War and Peace

May 4, 1970: Kent State Murders 50 Years Ago Today – ‘The Day the World Turned Upside Down’

May 4, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Fifty years ago exactly, on May 4, 1970, was the day the world turned upside down for an entire American generation of young people. It was the day National Guardsmen on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio aimed their M1 rifles at crowds of unarmed demonstrating college students and fired.

15 students were hit by bullets – four of them died either instantly or within minutes and eleven were wounded, one so badly he was maimed for life.

This day, then, stands out – as Pearl Harbor did for an earlier generation, as 9-11 did for a later generation. It was one thing to protest the Cambodian invasion and the war in Vietnam, it was quite another to be shot to death by American soldiers on an American college campus for protesting the wars.

The date May 4, 1970 will forever be associated with the murders of four young people.

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50 Years Since the Rebellion of May of 1970

April 30, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

Introduction to Series

A half century ago exactly, our country was being literally torn apart over the war in Vietnam and its subsequent escalations. Today, the only reference to the Vietnam War is how the number of American deaths from the COVID-19 virus have now exceeded the deaths of US servicemen during the entire Vietnam period.

Yet, history has caught up with us.

Fifty years ago exactly to the day, on April 30, 1970, President Richard Nixon announced to the nation that he had ordered the invasion of Cambodia by US troops. Nixon didn’t call it an “invasion” but it was clear he was expanding the war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, not de-escalating it as he had pledged.

With his announcement, Nixon set off a month-long torrent of protest mainly by college and university students, an intensity never seen before on American campuses.

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Pranksters Paste Donald Trump Jr. Recruitment Posters in Front of Armed Forces Career Center

January 14, 2020 by Source

In an Instagram caption, the two wrote, “We put up some #honestsigns at the Army Recruitment Center. Hopefully we aren’t going to war, but if we did, we know one guy who won’t enlist.”

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It’s Time of ‘Imagine the Unimaginable’

January 14, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

I once taught an upper-division seminar at UC Riverside titled “Strategies of Defense in the Nuclear Age.” The prompt for designing such a course was the simplistic, but serious responses of many undergraduates whenever I asked. “How would you solve this crisis?”

Lots of contemporary crises were available then—just as they are today. The students’ frequent answer: “Nuke ‘em.”

These nonchalant remarks about the devastating power of a nuclear weapon caused me to add a whole section of actual film footage about the human as well as environmental consequences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Trump Threatens War Crimes Against Iran. Congress Must Stop Him.

January 9, 2020 by Source

By Marjorie Cohn

Trump has already committed the crime of aggression against Iran, and he is now threatening to commit a war crime if he carries through on his January 4 promise to target Iran’s cultural sites. The United States has violated the United Nations Charter’s prohibition on the use of military force. This is the time to raise our voices and demand that our congressional representatives put a halt to Trump’s illegal war-making.

It should be clear to any legal analyst that Donald Trump’s catastrophic decision to order the illegal assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani and Iraqi senior military leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis constituted the crime of aggression and violated both the United Nations Charter and the U.S. War Powers Resolution.

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A Tale of Two Generals

January 6, 2020 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Once upon a time there were two generals. One was a fit-looking guy with gray hair, a handsome older face with a square jaw, wearing a nice-looking uniform trimmed in gold braid, decorated with medals and campaign ribbons. The other general was a guy with – well, pretty much the same appearance.

One general worked for Country No. 1, a big, brash, rich, well-armed and -equipped place with millions of patriotic people. The other general worked for Country No. 27 (depending on which Gross Domestic Product (GDP) list you consult). Country No. 27 was not rich; it had some notable armaments and trained soldiers, but it was brash, and its people were very patriotic.

Both countries were involved militarily in countries outside their borders.

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The Real Lesson of Afghanistan Is that Regime Change Does Not Work

December 26, 2019 by Source

A world in which war is normal and peace is out of reach is no more survivable or sustainable than a world where the atmosphere gets hotter every year.

