By Clare Hanrahan
On Wednesday, Dec. 15, with a foot of snow on the ground outside his remote home in Western North Carolina, a determined Kim Carlyle strapped on a pair of Yak Trax and walked the mile down the mountain to the highway where he met Ken Ashe. The two drove to DC to participate in the largest US Veteran-led civil resistance to war, according to Kim's wife, Susan, who was keeping the home fires burning in their rural homestead.
Ken Ashe of Mars Hill and Kim Carlyle of Barnardsville , NC were among the 131 veterans and allies arrested by the United States Park Police at the White House on December 16 in a civil resistance action demanding an immediate end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the release of pfc Bradley Manning, accused of leaking information about US war crimes to Wikileaks.
Both local men were held a few hours at the park police station in Anacostia before being released. At their arraignment, Carlyle refused payment of a $100 fine, choosing instead to return to court on January 4th on the misdemeanor charge. Ashe opted to pay the $100 fine. The veterans breached a police barricade to line up against the White House fence in the blustery snow.
I caught up with them by telephone December 17, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where they stopped for dinner on their way back to North Carolina.
This was the second arrest in DC for Ken Ashe, who said that
the arresting officers were "professional, reasonable and polite." They did not lock to the White House fence,
he said, as the police moved in quickly when they approached.
"They told us to move on, that we couldn't assemble. We just held our ground," Ashe said. One Veteran did manage to lock down to the fence, Elliot Adams, a past president of the national Veterans for Peace used a bicycle lock around his neck that had to be cut off, according to Ashe. Another veteran used a logging chain to lock to a lamppost.
Other arrests on the cold and snowy day included Mike Ferner, National President of VFP, and the entire Board of the national organization. Noted author and former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges, spoke at the rally, as did Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers fame. Both were also arrested at the White House.
Both Carlyle and Ashe are past presidents of Veterans for Peace, Chapter 099, and Kim is editor of the quarterly publication War Crimes Times produced here.
When a government is unjust and no longer serves the people it governs, it is the duty of the governed to resist the entrenched powers and change the course of the society. I can not stand by idly while my government, in my name, continues killing innocents abroad who have done no harm to us. -"Ken Ashe, 828- 400-1145 (tville33 at yahoo.com)
Besides causing untold suffering and destruction, our futile and unending wars distract us from addressing unprecedented humanitarian and planetary crises. To allow war to even exist dishonors the teachers of peace who came before us. To fail to oppose war is to submit to those who make war. I choose to honor the peace teachers; I choose to oppose and resist the warmakers . -- Kim Carlyle, 828-626-2572 (kcarlyle at main.nc.us)