136" C-440 is defeated in second reading.

I just returned from the West Coast. I ran into a busload of tourists from British Columbia at the Snake River on the Oregon/Idaho border. After chatting with them I met up with the bus driver. I wanted to know how he felt about the war resisters in Canada and Bill C-440. He was outspoken and outraged that his government was harassing the resisters. He thought they should be allowed to stay and felt that the government officials like Harper and Kinney were afraid of the US and were just bowing to US demands.

After the vote today, I visualize the driver as he started to get worked up over the issue saying, "It's bullshit!"

We have to work harder to support the resisters. Many of the Canadian politicians are like ours here in the states. They have no backbone and are unwilling to do what is right. -Russell

The Case for Bill C-440, a seven minute video
on the campaign to let US Iraq War resisters stay in Canada.

Ken MarciniecSeptember 29, 2010 at 11:37pm

>> Federal Court of Appeal ruling in Hinzman case stands as government chooses not to appeal

OTTAWA--Despite support by the majority of Canadians for US Iraq War resisters, Bill C-440 An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (war resisters)­ failed to pass at second reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening.

While the bill received strong support from a large majority of opposition members of parliament, it needed 7 more votes to pass.

"This is a setback for Iraq War resisters seeking permanent resident status in Canada, but our campaign to make the government respect the will of the majority of Canadians on this issue is far from over," said Michelle Robidoux, a spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. "These courageous men and women have the support of two-thirds of Canadians across the country, and they are still threatened with punishment if returned to the United States."

"Over the past few weeks, some MPs had expressed concern about the scope of Bill C-440 as it was presented," said Robidoux. "We will be working with opposition MPs to find a way to give effect to Parliament's two votes, in 2008 and 2009, in favour of letting Iraq War resisters stay."

Two motions that were previously adopted by Parliament which directed the Conservative minority government to immediately cease deportations of Iraq War resisters and facilitate their requests for permanent resident status have been ignored despite public opinion polls indicating that 64 per cent of voters support Parliament's direction.

The Harper government has repeatedly interfered with the cases of war resisters that are supposed to be considered on a case-by-case basis by making blatantly prejudicial comments and issuing an operational directive that intrude on the independence of both Immigration and Refugee Board members and immigration officers.

Coincidentally, Wednesday was also the last day of the Government of Canada’s window to challenge the Federal Court of Appeal decision in the case of resister Jeremy Hinzman. In a unanimous ruling on July 6, 2010, the Federal Court of Appeal held that the government’s assessment of Mr. Hinzman’s bid to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds was substantially flawed because it did not take into account his sincerely held religious, moral and political beliefs against service in the war in Iraq. Jeremy’s case will now be sent back for reconsideration by a different immigration officer in accordance with the court’s ruling.

The government's failure to file an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in Mr. Hinzman's case means that the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision stands.

"Canadians expect that their government will treat everyone with basic fairness," said Robidoux. "Minister Jason Kenney must ensure immigration officers stop issuing the cookie-cutter decisions that have ignored the Iraq War resisters' motivations for coming to Canada, and instead follow the direction of the court that each individual's circumstances should be considered."


► Canada wants US war resisters to stay
by Paul Copeland,;;

► Iraq war resister marks one year since taking sanctuary in Vancouver church
by Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press;

► Filmmaker Loach presses Canada to let US war resisters stay
by Michel Comte, Agence-France Presse;

► VIDEO - Michael Moore & Paul Laverty criticize the Harper government's treatment of U.S. Iraq War resisters;

-thanks to Ken Marciniec

September 25, 2010

September 13, 2010

Victor Agosto: Under the Hood has helped me take the liberating leap from obedient soldier to war resister

"Under the Hood has become my refuge from a closed-minded and dehumanizing military culture. The support I have received from my family at Under the Hood has helped me take the liberating leap from obedient soldier to war resister. Under the Hood has changed my life forever."
-- SPC Victor Agosto, Afghanistan War Resister

Diplomat-Turned-Activist and VFP member Colonel Ann Wright (Ret.) Upstate NY Tour!!