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies / Nation of Change / December 20, 2019

The trove of U.S. “Lessons Learned” documents on Afghanistan published by the Washington Post portrays, in excruciating detail, the anatomy of a failed policy, scandalously hidden from the public for 18 years. The “Lessons Learned” papers, however, are based on the premise that the U.S. and its allies will keep intervening militarily in other countries, and that they must, therefore, learn the lessons of Afghanistan to avoid making the same mistakes in future military occupations.

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The Toll of Endless War on American Veterans

November 11, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

As America’s endless wars grind on, largely out of view, we have become good at bombastic displays of patriotism at ballgames and other public venues, but underneath our ritualized nods to the service of our veterans the unseen psychic toll suffered by those who fight our wars remains mostly invisible.

In fact, in the age of the all-volunteer military, most of us don’t really need to think that much about it.

Still the suffering is deep and pervasive, like it or not. Many of us don’t know that one out of ten homeless people on the street is a veteran (with some estimates putting it much higher). Thus, despite our official love of veterans, as a society we are clearly quite comfortable treating them like disposable people. Think about that the next time you see somebody sleeping in a storefront doorway: perhaps that person risked their life for your country.

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As Trump Aids and Abets Turkey’s War Crimes, the UN Must Act

October 24, 2019 by Source

By Marjorie Cohn / Truthout / Oct. 23, 2019

Nearly two weeks have passed since Turkey launched its ground and air attack on Rojava, the autonomous region of northeast Syria, following Trump’s sudden removal of 1,000 U.S. troops from the area.

While the United States and Turkey reached a “ceasefire” agreement on October 17, there are ongoing reports of violations of the deal. A U.S. official told CNN that Turkish-backed forces broke the ceasefire on its first day, saying that they were either acting beyond the scope of Turkish control or Turkey “didn’t care what they did.” Two U.S. officials said the ceasefire “is not holding.”

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What Makes a War ‘Good’?

July 23, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Since 1896, Ohio voters have picked the winning candidate in all but two presidential elections – 1944 and 1960 – giving rise to the state’s renown as a “bellwether” to which candidates cannot afford to turn a deaf ear. If Ohioans are going to be so influential, maybe we could help inform their future choices by sharing some concerns from the Golden State.

Dear Ohio,

I was wondering if Ohioans could give a little thought to what makes a war “good.”

Your answer might be important as we listen to the increasing thunder of American leadership shaking their fist at passersby on the world stage. After all, wars conceived are not wars remembered.

Our lasting impression of any war is its true outcome. If people could agree about what makes one war good and others bad or even forgotten, it might help us evaluate the use of our military might. That could help us choose our next president.

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Iraq Vows to Stand With Iran if Iran Is Attacked by U.S.

May 29, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

It’s a little-known story that’s not breaking through U.S. mainstream media, but something that Americans need to know:

Iraq’s leaders are vowing to stand with Iran if Iran is attacked by the United States.

Period. Now just grok that for a moment. Iraq will stand with Iran if Trump moves on Iran militarily.

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali al-Hakim made the pledge following talks with his Iranian counterpart.

Hakim said:

“We stand by our neighbor Iran, and economic sanctions are unnecessary and cause great suffering to the Iranian people.”

This is all in the midst of the US government ramping up its rhetoric against what it calls the Iranian threat.

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The Costs of Endless Wars

May 27, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

If you don’t know someone in the military, sometimes it can be easy to forget that the United States has been in a war that never ends since 9/11. As a professor at City College, I see the effects in and out of the classroom as the stream of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and/or dealing with war related health issues continues unabated and is frequently unrecognized by the community.

The same could be said of the skyrocketing suicide rates for active duty military and veterans .

As for the fallen that Memorial Day is meant to remember, the numbers since 9/11 are troubling with 480,000 dead from wars in the Middle East and Asia, including 280,000 civilians, according to a recent study from the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University. Other studies put just the number of Iraqis killed in that conflict at a cold 1,000,000.

