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Veterans' Group to Members: Multiply Resistance by any Peaceful Means Available

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Headlined to H2 10/28/09
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In a statement today directed to the U.S. House of Representatives, President Obama and its membership, Veterans For Peace urged its chapters to demonstrate opposition to the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan by doing two things:

1) Take the actions listed below within the next several days, before President Obama decides to escalate the war in Afghanistan, and

2) Plan acts of even greater resistance during the two days following any such decision.

Continue writing and calling our representatives and demanding peace.

If we've done that: take to the streets

If we've done that: sit down in the streets

If we've done that: sit down in Congressional offices

If we've done that: sit down, clog up, incapacitate, call in sick, withdraw consent and generally bring the nation's business to a halt, wherever and whenever we can, with any peaceful means available.

To President Obama and the House of Representatives:

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.

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Mike Ferner is a writer from Ohio, former president of Veterans For Peace and author of "Inside the Red Zone: A Veteran For Peace Reports from Iraq." (Praeger)
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