Colonel Ann Wright (Ret.) is one of the highest ranking officers and diplomats to have resigned from government service in protest of the Iraq war. Recently Wright was with the Freedom Flotilla that was overtaken by Israeli troops when bringing supplies to Gaza and was subsequently detained. Wright, a VFP member, received a standing ovation when introduced and after speaking at the Veterans for Peace convention in Portland, Maine in August 2010.

The Voices of Conscience Upstate NY Tour is sponsored by Military Families Speak Out; Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace and other groups in each community.

For more information, please contact Marilyn Lambert-Fisher,, (585) 749-7121
Colonel Ann Wright (Ret.)
Voices of Conscience Tour Upstate NY
September 2010

Monday, September 20
Time TBA Speaking SUNY Albany, NY

Wednesday, September 22
7:00 PM First Unitarian Society of Ithaca 306 North Aurora Street, Ithaca, NY
"Warrior for Peace and Justice at Home, in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gaza"

Thursday, September 23
12:00 PM Interview (live) with Bob Smith on WXXI 1370 AM Connection

2:00 PM Interfaith Center, 11 Franklin Street (adjacent to the SUNY Geneseo campus), Geneseo, NY
"What are we doing in Iraq and Afghanistan? How does it affect Iraqi, Afghan, and U.S. women?"

7:00 PM Campus Center Bamboo Room, Rochester Institute of Technology, 1 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY
"Gaza Flotilla Survivor Tells Her Story"

Friday, September 24
12:30-1:20 PM Medaille Hall, Nazareth College, 4245 East Ave., Rochester, NY
"Costs of War"

7:00 PM First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd. S., Rochester, NY
"Afghanistan: The Need to Dissent"

Saturday, September 25
Syracuse Peace Council Birthday Dinner
St. Lucy's Auditorium, 425 Gifford Street, Syracuse, NY -across from the Church
6:00 PM - doors open
6:30 PM - Dinner is served (featuring vegetarian cuisine and local foods, see for cost)
7:30 PM - Program featuring Ann Wright, "Rejecting the War Machine: From Afghanistan to Activist"

Sunday, September 26
2:00 PM ArtRage Gallery, 505 Hawley Avenue, Syracuse, NY
Book signing and talk at Robert Shetterly's "Americans Who Tell the Truth" Exhibit

The talks are free and open to the public. Donations will be gratefully accepted.

Each talk will be followed by a book sale and signing: Dissent: Voices of Conscience, Government Insiders Speak Out Against the War in Iraq.
Colonel Ann Wright (Ret.)

Ann Wright grew up in Bentonville, Arkansas, and attended the University of Arkansas, where she received a master's and a law degree. She also has a master's degree in national security affairs from the U.S. Naval War College. After college, she spent thirteen years in the U.S. Army and sixteen additional years in the Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel. She is airborne-qualified.

In 1987, Col. Wright joined the Foreign Service and served as U.S. Deputy Ambassador in Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan, and Mongolia. She received the State Department's Award for Heroism for her actions during the evacuation of 2,500 people from the civil war in Sierra Leone, the largest evacuation since Saigon. She was on the first State Department team to go to Afghanistan and helped reopen the Embassy there in December 2001. Her other overseas assignments include Somalia, Kyrgyzstan, Grenada, Micronesia, and Nicaragua. On March 19, 2003, the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Ann Wright cabled a letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell, stating that without the authorization of the UN Security Council, the invasion and occupation of a Muslim, Arab, oil-rich country would be a disaster. Since then, she has been writing and speaking out for peace. She fasted for a month, picketed at Guantánamo, served as a juror in impeachment hearings, traveled to Iran as a citizen diplomat, and has been arrested numerous times for peaceful, nonviolent protest of Bush's policies, particularly the war on Iraq. In the last year, she has been on delegations to Iran and Gaza. She lives in Honolulu.

Here is a link to her book websites that have materials (photos and bio)

September 10, 2010

Kathy Kelly: The Indefensible Drones: A Ground Zero Reflection

by Kathy Kelly, September 8, 2010

Libby and Jerica are in the front seat of the Prius, and Mary and I are in back. We just left Oklahoma, we're heading into Shamrock, Texas, and tomorrow we'll be Indian Springs, Nevada, home of Creech Air Force Base. We've been discussing our legal defense.

