Watch the Powerful Documentary “Hidden Battles” This Weekend for Only $0.99

Thanks to the producers of the documentary Hidden Battles, San Diego Veterans for Peace is able to offer this movie for only $0.99 from Friday, March 30th @ 7pm until Sunday, April 1st @ 7pm. For just $0.99 you can watch the movie anytime during that period.

Hidden Battles is an intimate and powerful look at what it means to actually kill another human being during war, as told by men and women who have pulled the trigger.

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War is not Glamorous

I was saddened when I recently read in the San Diego Union Tribune the following headline: US Soldier Kills 16 Afghan Civilians.

Isn’t it ironic that a few days ago (March 16th) marked the 44th anniversary of the My Lai massacre? On that infamous day, a group of American soldiers systematically killed 500 innocent, Vietnamese women, children and infants in the tiny village of My Lai.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is currently in Afghanistan and has denounced the killings in Kandahar and vows in his words, “to bring this killer to justice. Mr. Panetta plans to deliver this message to President Hamid Karzai and other top Afghan officials.

In all due respect Mr. Panetta, just in case you forgot, his name is Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. Sgt Bales was physically wounded two times and served 3 deployments in Iraq and one deployment in Afghanistan. But Mr. Panetta you already know all this because the Pentagon policy, over which you preside, is to repeatedly send these brave men back into harms way. Sgt Bales did not want to go back a fourth time but he had no choice.

Sgt. Bales emotionally snapped and the consequences of his actions will directly impact hundreds of Afghan family members and friends in a most horrific way. Sgt. Bale’s wife and children will suffer for the rest of their lives and will be haunted by what he did.

You may argue that the following thought is strange or convoluted but I do believe that Sgt. Bales is as much a victim as the people he killed. After three tours of duty I can assure you that he suffered some psychiatric damage and was not fit to go back into combat.

A World War II study found that after 60 days of continuous combat 98% of all soldiers will have become psychiatric casualties. War is death. War wipes out tenderness and delicacy and leaves soldiers emotionally and physically bankrupt. Our military does a disservice to our young impressionable kids when they depict war as glamorous.

Here is what President Dwight D. Eisenhower had to say about the folly of constantly promoting and entering into wars:

“Every gun that is made, every warship that is launched, every rocket that is fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world, in arms, is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, and the hope of its children. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense.”

At this very moment, all of our soldiers in Afghanistan are in grave danger.  Despite the vast array of killing tools our country has had at its disposal, over the last ten years, we have lost the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. Without a doubt, we have unconditionally lost this war. All the Pentagon and military propaganda will no longer convince the American public to think otherwise.

Let’s salvage the most important asset we have in Afghanistan, namely our sons and daughters. Let’s bring them home “right now” and allow them to live with and among their family, friends and loved ones.

Let’s remove the “insanity” from their lives. That is the very least that we can do for them.

War is not Glamorous
Jack Doxey
Vice President of Veterans for Peace
San Diego California Chapter
March 20, 2012

The Impossible Mission

The recent incident of an alleged US soldier murdering 16 Afghan civilians and the burning of some of their corpses, including those of children, in addition to instances of Quran burning and Marines urinating on corpses of insurgents solidified my view that the US troops on the ground will not be able to “win over the hearts and minds” of the Afghan civilians.I think that the vast majority of US troops at all levels of command make a sincere conscientious effort to follow this mission; nevertheless, the latest array of incidents clearly suggests the systemic problem in achieving this goal. Since the success of the military mission is contingent upon the currently adopted strategy of winning the hearts and minds of Afghan civilians, my last hopes of the US military’s ability to stabilize the country and to reduce the civilians’ support for the Taliban, have evaporated.

Our troops are viewed by the local Afghans as an occupying force that brought the war and destruction to their land and the latest incidents only strengthens these views. Moreover, Afghan villagers are afraid of cooperating with foreign troops, for they know that the foreigners will eventually leave and the Taliban will punish those who cooperated. Back in 2009 Major General Michael T. Flynn, the top U.S. intelligence officer in Afghanistan, stated that the Afghan insurgency can sustain itself indefinitely. Just recently Lt. Col. Daniel Davis revealed from his experience on the ground “the absence of success on virtually every level”, and that our leaders are not telling us the truth about what is going on in Afghanistan. Many in Congress are currently revising their views on Afghanistan and I was encouraged to receive a letter from Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53) stating her commitment to ending the combat operations and swift withdrawal of our troops.

Our senior leadership is long overdue for a full range of negotiations with opposition forces in order to integrate them into the Afghan power structure under the guarantee that they will not seek attack on American land, which the Taliban was willing to give back in 2009 in exchange for a deadline of troop withdrawal. To those who find it unacceptable I would like to remind them that, the Taliban never intended to commit the acts of terror in the US regardless of their hosting the al-Qaeda training camps prior to 2001. At that time the Taliban did not want to harm the US, but they are devoted to fight us for as long as we are occupying their land. Ultimately, we cannot fully protect ourselves from those who hate us, but we can learn to make fewer enemies by allowing other nations their self-determination.

SDVFP Freeway Bannering Event Pictures

On Thursday, March 8 2012 members and friends of San Diego Veterans for Peace took part in a freeway bannering event downtown on 6th Street over the busy I-5 overpass. Thanks to Dave Gapp and friend Rob, Barry and friend Bob, Gil, Stan, Daniel, and Patrick we encountered a lot of support during the two hour event.

Jack Doxey’s Letter to the Editor in SD Union Tribune

War Not Glamorous

I was saddened when I read “U.S. soldier kills 16 Afghan civilians” (March 12).

Isn’t it ironic that Friday, March 16, marks the 44th anniversary of the My Lai massacre? On that infamous day, a group of American soldiers systematically murdered 500 innocent, Vietnamese women, children and infants in the tiny village of My Lai. The same dialogue and excuses were given at that time.

From past history, our government knows that this type of behavior is commonplace. Our government also knows, with the greatest amount of certitude, that when you subject a human being to two or three tours of duty that he/she will, in all probability, become emotionally and physically wounded and that, under certain circumstances, will be capable of the most heinous of crimes.

More serious than our policy, is a behavior, on the part of our government, that is brazen, defiant and in your face. Don’t we all remember, before the invasion of Iraq, our rhetoric: “Shock and Awe and Bring Them On” attitude. We have, unconditionally, lost the moral high ground, if we ever had it, in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

Our military and our government consistently betray our kids when they depict war as glamorous. Let us bring them home and allow them to live with and among their family, friends and loved ones. Let’s remove the insanity from their lives.

Click here to see the letter in the San Diego Union Tribune.