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The San Diego Connection If There’s War With Iran

May 23, 2019 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

On May 9 the US Naval Institute reported, “Due to provocative behavior from Iran and new intelligence…US National Security Advisor John Bolton cited {but did not identify}a “number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.”

Subsequently the US Central Command ordered the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln strike force from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, belly up with Iran.

The Navy report also mentioned that the Lincoln, stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, is “set to arrive at its new homeport of San Diego later this year.”

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In Unanimous Vote, House Says No Legal Right to Attack Iran

June 11, 2018 by Source

By Marjorie Cohn / Marjorie Cohn Blog / June 5, 2018

In a little noticed but potentially monumental development, the House of Representatives voted unanimously for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 5515) that says no statute authorizes the use of military force against Iran.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), states, “It is the sense of Congress that the use of the Armed Forces against Iran is not authorized by this Act or any other Act.”

A bipartisan majority of the House adopted the National Defense Authorization Act on May 24, with a vote of 351-66. The bill now moves to the Senate.

If the Senate version

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Fifteen Years Later: Remembering the Invasion Of Baghdad

April 10, 2018 by Source

By Kilian Colin

On April 9, 2003, I woke up to the sounds of bombs.

My bed was shaking and my sister, who was sleeping in the bed next to me, was awake crying and shaking in her bed. It was like an earthquake with very scary sounds. Shards of glass from the windows covered my bed. My parents ran into the room. My father said let’s go downstairs.

We lived in a 1-bedroom apartment on the second floor. We went downstairs and knocked on our neighbor’s door. The neighbor opened the door and let us inside his apartment without saying a word. He was clad only in underwear and held a copy of Quran in his hand. His name was Abo-Allaa.

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US Refusal to Negotiate With Russia Increases Likelihood of Nuclear War

March 20, 2018 by Source

By Marjorie Cohn / Truthout

On March 1, 2018, in his annual state of the nation speech to the Russian Federal Assembly, President Vladimir Putin declared that his country has developed an “invincible” intercontinental cruise missile resistant to US missile defense systems. Putin claimed the new weapon can operate at very high speeds and has unlimited range.

Although “some experts” have suggested Putin may be bluffing, Theodore A. Postol, professor emeritus of science, technology and national security policy at MIT, told Truthout, “I think he’s deadly serious.” Postol, who evaluated Moscow’s anti-ballistic missile defense while serving as adviser to the chief of naval operations in the early 1980s, said Putin’s speech “made very clear that every attempt to engage us in constructive discussion has been met with no response. He was responding to the US unwillingness to talk about missile defenses.”

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50 Years Ago Today – the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam and the American Soldier Who Stopped It

March 16, 2018 by Frank Gormlie

American Soldiers Killed 504 Vietnamese Civilians Including Many Children – It Could Have Been Worse If Helicopter Pilot Hugh Thompson Hadn’t Landed and Threatened to Shoot Other Americans

In today’s Los Angeles Times, progressive professor Jon Wiener wrote an amazing piece about not only the 50th anniversary of the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam on this day but of Hugh Thompson, an Army helicopter pilot who stopped it.

I met Wiener when I was canvasing members of the faculty at UC Irvine to join a union – I knew him as a prolific writer for The Nation magazine back in the Eighties – and I really expected he would be sympathetic and join. He didn’t – too much local politics on campus under the bridge – I think he said. And for years, I resented his decision not to throw his fate in with others on the campus. But today, from one lefty to another, I forgave him – because of this article. He began:

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My Lai Memorial Exhibit Program Comes to San Diego

March 2, 2018 by Source

By San Diego Veterans for Peace

Fifty years ago, American boys, most under 20 years of age, committed unspeakable acts against a civilian hamlet in Vietnam. Over 500 women, children (yes! there were babies!) and old men were slaughtered by American soldiers. Civilian “collateral damage” is a tragic cost of any war; the My Lai massacre only exemplified it at a highly public level.