The state of Nevada has charged Libby and me, along with twelve others, with criminal trespass onto the base. On April 9, 2009, after a ten-day vigil outside the air force base, we entered it with a letter we wanted to circulate among the base personnel, describing our opposition to a massive targeted assassination program. Our trial date is set for September 14.

Creech is one of several homes of the U.S. military's aerial drone program. U.S. Air Force personnel there pilot surveillance and combat drones, unmanned aerial vehicles with which they are instructed to carry out extrajudicial killings in Afghanistan and Iraq. The different kinds of drone include the "Predator" and the "Reaper." The Obama administration favors a combination of drone attacks and Joint Special Operations raids to pursue its stated goal of eliminating whatever Al Qaeda presence exists in these countries. As the U.S. accelerates this campaign, we hear from UN special rapporteur for extrajudicial executions, Philip Alston, who suggests that U.S. citizens may be asleep at the wheel, oblivious to clear violations of international law which we have real obligations to prevent (or at the very least discuss). Many citizens are now focused on the anniversary of September 11th and the controversy over whether an Islamic Center should be built near Ground Zero. Corporate media does little to help ordinary U.S. people understand that the drones which hover over potential targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen create small “ground zeroes" in multiple locales on an everyday basis.

Libby, at the wheel, is telling Jerica about her visit to Kabul, in 1970. "I worked for Pan Am," said Libby, "and that meant being able to stay for free at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. After landing in Pakistan, we hired a driver to take us across the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan. All along the highway we saw herds of camel traveling along a parallel old road. I wonder if the camel market in Kabul is still there?"

Jerica says she'll look for it. She and I have been hard at work to obtain visas and arrange flights for an October trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan. [Libby is exceptional in that she hasn't tried to talk Jerica out of the dangerous travel.]

Conversation switches to whatever CD has just come on, and I tune out, wondering if I've done my share of issuing warnings to Jerica about traveling in a war zone.

Tinny music and rural Texan countryside blend together.

My thoughts drift to the Emergency Surgical Center for Victims of War, in Kabul. A little over two months ago, Josh and I met Nur Said, age 11, in the hospital's ward for young boys injured by various explosions. Most of the boys welcomed a diversion from the ward's tedium, and they were especially eager to sit outside, in the hospital garden, where they'd form a circle and talk together for hours. Nur Said stayed indoors. Too miserable to talk, he'd merely nod at us, his hazel eyes welling up with tears. Weeks earlier, he had been part of a hardy band of youngsters that helped bolster their family incomes by searching for scrap metal and unearthing land mines on a mountainside in Afghanistan. Finding an unexploded land mine was a eureka for the children because, once opened, the valuable brass parts could be extracted and sold. Nur had a land mine in hand when it suddenly exploded, ripping four fingers off his right hand and blinding him in his left eye.

On a sad continuum of misfortune, Nur and his companions fared better than another group of youngsters scavenging for scrap metal in the Kunar Province on August 26th.

Following an alleged Taliban attack on a nearby police station, NATO forces flew overhead to "engage" the militants. If the engagement includes bombing the area under scrutiny, it would be more apt to say that NATO aimed to puree the militants. But in this case, the bombers mistook the children for militants and killed six of them, aged 6 to 12. Local police said there were no Taliban at the site during the attack, only children.

General Petraeus assures his superiors that the U.S. is effectively using drone surveillance, sensors and other robotic means of gaining intelligence to assure that they are hunting down the right targets for assassination. But survivors of these attacks insist that civilians are at risk. In Afghanistan, thirty high schools have shut down because the parents say that their children are distracted by the drones flying overhead and that it's unsafe for them to gather in the schools.

I think of Nur, trapped in his misery, at the Emergency surgical center. He'll be one among many thousands of amputees whose lives are forever altered by the war and poverty that afflict his country. Many of these survivors are likely to feel intense hatred toward their persecutors. 300 villagers in the Sayed Abad district of Wardak province took to the streets in protest on August 12, following an alleged U.S. night raid. "They murdered three students and detained five others," one of the protesters said. "All of them were civilians." Villagers, shocked by the killing, shouted that they didn't want Americans in Afghanistan. According to village eyewitnesses, American troops stormed into a family home and shot three brothers, all young men, and then took their father into custody. One of the young men was a student who had returned to the family home to celebrate the traditional “iftar” fast at the beginning of Ramadan. Local policemen are investigating the allegations, and NATO recently conceded that they may have killed some civilians. (see Afghanistan Atrocities update).

