Conflict is inevitable. War is not.

Home » Uncategorized » One Veteran for Peace

One Veteran for Peace

Posted on: March 28th, 2014 by BWNWAdmin No Comments

( Note: Admin asked for comments on local activities working for peace. This was the first response.)

Since I’ve never met you, I don’t know what “voice” to utilize as I write this.  I suppose it is a “Letters to the Editor” kind of voice.  Whatever. Jim Schmidt says you are interested in Veterans for Peace (VFP), it’s stated goals, and how they might be achieved.

I’ll introduce my association with Veterans For Peace in a roundabout fashion:  Having been an active member of Vietnam Veterans of America, I was aware of its existence, since we’ve all sent mailers via “snail mail” to maintain contact with our various organizations.  I became more directly involved as a member of Team I of the Veterans Vietnam Restoration Project. We had been involved in building a medical clinic in Vung Tau, on the coast near Saigon in Viet Nam.  It was the first joint Viet Nam – American physical construction project since the fall of the South in 1975.  Since VFP had no budget, save only a budget for T- Shirts, we each got a free T-shirt with the VFP logo on it, and called it a day.

Fast forward almost twenty- five years.   I had been out of contact with VFP, and Vietnam Veterans of America, for that matter,  when Gordon Sturrock and Jack Dresser was attempting to introduce a local Eugene chapter of VFP. Nothing came of it, at least at first, due in no small part to problems of ego.  (It is a gross simplification to say it, but what the hell—Veterans, certainly Vietnam veterans, have schizoid egos: they are at the same time delicate yet rampant:  “This ego fortress must and shall be defended at all costs!”).

Approximately a year later, I fell in with a group of “coffee-klatch commandos” headed by one James Schmidt.  He and a small group of others were attempting to resurrect the local chapter of VFP.

The stated mission of Veterans For Peace is:  Exposing the true costs of war and militarism since 1985; and its motto is: “Organized Locally, Recognized Nationally.” Paid membership includes a quarterly bulletin, and access to VFP products, ostensibly for fund-raising.  But it’s the networking that I consider important.  With the advent of the Afghan and especially Iraq wars, I have felt an isolation which is particularly frustrating to me. Networking reduces that isolation.  In unity there is indeed strength.

Incidentally, the Veterans Viet Nam Restoration Project (VVRP) will have its final mission in April with Team XXIX.  I intend to be on that team:  As a member of Team I, I felt it appropriate that a member of Team I should also be a member of Team XXIX; the first and the last.  And along with a commemorative T- shirt featuring all the teams of VVRP, I will also include a VFP T-shirt with a quote by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander of the forces that liberated Western Europe: “I hate war, as only a soldier who has lived it can, as only one who has seen its BRUTALITY, its FUTILITY, its STUPIDITY.”

Michael E. Peterson

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.