Have We Learned the Lessons of Vietnam?

by Susan Lamont (from Apr/May2014 Peace Press)

In 2012, the United States government began a thirteen-year-long 50th anniversary remembrance of the Vietnam War.

“It was January [1962], in Saigon. Our Army pilots strapped on their helmets and boarded their helicopters. They lifted off.....It was a single raid against an enemy stronghold just a few miles into the jungle -- but it was one of America’s first major operations in that faraway land.” Nowhere in the ensuing narrative from the White House is there an explanation for that “first major operation.”

On Memorial Day 2012, President Obama honored the 58,282 “patriots,” who “pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans” and, finally, dying in Vietnam.

You may all remember that the U.S. was not in Vietnam protecting ideals and that Tonkin Gulf was a phoney event staged as a pretext for war, but those in the White House wish you wouldn't. And you probably got a laugh out of John Kerry's recent comment that countries shouldn't “behave in 19th-century fashion by invading another country on trumped-up pretext.” Maybe he thought that, by referring to the 19th-century, we'd all forget about the U.S. invasions in the 20th and 21st century, of which Vietnam was but one.

“Support our troops” rhetoric is trotted out again. We are asked to “give thanks to a generation of proud Americans who saw our country through one of the most challenging missions we have ever faced.” The Vietnam War was a “challenging mission?” And soldiers who were drafted or enlisted because of financial hardship or bought the lies out of patriotic blindness “saw our country through?”

In the White House version, you will find nothing about the true history of the Vietnam War. Instead, you will find soaring and meaningless rhetoric. “And here we see a piece of our larger American story. Our Founders -- in their genius -- gave us a task. They set out to make a more perfect union. And so it falls to every generation to carry on that work. To keep moving forward.” Are we to assume “that work” is “moving forward” in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the many countries around the world where the United States has troops stationed openly or covertly?

Obama calls the war “painful,” but not because it was unnecessary - painful because Americans [the Peace Movement – you and me] did not honor the soldiers. “So let us also tell a story of a generation that came home, and how -- even though some Americans turned their back on you -- you never turned your back on America.”

I didn't turn my back on them. I didn't want them placed in harm's way. It was our government and our war-profiteering corporations which turned their backs on U.S. soldiers and sent 58,282 Americans and at least 2 million Vietnamese to their deaths. But it is hoped that Americans will accept this lie - this total perversion of the truth - and carry it over to today's lies and all the lies that will be told in the future.

And what about the veterans? “You became teachers and police officers and nurses -- the folks we count on every single day. You became entrepreneurs, running companies and pioneering industries that changed the world You became leaders and public servants, from town halls to Capitol Hill -- lifting up our communities, our states, our nation.“ No mention of the number of homeless vets. No mention of those ill or dead from the effects of Agent Orange. No mention of the number who have committed suicide – more than were killed in the war.

But the claim is made that we have learned the lessons of war. “So let us resolve that when America sends our sons and daughters into harm’s way, we will always give them a clear mission; we will always give them a sound strategy; we will give them the equipment they need to get the job done. We will have their backs.” And this was said with a straight face. And you are supposed to believe it despite all evidence to the contrary.

Please read this attempt to divert you from the real story. Please help us set the record straight. The future depends upon it. http://www.whitehouse.gov/50th-anniversary-vietnam-war

Open Source Revolution Will Conquer the 1%

An optimistic look at the future from a former Marine and CIA intelligence officer:

Last month, Steele presented a startling paper at the Libtech conference in New York, sponsored by the Internet Society and Reclaim. Drawing on principles set out in his latest book, The Open-Source Everything Manifesto: Transparency, Truth and Trust, he told the audience that all the major preconditions for revolution – set out in his 1976 graduate thesis – were now present in the United States and Britain.

Steele’s book is a must-read, a powerful yet still pragmatic roadmap to a new civilisational paradigm that simultaneously offers a trenchant, unrelenting critique of the prevailing global order. His interdisciplinary ‘whole systems’ approach dramatically connects up the increasing corruption, inefficiency and unaccountability of the intelligence system and its political and financial masters with escalating inequalities and environmental crises. But he also offers a comprehensive vision of hope that activist networks like Reclaim are implementing today.

“We are at the end of a five-thousand-year-plus historical process during which human society grew in scale while it abandoned the early indigenous wisdom councils and communal decision-making,” he writes inThe Open Source Everything Manifesto. “Power was centralised in the hands of increasingly specialised ‘elites’ and ‘experts’ who not only failed to achieve all they promised but used secrecy and the control of information to deceive the public into allowing them to retain power over community resources that they ultimately looted.”

Continued at http://www.popularresistance.org/open-source-revolution-will-conquer-the-1/

Violating the War Powers Resolution - once again

Acting with the impunity with which all presidents arm themselves, President Obama is set to violate the War Powers Resolution.

