…. There are many groups made up of veterans now working against the war in Iraq and for peace – which is not the same thing. Groups and individuals are gathered there to talk and work. Issues include the continued impact of toxic substances on the victims of war, impeachment, ending the present war in Iraq, countering attempts of the Bush Administration to glamorize war to suck in young people, providing real help for the people of Iraq now and later.
A cessation of the present assault on Iraq will not bring peace. Peace is not just the absence of violence, it is a dynamic state wherein individuals stop using violence, coercion, or deceit to obtain their goals. Instead of enabling and rewarding these means, the institutions of our culture should build strong disincentives. Instead, as we see so prominently today, liars always prosper.
Lies, coercion, and violence are the common currency of our government and the "greed corporations" today. It has been getting worse for a long time now.
After the war in Vietnam ended over there, the war against veterans continued here in America.
There has been a continuous barrage of quiet war against both veterans and all Americans for generations. Like the photo of the little girl in Vietnam ravaged by Napalm, this continued war is not a single incident or a mistake. Think of it instead as a corporate strategy that uses war as a tool for profit.
And while corporations use our government to augment their profits using war to justify buying the death they rain around the world, we must remember who is paying the bill. If you have any doubts look at every bill you pay and notice the tax.
We were taught that America was saved from the Depression by war. That is another lie in a long string of lies that leads back to the mercantilism that begot this world, shredded by violence, rage, and death. Taxation is theft. Greed corporations just get government to do it for them — a habit born with the mercantilism alive and well at the time of the American Revolution.
Peace is another matter. The corporate state despises peace because when we live in real peace there is no fear. People prosper, raising their children, building their communities, worshiping, loving, and realizing their dreams.
A peaceful people do not spend money on Napalm. They have time to look more deeply into the world around them, notice wrongs and right them.
Therefore, peace is what government and corporations fear most. The cacophony of violence fostered by those now in power keeps us from noticing. When you are treading water in shark infested water you do not think about the fact the IRS put a lien on your home.
We have let peace slip through our hands by misunderstanding what peace really is.
Peace is justice because, without the healing justice brings, peace cannot take root in our hearts and we cannot forgive.
Peace is making sure that no one is left out because each of us matters.
Peace is living in community with others using honesty, persuasion, and kindness, and speaking a loud NO to deceit, coercion, and violence.
As individuals, we can choose to do that. The next step on that path is to stop letting government use deceit, coercion, and force in our names. To do that we need to enact justice so peace can find a place in all our hearts.
Justice for our military is one step on that path. Both veterans and active military are desperately in need of simple justice, and yet that justice remains beyond their grasp. Benefits promised have been withheld to augment the profits of this administration and its cohort of greedy corporate friends.
What is needed is accountability.
Here is a proposal that can awaken Americans to what is happening to those who have served and suffered. Please help us make this happen for all of us.
Peace be with you.
Justice for Veterans
Veterans face growing anguish and frustration over a system positions itself as the only means available for obtaining the services and benefits promised to them as a condition of their military service. But at the same time they confront the reality that the same system views them as costs to be minimized. To those now running the military they are not individuals who are owed the benefits promised, they are the enemy.
What has happened is this.
The system that provides a military for the United States once operated on an organizational model that assumed that benefits promised must be provided. That same system, funded by taxpayer dollars dedicated to defense, ignored the costs because the benefits were viewed as expenses already spent. Those promises had to be redeemed so the books would balance.
That was how government worked. No one expected it to generate profits. It was viewed as a large service center, carrying out the functions, for instance defense, entrusted to it by Congress and the President acting on behalf of the people who elected them.
That was appropriate and honorable. It never worked very well, but those involved were well intentioned.
Then a different philosophical point of view was introduced, making its argument from the viewpoint of "profitability." These people, few of them ever having served in the military, gave us outsourcing and privatizing. They viewed former military who needed benefits or active military as an expense to be lowered in any way possible. They were very inventive.
Stalling, forcing veterans to jump through hoops, ensured that those most in need could be waited to death. Rewriting the rules, changing definitions, ignoring the causes of diseases caused by conditions brought on by things like Agent Orange allowed them to slide out from under the problems caused by the service given at great cost by our military.
Waves of shock and despair began to impact veterans seeking promised benefits desperately needed.
This new management team also looked at and used the oath taken by every man and woman who signs on to serve their country. This team, think of them as Team Profit, decided that the oath allowed them complete control. They could do anything, ignore any promise, because the veteran had to obey; veterans and military active service have no recourse, they thought
This is a form of racketeering, installed intentionally to use the loyalty and honor of individual military to silence them and deny them the benefits they were promised.
It was a moral watershed for America that most of us did not see. Team Greed probably got bonuses.
But their actions were and are criminal.
Those responsible are acting under color of law and authority to defraud. Those benefiting are numerous. The corporations who clamored for contracts; the lobbyists who sold the changes to Congress; the political parties who accepted bribes (donations) from the eager corporations. Those in Congress, the White House, and those they hired or appointed also share blame.
Because of this we need to take action.
This chain of causality must be documented. "Acts and Facts" need to be registered online for all to see. The methods used to defraud, from the "Wait to Death Strategy" to the "Redefine your Condition," to all the other nasty little tricks used on veterans who are already worried and afraid need to be given the faces of those who experienced them. We need to tell the stories of veterans while at the same time showing the outline of the profit strategy that caused them to take place.
That is one step.
At the same time we need to understand why this is clearly illegal.
You cannot ask anyone to sign a contract like the one they now assert exists for military service. The power of the two parties is too unequal; there is no recourse and that is intentional. Most of those signing, enlisting, could not have gotten a credit card. They could not make a valid contract of this kind.
Therefore, it is entirely invalid.
Veterans and active military are not bound; those harmed have a cause of action. So do those who are forced to provide for their needs because the promises made were not met.
Wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, children, aunts, uncles, communities. All of these have been forced to pay for what was to have been provided through taxes already paid. They are, therefore, paying twice. They also are victims and have cause of action.
This is a large, systemic problem. Solving it involves the following:
Document it. Those "Acts and Facts." The human stories that the Team Greed has caused. Put their names online. Show how they have cooperated and profited from this outrage.
Then we begin to file lawsuits naming the perpetrators.
Ten thousand lawsuits will disturb them. But each suit will have a name, a face, a body of fact and be absolutely correct in form and citings. 100,000 such lawsuits will destroy the system they use to shackle us.
We have been taught to believe that we need to look up for answers. That was never true. The answers are in us.
What seems impossible has never been closer to fruition. The human world in which we live is constructed of ideas and faith, held in place by what we believe possible. Peace and justice are possible, between us and with the Earth. Believe and act now.