The drones feed hourly intelligence information to U.S. war commanders, but the machinery can't inform people about the spiraling anger as the U.S. conducts assassination operations in countries throughout the 1.3 billion-strong Muslim world. "Sold as defending Americans," writes Fred Branfman, "(it) is actually endangering us all. Those responsible for it, primarily General Petraeus, are recklessly seeking short-term tactical advantage while making an enormous long-term strategic error that could lead to countless American deaths in the years and decades to come."

The Prius is comfortable, but my side of the backseat has become a makeshift office. The most important file contains Bill Quigley's comprehensive argumentation as to why the court should allow us to present a necessity defense based on international law. Bill is the Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights. On September 14, we want to call on him as an expert witness. We and our codefendants have chosen to mount a pro se defense to try to persuade our judge that far from committing a crime we have exercised our rights and our duties, under international and U.S. law, to try to prevent one and to raise public opposition to usage of drones in "targeted" assassinations.

Jerica hands me the questions we can use to elicit Bill's testimony. We try to word our questions so that the evidence will be admissible in court. "Could Bill please inform the court about citizen's responsibilities under international law, could he explain to the court what articles and statutes we will be invoking?" To a layperson, it seems like an elaborate game of "Mother May-I," and we haven't even started developing questions to ask Col. Ann Wright, theformer U.S. diplomat, who had helped re-open the U.S. Embassy in Kabul shortly before resigning her job in a refusal to cooperate with buildup toward the May 2003 U.S. Shock and Awe invasion of Iraq.

Rounding out our trio of expert witnesses is former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. We hope his personal experience within the U.S. government might arouse the court's more careful attention to the seldom-discussed legal issues that are fundamentally at stake here. However, the judge has already indicated that his calendar only allots one day for our trial.

Libby, Jerica, Mary and I have blocked out at least ten days, inclusive of travel, for our small contribution to an ongoing effort of people around the world working to put drones on trial. We're in New Mexico now. I feel cramped and restless, and I wonder if Tucumcari, where we plan to stop for lunch, has internet. We can't possibly bring the testimony of Afghans and Pakistanis to court this Tuesday. Their testimony, borne on bodies scarred and mutilated and harbored in memories of nightmare, will never be given away and cannot be given in court. Extrajudicial killings are killings without rule of law, without trial. Few if any Afghan or Pakistani civilian survivors of U.S. wars will ever travel to a U.S. court of law for consideration of their grievances.

And at this moment I realize that if we were four Afghans or Pakistanis or Iraqis traveling in a war zone, we'd have spent this entire trip watching not the Southwestern landscape, but the skies.

Kathy Kelly ( co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence ( Her book, Other Lands Have Dreams, is available through Counterpunch.

-thanks to Ed Kinane

International Days of Action for Bradley Manning – September 16 – 19

San Diego Days of Action poster

By Katharine Dawn
Rallies, demonstrations, “Collateral Murder” film screenings, whistle-blowing parties and forums will be held around the world between the 16th and 19th of September 2010 as vital expressions of international solidarity with Bradley Manning.

Accused of leaking a classified US military combat video showing the gunning down of Iraqi civilians (released to the world by WikiLeaks as “Collateral Murder”), Pfc Bradley Manning has been held in isolation since May 2010 and faces 52 years imprisonment.

With concerns high for this young man’s fate, events held as part of the International Days of Action will call for the withdrawal of charges laid against Bradley Manning and his immediate release. Rallying to the slogan “Exposing war crimes is not a crime,” supporters maintain that a young man’s life should not be destroyed for a courageous act of conscience.

As Israel and the US ready themselves to attack Iran — endangering the world with an insane escalation of hostilities in the Persian Gulf — the relevance of the issues for which Bradley Manning has become an icon are acutely intensified.

When US soldier Ethan McCord said “we do this every day” of the civilian slaughter he walked into after the “Collateral Murder” attack, he was stating an established fact. The reality of his statement has been corroborated by many, including UN President of the General Assembly D’Escoto Brockmann, and is irrefutably substantiated by the recently leaked Afghan War Diaries with their endless entries of civilian deaths resulting from authorized US military operations.

