Tuesday, February 24, 2015

...probably one of the best propaganda films Hollywood has ever made.

American Sniper 
 from Mike Hastie

I slept pretty well last night when I found out that the film American Sniper did not win best picture at the Academy Awards. I also believe that 58,000 American soldiers who were killed in Vietnam
also slept well. A Vietnam veteran poet friend of mine by the name of Nicholas James Weber, had this to say about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., otherwise known as "The Wall" (He wrote these words shortly after the U.S. Government started bombing Iraq in March of 2003):

As God walks atop this wall and weeps,
I hear him say, " These were my sons."
The sound of his tears fall silenced, as
hands are washed in the Potomac, and
it runs red with waste.
The Pontius Pilates of the new Rome,
repeat history on full automatic.

This is why the film, American Sniper was such a lie, and always will be. I saw the film, because I wanted to know what the American people were seeing. It is probably one of the best propaganda
films Hollywood has ever made. It is all about God and Country, and the myth that America is spreading freedom and democracy in Iraq, and throughout the Middle East. The audience is duped into believing that Chris Kyle was an American hero, who saved the lives of countless Marines with his expert marksmanship in killing the bad guys before they killed Americans. And, Arabs are always portrayed as savages throughout the film. The only good Indian is a dead Indian.

The film never explores why the U.S.was ever in Iraq in the first place. This is always left out in propaganda."For the love of money is the root of all evil."

America has a War Economy and unless select Americans are dying for this cause the "American Way Of Life" falls apart. Since the end of WWII, the U.S. Government has bombed 29 countries.

In his documentary, Fear Not The Path of Truth ( A Veteran's Journey After Fallujah ), Ross Caputi, a combat soldier in the 2nd siege of Fallujah in November of 2004, interviewed Noam Chomsky.
Chomsky stated in this interview: 
"By every standard, Fallujah was a crime."

Chomsky also had this to say about the Vietnam War during the same interview:

"The entire Vietnam War was an atrocity. The My Lai Massacre was just an afterthought."

This is the great truth that has great silence, as far as what really happened in Vietnam and Iraq.
This is what the American people cannot face,because it would dismantle their belief system. Whenever the truth threatens one's core beliefs, there is an urgent instinct to deny its reality. 
Clint Eastwood's film is a continuous betrayal of all I felt when I came back from Vietnam. Lying is the most powerful weapon in war. This is the internal hemorrhage that almost killed me. It so often reminds me of the words of Malcolm X:
"The only thing worse than death is betrayal."

More Vietnam veterans have committed suicide than were killed in Vietnam.Many of my friends did not die in Vietnam, but as a result of being there. A very close vet friend of mine hung himself in
a motel room several years ago. One of the last things I experienced before I left Vietnam, was trying to save the life of an American soldier who blew his brains out with his M-16. Or, the day I unzipped a body bag to look at the face of an American soldier who shot himself in the head with a pistol.

Twenty-two American veterans commit suicide everyday across this country. I believe the suicide rate among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans will be extremely high as the years go by.

I have read many reviews about the film American Sniper most of them critical. As a Vietnam veteran, I want to focus on the vast majority of the iceberg that is under water. I can think of no better way to end this writing than to quote one of the greatest antiwar novels ever written. The book was written about WWI. It is titled Johnny Got His Gun and its author is Dalton Trumbo.

If the thing they were fighting for was important enough to die for then it was also important enough for them to be thinking about it in the last minutes of their lives. That stood to reason. Life is awfully important so if you've given it away you'd ought to think with all your mind in the last moments of your life about the thing you traded it for. So, did all those kids die thinking of democracy and freedom and liberty and honor and the safety of the home and the stars and stripes forever?

You're goddamn right they didn't.

Mike Hastie
Army Medic Vietnam
February 23, 2015

Photograph by Mike Hastie
Boys on flatbed truck at Veterans
Day Parade in Albany, Oregon 1993.

Monday, January 26, 2015

American Sniper reflects American War Culture

Fallujah veteran and former Marine Ross Caputi
Chris Kyle built his reputation as a sniper during one of the most criminal operations of the entire occupation of Iraq, the 2nd siege of Fallujah.
What American Sniper offers us — more than a heart-wrenching tale about Chris Kyle’s struggle to be a soldier, a husband, and a father; more than an action packed story about America’s most lethal sniper — is an exposure of the often hidden side of American war culture. The criminality that has characterized American military engagements since the American Indian Wars, and most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan, is hardly noticeable in this film. And that’s exactly my point...