The San Diego Chapter of Veterans For Peace is named after Hugh C. Thompson, the courageous US Army helicopter pilot who landed his chopper and, along with fellow crewmen, intervened against fellow American troops to end the carnage at My Lai.

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Miramar Air Show, Just Don’t Go!

June 2, 2017 by Source

By Dave Patterson

Summer is around the corner in San Diego and many of us look forward to the annual traditions, like the Miramar Air Show.

This wildly popular event with perhaps 500,000 attendees brings people from all over the world to see the pilots demonstrate their precision flying and perhaps line up purchases of weapons.

Corporate chalets are available where the weapons vendors can “use their company logo and message to reach 500,000 Air Show Attendees, while the military people risk their lives to entertain the crowd.

More sinister is the promotion of war to our youth …

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Think Tank Recommends Universal Draft Registration and Military Testing

May 24, 2017 by Source

By Rick Jahnkow / Draft NOtices

The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) recently released a report on U.S. military personnel policy that, among other things, recommends registering women for the draft and giving all young people the military’s aptitude test when they register.

The report’s title is “Building a F.A.S.T. Force: A Flexible Personnel System for a Modern Military” (F.A.S.T stands for Fully engaged, Adaptable, Sustainable, and Technically proficient). It was created by a BPC task force that includes former Department of Defense officials, retired military officers, and several former U.S. senators.

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San Diego Warships Still Leading the Charge Against North Korea

April 26, 2017 by Michael Steinberg

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

If anything can be believed from anyone in the Trump regime, the US “strike group” led by the the San Diego based aircraft carrier Carl Vinson is indeed heading for the Korean Peninsula.

On Saturday April 23, Trump said, “all options are on the table, ” including a military strike, according to Al Jazera, while VP Mike Pence added to the war fever escalation, stating that the the US warships would be in Korean waters “within days.”

That same day, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told reporters in Greece, where he was visiting:

“We need to issue peaceful and rational words. China is firmly supporting the peaceful de-nuclurerization of the area in the name of stability and peace.”

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Reflections on the Syrian Nerve Gas Bombing and the US Bombing Response

April 18, 2017 by Source

My Reflections on the Syrian Nerve Gas Bombing of April 4th, 2017, the April 7th U.S. Bombing of the Syrian Airbase, and Possibilities for the future!

by Peter Bohmer, April 15, 2017

The evidence has continued to mount that the Syrian air force dropped Sarin gas on Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province in Syria on April 4th, 2017 killing at least 80 people and seriously wounding hundreds. Evidence includes eyewitness accounts, statements by doctors and other medical personnel in Turkey who treated the wounded, statements by various scientific organizations that it was Sarin gas dropped from the air, the past use of Sarin by the Assad regime in 2013 gas and the implausibility and obvious falsehoods of the Russians and Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad about the attack.

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Tyranny at Home – OB Rag Editorial in 1973 During the Days of Nixon and Watergate

February 20, 2017 by Source

Editor: The following is an OB Rag staff editorial from October 1973. It was published during the time of the Nixon administration and the Watergate scandal. As Nixon didn’t resign until August 1974, there were fears of what he would do in the months prior to the resolution of the Constitutional crisis. In reading this editorial written 44 years ago, many of the themes resonate with us today.

tyranny at home …

We of the OB Rag staff are appalled at Richard Nixon’s latest moves at establishing one-man rule n America. Nixon has stepped outside the bounds of his constituted authority … again. He has usurped the powers of the courts by refusing to comply with a court order to release the tapes. More, he has fired the one man, Archibald Cox, who had the legal authority to investigate the White House’s involvement in Watergate.

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Obama Commutes Sentence of Chelsea Manning

January 18, 2017 by Source

President Obama has commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Army intelligence analyst who leaked American military and diplomatic activities in 2010, and who had become a cause celebre over those years. This act likely saved her life.

