Thursday, November 10, 2016



What’s at stake:  seeking the end of wars, not celebrating wars and warriors and continuing wars.  Say NO to the US Culture of Chaos.  

Contents:  Armistice Day Newsletter #10, Nov. 11, 2016
Sign Up for the Armistice Day Thunderclap!
Sign Up for the #ReclaimArmisticeDay Thunderclap, which will go out on November 11th at 11am with a message "#PeaceIsPossible - Celebrating peace, not war, is the best way to honor veterans"

      The UN called for the International Culture of Peace Decade (2000-2010), attempted to define the Culture of War and the Culture of Peace, and to move away from a war culture to a peace culture.
     But we cannot make this change so long as we celebrate the myths represented by the US official ceremonial Days, many of which, such as Veterans Day, directly support wars and preparations for wars.  We are a militaristic and imperial nation partly because the public is conditioned to accept violence and wars through the many patriotic days.

     George Orwell wrote in 1984:  "Everything faded into mist. The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became the truth”—for example, that wars are inevitable, that our species is inherently violent, that the US makes mistakes but is mainly benign, and that Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day.     Much of the peace movement’s work in building a Culture of Peace involves the struggle to reinforce peaceful values despite the pervasive repetition of numerous nationalistic war myths.  In behavioral psychology, we are what we do.   Most of the public accepts the messages of special Days (Daze?) and holidays that promote the US Security State, because they don’t see it (we’re not Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union), and anyway overwhelming military force is necessary for our security, never mind it was we who have attacked other nations, and since the War of 1812 have been attacked by another nation only one more time, at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941.  

Why doesn't the US observe Armistice Day? We're more comfortable with war than peace

Rory Fanning (also Reprinted in Peace in Our Times)
I get angry and frustrated with each Veterans Day because it’s less about celebrating veterans than easing the guilty conscience of warmongers
 Staff Sgt Camilo Mejia sought to be declared a conscientious objector in 2004 after he saw civilians killed in Iraq.
On Tuesday, the United States should be celebrating its 95th Armistice Day, pausing as a nation to think about the terrible costs of war – including the loss of so many lives. Unfortunately, we replaced it with a very different holiday.
On 1 June 1954, less than a year after America exited the Korean War in defeat, the US congress got rid of Armistice Day, which was established in 1919, and started Veterans Day. In place of what had been a celebration of peace, Congress instituted an annual veneration of those who fought in war. America would ever after celebrate not the beauty of peace, but its purveyors of state violence in World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Grenada, Kosovo, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and more.
Governments had meant to do the opposite in 1919: if you go back and read the newspapers of the time closely enough, you can almost hear the collective sigh of relief and jubilation on the first Armistice Day. Millions celebrated peace and renounced war on that November day, a year after the violence in Europe had ended: after the mustard gas stopped burning off soldiers’ skin; after Gatling guns stopped mowing down young boys from mostly poor and working class families; after fighter planes stopped streaking the sky; and after bloody bayonets were wiped clean. In the wake of so much carnage, it was then clear to millions of people that wars were not about valour or romantic ideals, but about empire, which benefits a few at the expense of many.
It took only two more wars fighting for empire before the Americans buried that day’s history as a celebration of peace.
Kurt Vonnegut, a World War II veteran, wrote in 1973:
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not. So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.
Armistice Day was sacred because it was intended to evoke memories of fear, pain, suffering, military incompetence, greed and destruction on the grandest scale for those who had participated in war, directly and indirectly. Armistice Day was a hallowed anniversary because it was supposed to protect future life from future wars.
Veterans Day, instead, celebrates “heroes” and encourages others to dream of playing the hero themselves, covering themselves in valour. But becoming a “hero” means going off to kill and be killed in a future war – or one of our government’s current, unending wars.
I am more angry and frustrated with each passing Veterans Day – this is my tenth since leaving the US Army Rangers as a conscientious objector – because it gets clearer and clearer that Veteran’s Day is less about honouring veterans than it is about easing the guilty consciences of those who have sent (and continue to send) others to kill and die for reasons that have very little to do with democracy or freedom. I can’t seem to shake the feeling that the day is more of a slap in the face than a pat on the back to those who served, despite the endless thank yous, parades, and concerts supposedly held in our honour.
This might be the biggest Veterans Day yet: Metallica, Rihanna, Eminem and Bruce Springsteen are headlining a huge Concert for Valor on the National Mall in Washington DC, sponsored by Chase Bank, Starbucks and HBO. Hundreds of smaller parades, ceremonies, sporting events and concerts will be held across the country in the shadow of the 14th year of the Global War on Terror.
The Armistice-turned-Veterans Day celebrations will be held in a country that has 668 military bases around the globe. They will be held in a country that has conducted military operations in two-thirds of the world’s countries since 9/11. They will be held in a county that spends three quarters of a trillion dollars each year on its military – more than the next thirteen countries combined. They will be held in a country that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives around the world these past 14-years, and which shows no sign of slowing down.
What do the millions of people inAfghanistan, Iraq and many othercountries who have lost loved ones to America’s wars think of these celebrations? What should veterans coping with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, dealing with traumatic injuries or struggling with chronicunemployment think of these events? What do the families of those soldiers and veterans who have taken their own lives feel?
I suspect it’ll be difficult to even hear those questions in your head while Metallica is shredding on stage – and maybe that’s the point.
Still, many soldiers are beginning to question America’s wars and their tolls at home and abroad. According to journalist Matt Kennard, more than 40,000 US soldiers have declared their own personal Armistice Days by becoming conscientious objectors since 9/11 – and I was one of them.
Once I left the military as a conscientious objector and began speaking about it, the personal “thank-yous” from strangers started to dry up – apparently, it’s more heroic to kill people under orders than to demand that you be allowed to stop. But there are many ways to cover yourself in valour and act the hero, even if there’s only one way sanctioned by a federal holiday.
If we really wanted to honour veterans, we would abolish Veterans Day and replace it with a day that celebrates peace, not war. Peace is a better way to honour the sacrifice of veterans like me than a day designed to recruit the next generation of soldiers we’ll have to thank for their service in yet another war.