Soldiers who try to raise issues of war crimes in the field with their superiors are systematically and sometimes brutally silenced, while those who cannot remain silent by the nature of their conscience are persecuted severely if discovered. Pfc. Bradley Manning, acclaimed as a hero by Daniel Ellsberg (the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War), is a perfect example.

This is, at its heart, an issue of truth in public media.
-thanks to Bradley Manning Support Network

September 3, 2010


The Veterans For Peace and the War Resister Support Campaign will be honoring the veterans who refuse to participate in the killing of innocent people and the illegal occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of the men and women, GI’s who chose to go to Canada, have been to Iraq and/or Afghanistan at least once. They need your support.

If you are planning to attend the “Refusing Orders / Crossing Borders” event in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada on October 16th, it is essential that you act immediately to make sure your passport or ‘enhanced’ license is in order. If you don’t have one - apply immediately - or it won’t be available in time for you to cross the Peace Bridge and join us in Fort Erie on October 16th.

For more info contact Bruce Beyer at 716-854-1659

September 1, 2010

A Speech for Endless War

by: Norman Solomon, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed, Wednesday 01 September 2010
On the last night of August, the president used an Oval Office speech to boost a policy of perpetual war.

Hours later, The New York Times front page offered a credulous gloss for the end of "the seven-year American combat mission in Iraq." The first sentence of the coverage described the speech as saying, "that it is now time to turn to pressing problems at home." The story went on to assert that Obama "used the moment to emphasize that he sees his primary job as addressing the weak economy and other domestic issues - and to make clear that he intends to begin disengaging from the war in Afghanistan next summer."

But the speech gave no real indication of a shift in priorities from making war to creating jobs. And the oratory "made clear" only the repetition of vague vows to "begin" disengaging from the Afghanistan war next summer. In fact, top administration officials have been signaling that only token military withdrawals are apt to occur in mid-2011, and Obama said nothing to the contrary.

While now trumpeting the nobility of an Iraq war effort that he'd initially disparaged as "dumb," Barack Obama is polishing a halo over the Afghanistan war, which he touts as very smart. In the process, the Oval Office speech declared that every US war - no matter how mendacious or horrific - is worthy of veneration.

Obama closed the speech with a tribute to "an unbroken line of heroes" stretching "from Khe Sanh to Kandahar - Americans who have fought to see that the lives of our children are better than our own." His reference to the famous US military outpost in South Vietnam was a chilling expression of affinity for another march of folly.

With his commitment to war in Afghanistan, President Obama is not only on the wrong side of history. He is also now propagating an exculpatory view of any and all US war efforts - as if the immoral can become the magnificent by virtue of patriotic alchemy.

A century ago, William Dean Howells wrote: "What a thing it is to have a country that can't be wrong, but if it is, is right, anyway!"

During the presidency of George W. Bush, "the war on terror" served as a rationale for establishing warfare as a perennial necessity. The Obama administration may have shelved the phrase, but the basic underlying rationales are firmly in place. With American troop levels in Afghanistan near 100,000, top US officials are ramping up rhetoric about "taking the fight to" the evildoers.

Let Truthout send our best stories to your inbox every day, for free.

The day before the Oval Office speech, presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs talked to reporters about "what this drawdown means to our national security efforts in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia and around the world as we take the fight to Al Qaeda."

The next morning, Obama declared at Fort Bliss: "A lot of families are now being touched in Afghanistan. We've seen casualties go up because we're taking the fight to Al Qaeda and the Taliban and their allies." And, for good measure, Obama added that "now, under the command of General Petraeus, we have the troops who are there in a position to start taking the fight to the terrorists."

If, nine years after 9/11, we are supposed to believe that US forces can now "start" taking the fight to "the terrorists," this is truly war without end. And that's the idea.

Nearly eight years ago, in November 2002, retired US Army Gen. William Odom appeared on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" program and told viewers: "Terrorism is not an enemy. It cannot be defeated. It's a tactic. It's about as sensible to say we declare war on night attacks and expect we're going to win that war. We're not going to win the war on terrorism."

With his August 31 speech, Obama became explicit about the relationship between reduced troop levels in Iraq and escalation in Afghanistan. "We will disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda, while preventing Afghanistan from again serving as a base for terrorists," he said. "And because of our drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense." This is the approach of endless war.

