The following article was originally posted to Activist Post on August 8, 2013 and is now being re-posted after edits requested by the author. Philip will be appearing tomorrow, Wednesday September 25th on the Alex Jones Show (upper right of page) during the second hour of the broadcast – 1:30 pm Eastern – to discuss this article.
By Philip C. Restino, Jr. – Central Florida Veterans For Peace
The July 22, 2013 broadcast of the radio program “Peace Talk” hosted by Phil Smith of the Southeast Alaska Veterans For Peace Chapter 100 on ktoo Alaska Public Radio in Juneau, AK featured guest Phil Restino of the Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace. Restino was on the program to tell the story behind Veteran For Peace Resolution 2011-7 calling on the U.S. Congress to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against the Democrat President Obama for war crimes … the same war crimes cited, and then some, in Veterans For Peace’s prior public call for impeaching the Republican President Bush.
Also discussed was the current VFP Resolution 2013-10 directing the president of Veterans For Peace to send, as well as make available as a download on the VFP national website for all VFP members, a signed letter to all members of Congress calling on them to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against the Democrat President Obama for war crimes just as was done on March 19, 2005 by VFP president at the time David Cline in regards to the Republican President Bush and VFP’s 2004 impeachment resolution. VFP Resolution 2013-10 is to be presented Saturday August 10th at the Veterans For Peace National Convention in Madison, WI and later voted on by VFP’s general membership in October using mail-in ballots. The archive of the complete 1-hour broadcast of the “Peace Talk” interview can be accessed here.
For those still not aware of the fact, the rank and file membership of Veterans For Peace (VFP) on its 3rd year of trying passed at its 2011 national convention a resolution calling on the U.S. Congress to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against the Democrat President Obama for war crimes.
See VFP Resolution 2011-7, “Impeachment Of President Barack H. Obama For War Crimes” passed on 6 August 2011.
VFP Resolution 2013-10 calls on the current National President of Veterans For Peace to issue the same standard as was applied to VFP’s 2004 impeachment resolution for the Republican President Bush of a signed letter on VFP National letterhead to each member of the U.S. Congress directing them to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against the Democrat President Obama for the war crimes and other high crimes cited in VFP’s resolution 2011-7 passed 2 years prior at the 2011 VFP National Convention. See “VFP’s Mike Ferner and 2005 Impeachment Flyer, Letter to Congress” – 40 second video here.
The timeline to Veterans For Peace’s vote to impeach Obama began on February 2, 2009 with the article “IMPEACH OBAMA!” written by Central Florida Veterans For Peace (CFVFP) member Tom Santoni in response to Democrat President Obama’s blatant act of war on just his 3rd day in office when he ordered drone-bomber attacks on the sovereign nation of Pakistan killing dozens of innocent civilians. See the article “IMPEACH OBAMA!” as re-posted on Global Research on January 13, 2013 with additional commentary from its managing editor Professor Michel Chossudovsky here.
Tom’s article led to the Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace taking on the issue of applying the same standard to the newly elected Democrat President Obama as was so vigorously and so righteously applied to the former Republican President Bush of a public call for impeachment for illegal wars of aggression, occupations, rendition, torture, and other high crimes. For better context see “Veteran For Peace Mike Ferner at Impeach Bush Rally, Washington, DC – 16 June 2005” 8-minute video here.
While so many of the antiwar left spent the first half of 2009 celebrating the election of the Democrat and first Black American President, the 3 dozen or so members (to include 2 active Black veteran members) of the Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace were putting adherence to principle, the organization’s statement of purpose, and to the precedents already publicly set by Veterans For Peace first and foremost in regards to President Obama’s continuation of the crimes of his predecessor Republican President Bush along with his own war crimes. The men and women of the Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace did not avoid this awkward issue, but instead took it on. After weeks of discussion and sometimes heated debate, they voted to put principle before politics and passed the resolution to call on the U.S. Congress to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against the newly elected Black Democrat President Obama for the same war crimes which Veterans For Peace had cited in its prior public call for impeachment of the former White Republican President Bush. The question of racism did come up, and the consensus was that applying a different standard in regards to the same crimes based on race was in itself an act of racism.
The resolution to impeach President Obama for War Crimes was later soundly rejected by the national leadership and those in the rank and file membership of Veterans For Peace voting at its 2009 national convention. As a result, the Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace lost some of its members. A couple-few CFVFP members, to include one of the two Black members, left because the chapter had voted to impeach the Black Democrat President Obama. However, even more CFVFP members from the chapter’s Jacksonville and St. Augustine contingents … to include veteran members Tom Santoni and Terry Buckenmeyer, the impeachment resolution’s authors … resigned in protest due to VFP National voting down the impeachment resolution at the August 2009 national convention.
