The San Diego Veterans For Peace, Chapter 91, has now embarked on a five-year plan to change public understanding of what the Miramar Air Show is actually all about.
Our homeless veterans are victims of war and as such it requires the full support of our membership and the community at large.
Our active members hold events and participate in several types of activism to further the mission of Veterans For Peace.
VFP United Kingdom is the first international VFP chapter started by veterans who served in the military of a foreign nation.
We are proud to announce that in December 2015 the 2500th sleeping bag set was given out to the homeless in downtown San Diego!
The San Diego Veterans For Peace is now in our second year of working to influence the public away from attending the Miramar Air Show. We view American militarism as a clear and present danger to our society and the world, and the most visible symbol of militarism in San Diego is the annual Miramar Air Show. Every day we read of budget cuts to virtually every aspect of government expenditure except for military spending that keeps on going up. Spending of our tax dollars should be a choice of the citizenry and not left solely to the political-military-industrial complex. However, we believe that the public is being influenced to accept continuous increases in military spending in part, by the display of military power exhibited at the Miramar Air Show.
Costs surrounding military air shows just keep on racking up. As an example, this past year the Air Force crashed a Thunderbird F-16 at a cost of $18.8 million. Luckily no one died, but when the next accident happens, those of us living near the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar may not be so lucky. To date, 10% of the pilots who train and fly for the Blue Angels have been in fatal accidents. This is an unacceptable cost for the military and for their families. The V-22 Osprey that regularly performs at the Miramar Air Show is fast becoming known for its frequent crashes. As of this writing there have been 39 V-22 fatalities with three more assumed dead off the Australian coast. Every time there is there is an accident, the military dictates some changes that they say lessens the risk factor, but the accidents keep happening. We hope that an accident doesn’t occur here in San Diego and we suggest the people consider ahead of time how they might deal emotionally with the death of an aircrew, the injury or death of people on the ground, and the destruction of an F-18 aircraft that cost $50 million. It is not rational to assume all this risk solely for entertainment purposes. If an accident happens, are we to be callous and walk away, telling ourselves that the military people killed were volunteers, so no big deal? Recently a Navy Seal, trained at incredible expense, was killed entertaining a crowd in New Jersey when his parachute failed to open properly. Do we accept this? Clearly, sending our military to risk their lives to protect us is one thing, to please a crowd is insanity.
We also need to ask the question, “Is the air show solely for entertainment?” The Miramar Air Show web site boasts that 500,000 people attend the air show every year, but they don’t tell us which military contractors participate by renting luxury chalets right up front. In those chalets, the government contractors can, according to the air show webpage, “entertain and network with clients”. The manufacturers and contractors make obscene profits from selling the government war goods and then use some of those profits to enjoy shaded seats with fabulous food and beverages. Meanwhile the military people participating in the air show risk their lives to entertain. That risk is clear to anyone who understands military operations. Rappelling from hovering helicopters, simulating ground assaults, and flying low while simulating strafing runs are hazards that we cannot afford, except for training and combat. These activities should not be used for entertaining military contractors making deals.
There is a third and disturbing aspect of the Miramar Air Show that worries us deeply. Our children are being brainwashed because the Miramar Air Show glorifies war. It makes war look cool, fun and interesting. What we see is a deliberate push by the military to convince our young children to buy into wars that our politicians will dream up in the future. Our children are being dazzled with weapons and air displays. The powerful effect on our children can clearly be seen in a YouTube documentary by Chris Smiley, “Disneyland of War, short documentary”. Ironically this video, about the Miramar Air Show, should not be watched by children!
We ask the readers to watch it and ask yourself, is this what we intended for our children?
While all the noise and firepower can be exhilarating, the members of San Diego Veterans For Peace believe that there is no reason to risk our people and equipment for a weekend entertainment activity. Let’s get serious and let the people that run this air show know that we disapprove, by refusing to attend. The Miramar Air Show, just don’t go!
NoMAS coordinator and past President, San Diego Veterans For Peace
The San Diego Veterans For Peace Compassion Campaign, an outreach effort to give a sleeping bag set to each of the 9000+ homeless in San Diego, began in December 2010 and continues indefinitely.
The outreach effort began after active veterans in the San Diego Veterans For Peace chapter became alarmed at the life-threatening living conditions homeless veterans and others endure on the streets and under the interstate overpasses in downtown San Diego.
Once learning from homeless veterans on the street that every homeless person in San Diego needed a sleeping bag, a waterproof poncho, and a waterproof stuff sack, the San Diego chapter began seeking donations and purchasing and delivering sleeping bags sets to the homeless. Bag sets are always hand delivered, with each person receiving a set being evaluated for true need. Chapter veterans go out in 2 or 3 car caravans late at night and also hand out used clothing, water, and food that is donated by members, friends, and generous people in the community.The cost to the chapter of sleeping bags sets, originally $35 wholesale, was lowered to $27 per set in mid-2011 after chapter members were able to buy all products directly from the Coleman Company in Colorado, instead of locally from several vendors in San Diego and Los Angeles.
Updated 12/5/2016: San Diego Veterans For Peace has given out over 2,700 bag sets at an average cost of $33 per set. Click the link below to donate now!