Logo from VFP
Dear Secretary Hagel,
on your confirmation to the office of Secretary of Defense. As you take the reins of this new position , I would like to express to you some ideas about what I
would like to see from this office. I am
a member of an organization called Veterans For Peace (VFP), which has been
around since 1985. VFP was formed by a
1. Refuse to put troops into harm's way as part of an illegal, immoral war of aggression. The 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), signed as a knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 has been used first by the Bush administration and now by the Obama administration as a blank check for perpetual war. As the Secretary of Defense, you should refuse to deploy any combat troops until Congress provides a legally binding authorization to do so. As a combat veteran, you truly understand that no one should be asked to kill or be killed for a war of choice, particularly one that has not even been legally authorized. Demand adherence to the War Powers Act.
responsibility for the deaths, damage and harm done by the U.S. The "Collateral Murder" video
leaked to Wikileaks showed the world just one instance of war crimes conducted
unequivocally that the
4. Stop the
illegal use of combat drones that are responsible for the extrajudicial
assassinations of thousands of civilians in
5. Call for
the closure of all
6. Call for
the dismantlement of all nuclear weapons, and immediately take nuclear
weapons off of naval vessels. There can
never be a justified use of a nuclear weapon and if the
7. Stop the
use of Depleted Uranium weapons. "DU" weapons violate the Geneva
Conventions. Once exploded, DU
particulates enter ground water, travel on air currents, and are inhaled by
innocent civilians. DU weapons are
responsible for a huge spike in deformities, birth defects and other ailments
8. End foreign military sales to countries who violate international laws and basic human rights, and who have child soldiers.
9. Push to become a signatory to the Land Mine treaty. The international community recognizes land mines and cluster bombs as weapons that kill a high number of civilians, often long after the "official" conflict is over.
10. Slash the Pentagon budget. The
In summary, I hope that you will use your unique qualifications and experience to push this administration into adherence with international law. I urge you, as a fellow veteran, to use your voice, your influence, and your power to guide and inform this administration towards a new type of Department of "Defense," one that uses military force only for its actual defense.
Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret), Past President, Veterans For Peace
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