While Obama was declaring that "our most urgent task is to restore our economy and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work," I went to a National Priorities Project web page and looked at cost-of-war counters spinning like odometers in manic overdrive. The figures for the "Cost of War in Afghanistan" - already above $329 billion - are now spinning much faster than the ones for war in Iraq.

One day in March 1969, a Nobel Prize-winning biologist spoke at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"Our government has become preoccupied with death," George Wald said, "with the business of killing and being killed."
More than four decades later, how much has really changed?
-thanks to Truthout

Veterans For Peace President, Mike Ferner, Responds to President Obama's Rebranded Occupation of Iraq

CONTACT: Mike Ferner, 419-729-7273
Dennis Lane, 314-306-0024

A veteran's perspective makes it clear that two major points must be made in response to President Obama's announcement regarding combat troops leaving Iraq.

First, there is no such thing as "non combat troops." It is a contradiction in terms. It is internally inconsistent. It is illogical. It is simply not true.

Ask any of the millions of men and women who went through basic training and they can tell you that every U.S. troop anywhere in the world was indoctrinated and trained in the basics of combat. While in Iraq, the transition from mechanics or communications back to combat-ready soldier takes but an order. "Non-combat troops" is simply the latest in a long line of military euphemisms meant to obscure painful reality.

The second point can best be made by drafting a section of the President's remarks for him. If Veterans For Peace were to do that it would read something like this.
"And now, fellow Americans, let us begin a new era of candor and honesty about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Specifically, I'm referring to the true costs of war - something that must be considered if we are to judge if continued war is worth it.

You have seen that the cost to taxpayers of these wars has exceeded one trillion dollars, nearly all of which has been considered 'off budget,' appropriated by extraordinary or 'supplemental' spending bills. It may be hard to believe that, large though that figure may be, it is but the smaller portion of what we will spend in total.

We are already investing unprecedented amounts in Veterans Administration staff and facilities to try and cope with the millions of men and women who have cycled through a war zone deployment - and of course many have been through multiple deployments.

Our experience thus far tells us to expect literally hundreds of thousands of cases of PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries - injuries that are often difficult to diagnose at first and difficult to treat. These are, of course, in addition to the many thousands of visibly wounded who, at great expense, must go through rehabilitation and a lifetime of support in order to function to their fullest. Thousands more will require years, perhaps decades, of long-term care because their injuries have left them so broken they require round-the-clock attention.

But since we are initiating an era of candor, we go farther - and by that I mean the cost to families, communities and society as a whole. Volumes have literally been written on this point, but let me leave you with a brief example you can easily expand for yourself.

We have already heard of the abnormally high rate of suicides among returning veterans. The real number is undoubtedly higher since some will always remain a mystery. We've heard also of a growing tide of domestic violence that leaves families broken and terrorized.

Beyond the draining medical, psychological and emotional costs to the individuals directly involved, imagine the cost to the communities where this occurs: whole battalions of police, fire, EMT, courts, probation officers, social workers and sadly, prison guards will be needed to deal with the true costs of war. It is uncomfortable to admit, but this is indeed one area of the economy I can guarantee will grow significantly.

Then there is an exponentially greater cost borne by the people of Iraq and Afghanistan - greater in every way: emotionally, economically, in human suffering, in destroyed opportunities, in shattered lives and minds, in hearts that will remain forever broken. We can do precious little to repair much of that kind of damage. But I can tell you this, my fellow Americans, we must at least pay the bill to rebuild the roads, water and sewer plants, hospitals, schools and residences we have destroyed.

It is not pleasant to describe such things and indeed, these costs will continue to weigh heavily on our nation well into our grandchildren's generation. But we cannot pretend otherwise."
This is the message that should come from the White House tonight if truth were indeed the coin of the realm. We won't hear it, but that will make it no less true.


Founded in 1985, Veterans For Peace is a national organization of men and women veterans of all eras and duty stations spanning the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and current Iraq wars as well as other conflicts cold or hot. It has chapters in nearly every state in the union and is headquartered in St. Louis, MO. 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: Exposing the true costs of war and militarism since 1985.

Ferner is also author of "Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq," (Praeger/Greenwood, 2006)