The year 2009 also saw the emergence of another national veterans activist group called the Oathkeepers, which pretty much mirrored VFP’s national campaign “Operation Support and Defend” launched 2 years earlier on January 25, 2007 by VFP’s national leadership with a national press conference in Washington, DC. VFP’s “Operation Support and Defend” was championed by now deceased VFP’s Minnesota Peace House Chapter 127 member and AfterDowningStreet.org contributor Dan Fearn, USMC … a great activist for peace and justice who is sorely missed
As Veterans For Peace is predominately made up of veteran members from the so-called political left, Oathkeepers is predominately made up of veteran members from the so-called political right. CFVFP member Col. Bob Bowman, a celebrated member of Veterans For Peace and 4-time keynote speaker at Veterans For Peace national conventions prior to his publicly questioning the U.S. government’s sole reason given to justify its Global War on Terror, soon joined the Oathkeepers urging his fellow military veterans from both organizations to put aside issues that we disagreed on and come together on the common ground we had between our respective organizations’ stated purpose and missions, not to mention the oath we all took to support and defend the U.S. Constitution with our very lives if need be.
Colonel Bowman wanted the Oathkeepers to add an 11th “order they will not obey” to the 10 they already had listed in their mission statement … that being the refusal of our military to participate any further in illegal and un-constitutional U.S. wars. Sadly, the national leadership of both organizations and many followers in their respective rank and file chose to focus on the differences they had with each other instead of at least talking to see what they might be able to accomplish together for the common good. See Col. Bowman’s article “Left and Right Together” from July 2010.
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As for Col. Bob Bowman’s credibility in questioning the U.S. government’s sole, one and only reason given to the American people to justify its 12-year ongoing “War on Terror” … that being the government’s own ridiculous official theory explaining the conspiracy behind the attacks of 9/11/01 … very few could be more qualified, as Col. Bowman is the former director of the Dept of Defense’s “Star Wars” programs under both the Ford and Carter administrations, holds advanced degrees in both Aeronautical and Nuclear Engineering from Cal Tech, flew over 100 combat missions as a fighter pilot in Vietnam and also served as a NORAD interceptor pilot guarding the Atlantic Coast of the Continental United States. If anyone would know that fires fueled by kerosene-based jet fuel and office furnishings cannot cause 3 steel-framed concrete skyscrapers to blow themselves up and come down in a perfectly symmetrical, almost free-fall speed collapse into their own respective footprints … especially since only 2 of the 3 towers were hit by airplanes … it would be someone with the engineering background of Dr. Bob Bowman.
As for recognizing the obvious stand-down of our nation’s air defenses (aka NORAD), whereas 4 jumbo-jet airliners known to be hijacked flew around for more than 90 minutes over the Northeast Corridor of the United States while under the command of Vice President Dick Cheney as President Bush was out of town in a school-house event in South Florida, it would be former NORAD interceptor pilot Col. Bob Bowman. For more on the matter from Bob Bowman, see the following segment from the AE911Truth.org documentary “Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out.”
Even with Gold Star Mother and internationally known antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan supporting and bringing attention of the 2010 VFP resolution calling for impeachment of Democrat President Obama for war crimes to her wide audience on her website Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox, and with the public endorsements of the 2010 impeachment resolution by the internationally known and respected Native American activist John “Splitting the Sky” Boncore and International Law Professor Francis A. Boyle, ), the resolution again failed to pass at the 2010 VFP national convention. Following the defeat of the impeachment resolution at the 2010 VFP national convention, more active veteran members of the Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace (and we suspect members from other VFP chapters as well) were lost, to include Chapter Co-Chair Geoff Stetson of Lady Lake and Dave Katz of the Greater Melbourne contingent of CFVFP.
Dave Katz, a U.S. Marine Vietnam Vet who survived the 105-day siege at Khe Sanh and served as CFVFP member Col. Bob Bowman’s close friend and confidant, was the chapter’s “go-to” guy when we were approached by young combat veterans returning from battle in Iraq and Afghanistan who wanted to talk with other veterans who had lived through the horrors of combat. Col. Bob Bowman worked tirelessly towards bringing veterans from the so-called “left” and “right” together as a united front to work for peace, along with trying to get them to focus on the U.S. government’s numerous lies and questions of complicity in regards to the sole reason given to justify the wars Veterans For Peace and other antiwar organizations such as CODEPINK, AfterDowningStreet.org, and World Can’t Wait were supposedly in existence for the purpose of stopping … that the being U.S. government’s official conspiracy theory explaining the attacks of 9/11/01. After seeing first-hand how Col. Bowman’s efforts were repeatedly rejected by Veterans For Peace, the other national antiwar organizations, and Oathkeepers alike, Dave Katz left Veterans For Peace for being “tired of the politics”.