Today, Paul Findley said, "Just as with threats to attack Syria last year, an attack on Iraq would violate the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. As with any president, he [President Obama] commits an impeachable offense if he does not follow the Constitution." Findley served as a member of United States House of Representatives for 22 years. He was a key author of the War Powers Resolution and a leader in securing its enactment by overriding the veto of President Richard Nixon. He is also the author of six books. The federal building in Springfield, Ill. is named for him.

Francis Boyle said, "This could escalate in any number of ways -- exactly what the War Powers Resolution was supposed to stop. It's not legitimate for the president -- or members of Congress -- to make arrangements that violate the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. Obama just stated that the 300 U.S. troops would be doing training, but CNN reports his spokesperson Jay Carney stated they would also 'provide airfield management security and logistic support.' Does this mean that they will become the required forward air controllers for the targeted and precise military action that Obama says he is preparing? If the U.S. is going to target ISIS, will it be limited to Iraq or will it eventually go into Syria?" Boyle, who has worked with Findley for years, is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law and author of Tackling America’s Toughest Questions.


After the Harvest - learning to leave the planet gracefully

by Robert Jensen

Every time I read the latest bad-and-getting-worse news about the health of the ecosphere, such as last month’s report that the melting of some giant glaciers had passed the point of no return, I think back to a conversation 25 years ago that helps me put such news in perspective. In a Minneapolis bakery where my new friend Jim Koplin and I had settled into a Friday morning coffee session to analyze the world, and gossip a bit, Koplin told me that he thought the most important task for human beings — as a species, not just as individuals — was “learning to leave the planet gracefully.”

At our regular table by the window, he said this matter-of-factly, not joking but also not overly dramatic about it. This was a judgment he felt obligated to share with me once our friendship had deepened, our conversations had gotten sufficiently serious, and he had determined that I could handle it.

Why would human beings need to learn to leave the planet gracefully? The answer — so painfully obvious today, as the evidence about ecological crises piles up, readily available to anyone who chooses to know — was clear to Koplin more than 25 years ago. Although he wasn’t prone to quoting scripture, I am, so let me offer a “why” in the words of Jeremiah from the Hebrew Bible:

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20)

Continue reading at:


The Root Causes of Migration: End U.S. Funding of the Drug War and the Corrupt Honduran Regime

The heartbreaking stories emanating from the immigration detention centers near the border have rightly been making the news. However the U.S. media has largely ignored the real lessons from the increasing number of Unaccompanied Minors being detained near the U.S. border. This “humanitarian crisis” has not been caused by the criminal nature of the people of Central America, irresponsible parenting, or the clichéd pursuit of the “American Dream”. Children and their families are coming to the U.S. to survive. At its root, they are too often trying to escape the devastating consequences of past and present U.S. foreign policy in the region.

Click here to urge your senators and representative to end the counterproductive funding of the Drug War and the corrupt Honduran regime:

The number of children attempting to cross the border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In FY 2009, roughly 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. Credible estimates project that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will detain as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors by the end of FY 2014. Approximately 28% of the children detained this year are from Honduras, 24% from Guatemala, and 21% from El Salvador.The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 SOA-graduate led coup, the abusive policies of the resulting Honduran regimes, and the shameful U.S. support for these corrupt governments that emerged after dubious elections in 2009 and 2013.

Since 2008, the U.S. has spent over $800 million in security aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador through the “Central American Regional Security Initiative” (CARSI) in addition to millions more in bilateral military and police aid to each country. The current humanitarian crisis on the border, is a direct result of the drastic U.S.-led militarization of the drug war, unequal economic relationships (e.g. Free Trade Agreements that have ravaged campesino communities), and U.S. support for the cartel-infiltrated post-coup government of Honduras.

By every conceivable measure - the availability of drugs, mass incarceration, mass immigrant detention, and the effective use of tax money in the U.S.; homicide and violence rates, corruption, the overall power of drug cartels, and migration rates in Central America – the "war on drugs" has been an abject and costly failure. It is time, it has been time, for the U.S. government to take real responsibility for its role in the root causes of migration from Central America. The region will never be “cured” of its ills without an honest, fact-based re-evaluation and a resulting re-implementation of U.S. foreign policy.

The patterns of violence and forced migration established during the dirty wars of the 20th century have continued unabated. It is no surprise that Central American children travel alone to the U.S. to escape violence, especially if one or both of their parents already live there.

Increased militarization under the pretext of the drug war has led to massive human rights violations, including illegal land grabs, and the persecution of indigenous and grassroots leaders, too often at the hands of the military and police funded and trained (many at the School of the Americas) under U.S. security programs. In particular, the situation in Honduras has dramatically deteriorated, yet the U.S. continues to fund the corrupt and brutal Honduran security forces 5 years after the June 28, 2009 SOA-graduate led military coup. Why should the people of Central America continue to suffer and be scapegoated when the root causes of migration are all too often created by damaging U.S. foreign policies?

Peace and struggle,
SOA Watch

Call Congress and the White House Today! No Military Intervention in Iraq or Syria! No To the $571 Billion Defense Appropriations Bill!