According to the New York Times:

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The Destruction of Experience: How Ecopsychology Has Failed

January 11, 2017 by Source

Ecopsychology

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

I do not remember the first time I saw my mother’s face, though I know she remembers the first time she saw mine. It was the very beginning of my life, my birth. I do not remember the first time I saw my mother’s face, but, I do remember the first time I saw my mother’s face at what would have been the end of my life after I tried to kill myself.

This is what I’m thinking about as I hold my fifteen-month-old baby nephew Thomas while he falls asleep.

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Veterans For Peace Statement on Syria

January 2, 2017 by Source

Veterans for Peace logo: dove with olive branch superimposed on army helmetBy Veterans for Peace

The war in Syria has been ongoing for five years, with the situation in Aleppo, once Syria’s most populous city, having deteriorated over the past four years into a multi-proxy war and a humanitarian disaster.

We have seen strong disagreements within the peace movement on the reasons behind this war, and on what our response should be. Those disagreements even exist within our ranks. As we struggle through the complexities of the war, we recognize that most of us are far removed from it, fortunate to be safe in our homes and able to voice these disagreements without fear of reprisal.

However, our mission at Veterans For Peace has not changed. We oppose war.

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Remembering Pearl Harbor in the Time of Trump

December 7, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Remembering Pearl Harbor in the Time of Trump

World War II Vets Would Not Have Stood for President-Elect

Remembering this December 7th – Pearl Harbor Day – has special significance for us today in this new Era of Trump. The 75th anniversary of the attack by Japanese forces on US air and naval power in Hawaii in late 1941 finds few surviving members still with us. And our collective memory of “the day of infamy” – as President Franklin Roosevelt declared it the next day before Congress – which pushed the country into World War II – has all but faded.

But yes, we need to remember this day – and all that it represents – all the contradictions of that historic moment and context. And all the parallels from that day to ours today.

Yet this day does have a special meaning for us now -…

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The Night that Democracy Died in America

November 9, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for The Night that Democracy Died in America

Sometime after 2 a.m. eastern standard time – in the middle of the late night, Hillary Clinton – who won the popular vote for President – phoned Donald Trump and made her concession. He had won the electoral vote.

In an historic rebellion of the white, working-class, half of American voters used democratic means to elect a man who does not understand the Constitution, who does not respect the Bill of Rights, and who does not believe in democracy.

It is an irony, then, that a radical regime was voted into power that represents the greatest threat in 40 years to what is left of American democracy. Words do matter. With the threats and promises made by our new President-elect over the course of the last year and a half, it’s clear that not since the time of Richard Nixon have the civil rights of Americans been so openly splayed out on the chopping block as they are now – or will be in a few months.

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OBcean’s 1972 Anti-War Arrest Is Part of La Jolla Photo Exhibit

October 13, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OBcean’s 1972 Anti-War Arrest Is Part of La Jolla Photo Exhibit

OBcean Bob Edwards joined a handful of other former anti-Vietnam war activists at a commemoration of a photo exhibit at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art on Tuesday, October 11th. An exhibit by photographer Fred Lonidier, entitled, “29 Arrests” was on display – as Fred had taken Edwards’ photo at the time of his arrest on May 4, 1972 in front of the 11th Naval District headquarters.

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Activist-Photographer Fred Lonidier’s Photos of 1972 Anti-War Protest Part of Museum of Contemporary Arts Exhibit

October 10, 2016 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Activist-Photographer Fred Lonidier’s Photos of 1972 Anti-War Protest Part of Museum of Contemporary Arts Exhibit

Way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were very active social movements stirring in San Diego – and across the country. Here in San Diego, there was always this one guy -the “movement photographer” on the scene – Fred Lonidier, with his long-lens camera dangling from his neck, always there to record it all.

There was one particular and historic event in May of 1972 where 88 students and supporters were arrested for peacefully sitting down in front of the local Naval District HQ in protest of the Vietnam war. Fred Lonidier was also there – but he only had 29 shots remaining in his camera. So, he took 29 photos of those being arrested that day.

And now those 29 photos are part of a larger exhibit, called The Uses of Photography, currently at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.

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