The Summer of 2011 brought the 3rd attempt at getting the resolution to impeach the Democrat President Obama for war crimes passed at Veterans For Peace’s national convention. Now with the public endorsements for the VFP impeachment resolution from former U.S. Congresswoman and Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney and original Black Panther Party member and weekly columnist for both the Black Commentator and Intrepid Report publications Larry Pinkney, tthe call for impeaching the Black Democrat President Obama for war crimes was becoming even stronger. Ms. McKinney gave the resolution her endorsement on March 19, 2011, the very day that President Obama launched his own illegal “shock and awe” military attack on Libya. Larry Pinkney publicly called for President Obama’s impeachment for war crimes in his July 21, 2011 article in the Black Commentator entitled “Is it time to impeach Barack Obama?” which followed up the national antiwar group Voters For Peace’s official call for impeaching President Obama for war crimes, see here.
The Summer of 2011 was also quite a busy time for Kathy Bracewell, the coordinator for the East Central Florida chapter of CODEPINK Women for Peace. Kathy Bracewell was pepper-sprayed and gassed more than once while a student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison protesting the war in Vietnam during the late 1960s while her only brother was serving 2 years fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. During the month of July 2011, Kathy put in many, many hours telephoning the more than 200 chapter contacts listed for all the chapters of Veterans For Peace so as to brief them on the VFP impeachment resolution to be voted on at VFP’s national convention the following month. The intent was to not only inform all of VFP’s members by way of their respective chapter contacts, but to have them discuss the resolution to impeach President Obama for war crimes amongst themselves so as to make sure whomever their respective chapters sent to the national convention in August those VFP members would be briefed as much as possible before casting their votes on VFP Resolution 2011-7, Impeachment of President Barack H. Obama for War Crimes.
Shortly after VFP Resolution 2011-7 was passed at the national convention on August 6, 2011, I received a telephone call from VFP’s national secretary Gene Marx telling me that the impeachment resolution had passed but that the national leadership wanted me to keep quiet about it as they wanted to figure out how they were going to “handle it”. Weren’t they going to send an official letter on VFP National’s letterhead to all the members of the U.S. Congress directing them to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States for war crimes, signed by the national president of Veterans For Peace, as they had done following the passage of the impeachment resolution passed at the 2004 VFP national convention held in Boston? Wasn’t a copy of that letter going to be made available as a downloadable document on the VFP national website so that members of VFP could use it in their own local efforts as a means of bringing an end to the wars, as was done and as they were encouraged to do by VFP’s national leadership following the passage of the 2004 impeachment resolution? Again, see “VFP’s Mike Ferner and 2005 Impeachment Flyer, Letter to Congress” – 40 second video.
VFP’s national president at the time Elliott Adams agreed to produce the official letter to members of the U.S. Congress directing them to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against Democrat President Obama for war crimes. When the letter still was not produced, Elliott Adams responded to our continued requests for a copy of the letter by stating that he had basically abdicated his duty to do so to the acting Executive Director of Veterans For Peace, who oddly enough was the very same Mike Ferner who had championed the previous impeachment resolution passed at the 2004 national convention during the Republican President Bush’s tenure. This same Mike Ferner who had so righteously stated that it was not only our “responsibility as citizens, but our sworn duty as veterans to impeach this criminal President” while on stage at the national impeachment rally in Washington, DC on June 16, 2005 when the criminal President was the Republican George Bush, was now intervening in the process so that the same type of letter from VFP’s national president calling for impeachment proceedings against the Democrat President Obama for war crimes would not be sent to members of the U.S. Congress as was done following the passage of VFP’s 2004 impeachment resolution. We were told by Mike Ferner that VFP’s national office would do no more than fax a copy of VFP Resolution 2011-7 with a fax cover sheet, which we later learned in January 2013 after the Democrat President Obama had secured his 2nd term in office consisted of a single sentence stating to the effect that “the attached resolution was passed by a vote of those in attendance at the recent VFP national convention”. Same guy, same issue … yet very different responses. Go figure.
For a copy of the March 19, 2005 impeachment letter to all members of the U.S. Congress signed by the national president of Veterans For Peace, David Cline, see the downloadable document file here.
In the months between the resolution to impeach President Obama for war crimes being passed at the 2011 VFP national convention and the lead up in July of 2012 to the 2012 VFP national convention, multiple attempts were made by the Central Florida chapter and other members of Veterans For Peace to get the new national president of Veterans For Peace, Leah Bolger, to issue the appropriate letter to Congress in regards to the impeachment resolution passed at the 2011 VFP national convention and provide to members of VFP a copy of the letter as a download on the VFP national website. Ms. Bolger’s response as VFP’s national president was that she would not issue such a letter and that the national office of Veterans For Peace would have nothing more to do with the passed VFP resolution 2011-7 calling for the impeachment of Democrat President Obama for war crimes.