1) Tell Your Member of Congress:

Oppose US Military Intervention in Iraq or Syria

Oppose the $571 Billion Defense Appropriations Bill

Congressional Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

2) Call the White House. Let President Obama know you oppose military intervention of any kind in Iraq or Syria and urge him to seek a diplomatic solution.

White House Switchboard: (202) 456-1111

3) Join a United for Peace and Justice Briefing on Iraq/ Syria Crisis

As the situation in Iraq deteriorates, the “Never Learn” caucus is demanding US military intervention in the form of ground troops, air strikes, Special Operations and weapons deliveries. The unfolding tragedy in Iraq is a direct consequence of the illegal American invasion and occupation of that country. The least helpful idea is for the United States to involve itself militarily in Iraq or Syria. US military intervention, whether directly or by providing arms, will increase the suffering of people in those countries and enhance the risk of a wider regional conflict.

This coming week the House of Representatives is set to pass a $571 billion Defense Appropriations bill. So long as our oversized military eclipses our domestic needs and the United States spends more money on warfare than the next eight countries combined, military action will continue to be the default response to international crisis. Too many members of Congress claim to oppose war and then quietly pass outlandish military budgets. The proposed FY 2015 Defense Appropriations bill far exceeds what is needed militarily to protect our country.

Please Call your Reps today and tell them:

No to Military Intervention in Iraq or Syria !

No to $571 Billion FY 2015 Defense Appropriations bill !

Some useful articles:




Celebration of Andy Lopez' 14th Birthday

Andy's 14th birthday was on June 2nd and the march and celebration were June 7th.

Young people were abundant at the birthday celebration. Some who appeared to be not much more than elementary school aged could be seen helping organize the proceedings, with many guardians simply watching and playing more of a background role at the demonstration. 

Andy's family and friends, were joined by a wide range of local and statewide supporters. Their core support comes from the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez and Andy's Youth. 

Andy's Youth is a grass roots community group comprised of young people from Santa Rosa and Sonoma County who have played a central role in organizing demonstrations. In the days after Andy's killing, the news swept across the schools, and justice for him became a crucial issue to the area's youth. 

"I want to thank you guys for setting the example for everyone else," a member of the Brown Berets said to Andy's Youth at a rally at Old Court House Square held at the end of the march. 

"But I want you to be very careful. When you organize in somebody's name, against the oppressive pigs, you automatically put a target on your back. That means anything you do, your friends do, will reflect upon the movement as a whole," he warned. 

The advice was appropriate. As organizers, Andy's Youth have faced harassment at school from teachers and other school officials, as well as from law enforcement officers who patrol their neighborhoods. 

Very little information about Andy's killing has been released by the authorities in Sonoma County, and the community continues to wait for District Attorney Jill Ravitch to announce whether there will be charges filed against Gelhaus. 

What is known, is that within 10 seconds after first seeing Andy, Sheriff Gelhaus shot him seven times. In a press release issued the day of the killing, deputies claimed they first observed Andy walking with "what appeared to be some type of a rifle." After Gelhaus killed him, Sheriffs say they "learned" that the rifle was a replica of an assault weapon and not a real gun. 

From an independent autopsy report, the family was able to find out how many times Andy was shot, and where the bullets entered and his body. 

Bullets entered Andy's body in the following locations: his chest, his left arm, his left wrist, his right wrist, his right buttock, his right lateral buttock, and his lower back. 

During the march on June 7, one demonstrator carried a mannequin that displayed precisely where on Andy's body the shots entered. 

Last week, the Sonoma county Sheriff's Office announced that Michael Schemmel was the deputy who was present with Gelhaus when Andy was killed, and that he did not fire his weapon on that day. 

The Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez continues to call for the indictment of Sonoma County Sheriff's Deputy Erick Gelhaus. 

For more information about the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez, see: 

For more information about Andy's Youth, see: 

Alex Darocy 

Petition - Do Not Bomb, Arm or Send Troops to Iraq!

Will This World Ever Learn

On June 10, 2014 the U.S. Department of State issued a press statement in which it expressed its “deepest concern” about the events that have transpired in Mosul/ Iraq and affirmed its full support for a strong, coordinated response including the provision of “all appropriate assistance … to help ensure that these efforts succeed”. It does not need much imagination to understand the language and the message. Support provided by the US in confronting “urgent threats” of alleged acts of terrorism unavoidably involves coercive force, including the provision of all kinds of arms, munitions and war material. Will this world ever learn? Read the rest of this statement by the Geneva International Centre for Justice at the link below....



Dysfunction Continues with Mystery Censure

There must be a lot of cognitive dissonance at the Press Democrat. Sometimes they come out with great editorials - such as this one - and yet, when it comes time to support candidates for office, they almost always support the very people who run counter to the ideals expressed in their editorials. The Council and the PD Editorial office - a couple of three-ring circuses. See the Press Democrat's editorial at the link below....