Read Ross Caputi's insightful article.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Prosecute torturers -- sign the petiton

Sign the petition

SB in Baltimore writes: I work overseas and the torture done by the U.S. and the continued existence of the prison at Guantanamo are a stain on this country's reputation as a democratic society. All citizens of this country would hopefully be in accord with this.

That's why I created a petition to President Barack Obama, which says:

"Given that 1) waterboarding is torture and torture is a war crime without a statute of limitations and 2) a basic tenet of American democracy is that all persons are equal before the law, therefore we the undersigned request the Attorney General to begin criminal proceedings for those who justified, approved or did torture during the George W. Bush Administration."

Will you sign my petition? Click here to add your name: 

Sign the petition

Customary international humanitarian law Rule 158. States must investigate war crimes allegedly committed by their nationals or armed forces, or on their territory, and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects. They must also investigate other war crimes over which they have jurisdiction and, if appropriate, prosecute the suspects.  (In other words, it's a crime to not prosecute war criminals.)

Sign the petition.  


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Golden Rule Peace Boat Project

from AJ (Skip) Oliver, Golden Rule Committee:

Golden Rule in Hawaii 1958
This project aims to advance VFP's opposition to nuclear weapons and war, and to do so in a very memorable and intriguing way. We have recovered and are restoring the original peace boat, the Golden Rule, that first sailed in 1958 to stop nuclear testing in the atmosphere, and which inspired generations of peace makers and peace ships that followed. The restored Golden Rule will voyage once more, to show that a nuclear peace is possible, and that bravery and tenacity can overcome militarism.  


In 1958, a crew of anti-nuclear weapons activists set sail from San Pedro, California, in an attempt to interpose themselves and the boat between the U.S. Government and the testing of nuclear weapons in the air and water of the Marshall Islands. They were twice boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard, and the crew were arrested, tried, and jailed in Honolulu. But, far from being defeated, their example helped to ignite a storm of world-wide public outrage against nuclear weapons that resulted in the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963, and which has continued down to the present in the many organizations working to abolish weapons of mass destruction. The example set by the Golden Rule and her crew helped set in motion many environmental and peace voyagers and craft that followed in her wake including the Phoenix of Hiroshima, and later Greenpeace and the Sea Shepherds, among others. 

The use of nonviolent direct action as a basic guiding principle of the Golden Rule’s crew would also influence future generations. Two of her crew would later be among the original Freedom Riders in the American south. It is in their memory, and the causes for which they sacrificed, that the Veterans For Peace have vowed that the Golden Rule shall again ride the waves of peace. 

The re-born Golden Rule, like the original, will inspire a new generation of peace and environmental activism. The poem below by U.S. Navy atomic veteran Stephen Osborn explains well why we do what we do. Learn more at the Golden Rule Project website.

I Have Seen the Dragon

I have seen the Dragon
Through clenched lids and arms pressed tight.
I have felt its hot breath on my back
And listened to the rumble of its voice.

I have looked upon its breath,
Glowing Amethyst, red and purple,
Climbing towards the stratosphere
To deposit its venom downwind.

I have waited in fear as my gums began to bleed
And my hair came out in clumps.
I breathed a prayer of thanks
As I began to heal.

After fifty years, our ranks are thin,
We who have seen the Dragon and survived.
Those who have died or are sickened still,
Their numbers are legion.

All we can hope for, work for, pray for,
Is that no madman will ever be allowed
To unleash the Dragon again.
For its legacy to all is death, disease and decay.

                       © Stephen M. Osborn
                           2 November 2006 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses

New York Times meets the War Crimes Times
 -- better late than never!
See "Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses"


Let us observe the spirit of the season — peace and goodwill — and be kind to our neighbors, courteous to our fellow shoppers, forgiving to other motorists, and generous and charitable toward the stranger, the foreigner, the enemy.

Such peace, goodwill, charity and kindness sprang forth 100 years ago this Christmas in a highly unlikely setting — the 500-mile-long Western Front of the First World War — as widespread, unofficial truces occurred spontaneously. Read more...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Holiday card idea from Becky Luening

I was inspired to design this folding card on the Christmas Truce centenary theme. I would be happy to share a print-ready layout for these cards in exchange for a donation of any amount made to Veterans For Peace or to the Vietnam Friendship Village....
--Becky Luening becky.pdx@gmail.com 
Card inside

Card back

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The War Crimes Times provides compelling, ongoing information on war and the war crimes that invariably accompany war, the many costs of war, the effects of our war culture on our national character and international reputation, and the need to hold accountable those who initiate and conduct illegal wars. Additionally and importantly, we also report on the efforts of the many people who sacrifice their time, money, and comfort to work for peace.

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