At the same time there was resolution 2012-11 introduced at the 2012 VFP national convention calling on Veterans For Peace to actually rescind the impeachment of President Obama for war crimes, Resolution 2011-7 which had been passed by VFP’s rank and file at its national convention in the year prior. What was different with the 2012 voting, in addition to those voting at the VFP national convention in August, was that all VFP veteran members nationwide were sent mail-in ballots to cast their votes. As reported by long-time VFP member Bob Heberle of the Minnesota Twin Cities Chapter 27, the fellow who was the recording national secretary of VFP at the VFP national convention in 2004 when the first VFP impeachment resolution was passed, the 2012-11 resolution put forward to rescind the previously passed 2011-7 resolution calling for the impeachment of President Obama for war crimes was defeated by an even wider margin … nearly 2 out of 3 votes against … than was the case in the initial passage of the impeachment resolution 2011-7. See Bob Heberle’s report on page 10 of the Winter 2012-2013 issue of Minnesota Veterans For Peace, Chapter 27 quarterly newsletter entitled “Membership still supports impeachment.”
To get an idea of where the thinking of VFP’s national leadership was at even at its annual Board of Directors meeting just prior to the 2012 national convention regarding its concern as to “how to handle” the resolution 2011-7 calling for the impeachment of the Democrat President Obama passed by a vote of the rank and file membership at the 2011 national convention, the Board of Directors flat-out stated in their 2012 annual meeting minutes that their rationale for voting against recommendation of resolution 2012-11 to rescind the Obama impeachment resolution was so as to “not bring attention to the impeachment issue”. See page 10 of the VFP Board Meeting Minutes from August 8, 2012 as posted for all to see here.
So here we are only a couple of days before the 2013 VFP resolutions are to be put forward at the 2013 VFP national convention in Madison, WI. The war crimes cited in VFP’s resolution 2011-7 to impeach Democrat President Obama for war crimes, passed 2 years ago at the 2011 VFP national convention, have not only continued unabated but the Democrat President Obama has expanded his list of crimes to include (1) targeting and assassinating American citizens without due process, and (2) threatening an illegal U.S. war of aggression on Syria. Support amongst the American people and members of Veterans For Peace alike to call for the impeachment of the Democrat President Obama for his ongoing war crimes has only gotten stronger.
VFP resolution 2013-10 resolves that no later than 3 weeks after passage of the resolution the current VFP national president (1) update the 19 March 2005 letter VFP sent to each member of the U.S. Congress calling on them to impeach the former Republican President Bush so as to reflect VFP’s passed resolution 2011-7 calling on the U.S. Congress to impeach the current Democrat President Obama for the war crimes cited and sign his name to it, (2) send a copy of the letter to each member of the U.S. Congress as was done in regards to the 2004 VFP passed resolution calling for the impeachment of the former Republican President Bush, and (3) make available for download as a document file on the VFP national website a copy of the 2013 updated letter to the U.S. Congress as was done in regards to VFP’s 2004 passed impeachment resolution.
Again, VFP Resolution 2013-10 is to be presented Saturday August 10th at the Veterans For Peace National Convention in Madison, WI and later voted on by VFP’s general membership in October using mail-in ballots. Should the resolution pass, the question would then remain as to whether or not the current VFP national president Patrick McCann will follow the directive of resolution 2013-10 and actually sign and issue the 2013 updated letter to all members of the U.S. Congress on VFP National’s letterhead and make a downloadable copy of it available to all VFP members on the VFP national website. We’ll just have to wait and see how the vote goes in October, and if resolution 2013-10 does in fact pass, then we’ll see how VFP’s national leadership decides to “handle it”.
Note: Veterans For Peace is a non-profit educational and humanitarian organization dedicated to (a) educating our fellows to the costs of war, (b) restraining our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations, (c) ending the arms race and reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons, (d) seeking justice for veterans and victims of war, and (e) working towards the abolishment of war as an instrument of national policy. To get in touch with a Veterans For Peace chapter closest to you, search the listing of VFP chapter contacts provided on the VFP national website at http://www.veteransforpeace.org/vfp-chapters/find-a-chapter/
About the author: Restino, a peacetime veteran having served a 2-year enlistment in the U.S. Army Infantry, is co-chair and a founding member of the Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace and a member of Military Families Speak Out – Florida. He lives in Port Orange, FL. Veterans For Peace is made up of veterans working together for peace and justice through non-violence since 1985. The Central Florida chapter covers from Greater Orlando east to Greater Melbourne and north to Greater Jacksonville. For more information, visit the chapter website at www.cflveteransforpeace.org or the national VFP website at www.veteransforpeace.org. To contact Phil Restino directly, email him at [email protected].