Friday, November 13, 2015
Veterans Ring Bells For Peace on Armistice Day blossoming campaign to reclaim Veterans Day, November 11, as Armistice Day, a day to end all wars, could not have been timelier.  The apparently deliberate U.S. bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan and worldwide demands for an independent investigation have been met with stonewalling by the U.S. military and a decision by President Obama to prolong the occupation of Afghanistan beyond his presidency.  The entrance of Russian warplanes into the war in Syria has been met by Obama’s announcement that U.S. troops (aka “advisers”) will be deployed on Syrian territory.  The U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan have created a disaster throughout the Middle East, turning millions of people into homeless refugees desperately seeking a safe haven for their families. <Full statement>

World Beyond War  11-11-15 via 
Nov 11 (1 day ago)
to me
In the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, remember that moment 97 years ago when they blew a whistle and ceased killing at an agreed upon moment. Armistice Day was created to celebrate the ending of World War One and to work for the ending of all war.
Find events all over the world today and this week here.
Read and share: 
Time is running out. We relaunched this campaign in response to popular demand, but we cannot do so again. It is about to end for good. Get yours now at

ARKANSAS MILITARISM : A Sample.  See the newsletter on the subject. 
Senator Tom Cotton; University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Monuments in Bella Vista and Farmington; Naming a Post Office; LTE.

A Veterans Day Message from Tom
Senator Tom Cotton  Unsubscribe
Nov 11 (1 day ago)
to me  11-11-15
November 11, 2015

Dear Professor Dick Bennett,

 Veterans Day Message from Tom
Today we honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans and thank them for their service to our country. These brave men and women put their country and fellow Americans ahead of themselves. Their contribution to our lives cannot be overstated. 
As the proud son and grandson of veterans, and as a veteran myself, this day has special meaning to me and my family—just as it does to so many Americans. I understand not only the difficulties our troops face while serving in the military, but also the hardships endured by the families at home while their loved ones are serving. I also know the struggles many veterans face when they return home. We must provide our veterans with the resources, care, and support they deserve.
We each pray that our troops will not again be called into battle.  Our veterans in particular seek peace, because they know the depredations of war.  Yet they also know something deeper, in the words of John Stuart Mill:
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things.  The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.  The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
So today and every day, let us remember our veterans and the cause for which they fought.
Best regards,
Tom Cotton

Let’s go to the impressive quotation from Mill.  I was suspicious of it immediately, not because I thought it fabricated, but because I have read some Mill and know he usually qualifies assertions considerably.   Here is Mill’s fuller statement highlighted to show what had been omitted in his letter to constituents.  I do not think Senator Cotton altered the quotation or omitted its source to make his case more persuasive by deception, but rather I suspect he found the quotation he employed where I did also—in the online International Military Forums.  Someone there omitted three out of five sentences from the essay first published in “The Contest in America,” Fraser’s Magazine (Feb. 1862).

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.   "The Contest in America," Fraser’s Magazine (February 1862); later published in Dissertations and Discussions (1868), vol.1 p. 26

     One can see at once that Mill is talking about Just War, and that any other war degrades the participants.  The qualifying second and third sentences require us to examine wars critically, for just wars are rare.  The second sentence applies emphatically to the Iraq War, which was based upon fabrications by a small group of officials in the Bush administration who wished to control Middle Eastern oil; but the motivations of other US wars since WWII deserve questioning.   Mill clearly abhors any war in which the people are used as killers in an unjust cause.
      In the essay in which the full quotation appears, Mill declares his support for a specific side in a specific war--for the North during the US Civil War.   In contrast, Cotton’s letter with the truncated version of Mill’s statement supports all US veterans and by implication all US wars, without considering whether they had been used for the selfish purposes of a president and his advisers for unjust wars, which degrades soldiers.  The problem with the US wars since WWII is not a decayed patriotism, not a reluctance but the jingoistic eagerness to go to war, without thorough demonstration of their justice.  But the justice of the wars promulgated by US leaders of both Parties, the invasions and bombings and occupations, since WWII will not stand close scrutiny as Just Wars.

Veterans Day: Military recruiters talk with students during a Veterans Career Fair at the Arkansas Union. Today is Veterans Day, and the Arkansas Alumni Association will ring the Bill and Jo Ella Toller Celebration Bell at the Janelle Y. Hembree Alumni House for 11 minutes at 11 a.m. today in honor of the nation's veterans. Meanwhile, Razorback Athletics will turn the stadium green to support the troops and is calling on fans to trade their cardinal colors for the green for the day. Other events saluting the men and women who have served in our armed services include a morning breakfast and a evening banquet featuring Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin as guest speaker. #UARKLife @UArkResearch
Opposition to UofA conformity to US militarism is difficult given the power of the Military-Corporate-Congressional-White House-Mainstream Media--Imperial Complex, but if enough students spoke up we might oppose and win against our university’s support of Pentagon disinformation.    The announcement above contains two egregious falsehoods about “Veterans Day.”   The Celebration Bell is rung throughout the world, and was rung in the US until recently, for the 11th minute, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918 when WWI ended.  The Ringing of the Bell was and should be for ending war and embracing peace, not for celebrating warriors.   And regardless of the color of some of the uniforms, green is an emphatically inappropriate symbol for the military, which pulverizes and pollutes the planet, runs over and bombs all species, more than any other single global institution.   Red is the appropriate color for Veterans Day.   Green is an expected choice for all who wish to deceive by washing the red green. 

 “Wall Work.”  A photo of a repairman working on the Wall of Honor.   NADG (Oct. 26, 2016).  
In Bella Vista, you will find the Veterans Wall of Honor, which cost the Veterans Council of Northwest Arkansas about $700,000 to construct.  Now the Council is raising $300,000 for a Veterans Park on land adjacent.  Arkansas may be a poor and religious state, but although its services for homeless people or battered women are unequally distributed, for example, it has ample funds for the patriotic honoring of warriors.

“Honoring Veterans.”  NADG (Dec. 18, 2013).  Photo with caption.
Farmington Senior Center will soon have a memorial to honor veterans thanks to the Farmington Veterans Memorial Committee with the City of Farmington, paid for through fundraisers and donations.  I read once that after WWI every town and city in France had a memorial for their killed listing their names.  Eventually the US is likely to have the same……and a federal cemetery not far away.

Frank Fellone.  “Late SEAL’s Name Goes on Post Office.”  NADG Oct. 25, 2016). 
     An admiring eulogy for Adam Brown:  “Determined. Spiritual.  Redeemed. And Fearless.”  Brown died in combat in Afghanistan in 2010.  Some 200 people gathered at the Hot Springs convention Center to honor Brown as a US Post Office was renamed in his honor.   Redeemed?  To have a PO named for you, you must be redeemed?  I don’t doubt his physical fearlessness, but a social worker with fifty youth to nurture must surely be equally courageous, or anyone who defies group conformity.

Letters to the Editor.
My box just for patriotic letters attesting to the writer’s undying loyalty to the loyal brave freedom fighters, US troops, who served to protect us from invaders, is full.   Here’s a sample: “Worthy of Praise” by Phillip Rambin (6-25-13).  The letter ends: “To the duty and devotion of the past, present and future generations of military personnel, I proudly salute you!”    The writer is right in one thing: since 1941 the US has been engaged in a sequence of wars (Grenada, Guatemala, Vietnam, Iraq, now bombing seven nations).  But the wars were not, are not now, in defense of the USA; only one was needed or legal.   Let us all hope our leaders will cease invading and bombing, and not every town will have a memorial to the troops and a burgeoning federal cemetery nearby.

First, make Ms. Marple your model, who says in every episode of Ms. Marple Mysteries, “There’s something missing you know.”   Be a critical thinker.  She questioned everyone’s story.  Let us question the Veterans Day narrative and choose Armistice Day.
Spread OMNI’s NATIONAL DAYS Project.   Trumpet the peace, justice, and ecology DAYS.   Say NO to the war, injustice, destroy nature DAYS.   Tuba the New Days. 
Carry a sign for 11-11-11!
Closely check every letter from your congressional representative, and reply to disinformation.
The Pentagon has captured the word “service” for its exclusive advantage.  Stop using the word to refer to warriors, and transfer it to teachers or park rangers or nurses.  What service were you in?  Farming!
The next time someone overcome by patriotic effusion starts to build another monument to war, try to replace it by a monument to peacemakers, who are actually most people.   But don’t call it a monument or build a wall!   Rather,  locate a beautiful natural place for A Remembrance of Real Protectors Life.  Sing for Peace.  
On 11/11/11/ ring in bells for peace, justice, life. “Ring Out Wild Bells.”

Contents: Armistice DAY Newsletter #9, Nov. 11, 2015
Veterans for Peace VfP
War Resisters League WRL
Iraq Veterans Against War IVAW
Vietnam War Whitewash
Noam Chomsky, US History of Terrorism
Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich, the Distortions Caused by 9/11
Dick, Support the Troops?


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Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

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