Should TNJP Have Forums/Message Boards?

Submitted by tnjp on April 20, 2007 - 11:18am.
Yes - Immediately
62% (8 votes)
No - Not Now, Not Ever
0% (0 votes)
Maybe in the Future
38% (5 votes)
Total votes: 13

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Why I Fight

Submitted by Tom Baxter on May 12, 2007 - 11:52pm.

Why I Fight

Tom Baxter

Now at the forth anniversary of the proclamation of ‘Mission Accomplished’ and the ‘end of major combat operations’ of ‘Operation Iraq Liberation’ I have been standing on Thursdays and Sundays in front of the Capitol with my antiwar signs for almost six years in the ‘Eternal Peace Vigil,’ People have asked, “Why?” Some of the reasons are the lives and deaths of Dwight H Johnson, David Funchess and Jeffrey Lucey.

Three brave men. Three men who believed our government’s lies. Three dead men, Killed In Action in a combat zone. Three men whose names will never be engraved on a war memorial’s marble wall because the mortal wounds they bore were not visible.

Dwight, AKA Skip, a few months younger than I, was born in Detroit and raised in the projects of by a single mother. A good soldier, he make E-5, on his first enlistment as a tank driver. A month after I arrived in Vietnam and a few miles North on my base, Dwight trying to catch up with his platoon, he came upon them, being destroyed by an enemy battalion. He stopped the battalion. When reinforcements arrived they took him off the battlefield pumped full of morphine and in a straitjacket. A few days later, he was on the streets of Detroit, wandering jobless, teased because he missed TET. Months later, an MP asked him if he had been arrested since he got out. He said no. The MP said, then come to DC and we will give you a Medal of Honor.
He reenlisted, his first job out of the service. Got married. Used as a recruiter and public relations flack, he tired, started acting out. Wife in the hospital. Home and car being foreclosed. Walked into a liquor store, pulled a gun. Popped some caps, missed every time. Shot four times. Died on the table. His mother said, “Sometimes I wonder if Skip tired of this life and needed
someone else to pull the trigger.” His wife received a raise in her pension as he was not conscious of his actions. I shook Charlie Litkey’s hand that shook Dwight’s. I might have met Johnson in Vietnam. Guys from his company came into my compound to pick up trucks and parts. We both drove the hairpin cure in the An Ke pass. One degree of separation.

David Funchess, also a few months younger than me, a Marine, I would have never met him in Vietnam. I might have met in Jacksonville where we both grew up. I did meet some black guys working construction and the shipyards. Young gofers that had more in common than with the mechanics. His step father was a vicious and mean bastard. David came back from Vietnam with a Purple Heart, scars from an IED, PTSD and a heroin habit, later he got a dishonorable discharge, i.e., no VA benefits. Twitchy, he slept in foxholes under his mother’s house, later in cars. I asked a politically correct friends and they said I could call David, ‘ nuts.’ You would not let your daughter go out with him. Ted Bundy would be OK. But not David.
David also was involved in a liquor store robbery, except he killed two folks. Bad luck for David, PTSD had not been legally discovered. Since it was not mentioned in trial, it could not be used in appeal. So, David died in ‘Old Smokey,’ the same place as Ted Bundy, becoming the first of many Vietnam veterans judicially murdered in the United States. I worked on appeals for his clemency and shook his lawyers’ and friends’ hands. One degree of separation.

As Dwight and David died in Vietnam, Jeffrey Lucey died in Iraq. He was my daughter’s age. He had a lot going for him. He was white, middle class, with parents that were willing to pay his way through school. He did not need the service to get out of the ghetto. Like Dwight he killed face to face. Couldn’t get over it. A year back from Iraq, a few visits to the shrink, some involuntary confinement, Jeffery hanged himself with a garden hose in his parent’s basement. His death is the results of my failure. I failed stop the war.

I did not talk to him as I do every Iraq veteran and veteran to be that comes up to talk or argue in front of the Capitol. I tell them, I don’t know what your particular hell looked like, but we did stuff our mothers, our fathers, our teachers, our preachers told us never to do: Kill people and destroy things. It messes with your mind. I may not look like very much, ugly, wrinkly, white haired, balding, running to fat, old fart, but I’m what you want to be forty years from now. I’m alive. I can bounce kids on my knees. I can make them laugh. I buried a bunch of guys over the years who can’t. If you ever think about thumping yourself, your wife, your girlfriend, your kids, remember your parents want you to bury them not the other way around. Your wife doesn’t want be a widow. Your kids don’t want to be orphans. When it gets real serious, folks want to talk to you. They want to help you. I can tell you meds work. I stopped having nightmares, thirty years ago. They came back five years ago. Meds stopped them. I’m not very happy. But I’ve got a job, trying to stop the creation of more folks like Dwight, David, Jeffery and me. And I haven’t been doing too good of a job of it.

FIAT JUSTITIA; RUAT COELUM

CodePINK Tallahassee joins Florida For Peace Focus on Nelson

Submitted by Lydia Vickers on June 2, 2007 - 1:23pm.

Dear Peace Makers,
Please join a new, state wide action in Florida. Senator Nelson has missed two recent opportunities to vote to bring our troops home from Iraq. This action will focus on educating Senator Nelson and Florida constituents about the true costs of war to our State. The goal is to change Senator Nelson's mind and his votes.

Phase I begins today, June 1, 2007. Please join any Phase at any time. This phase involves writing a letter and sending an e-mail to each of Senator Nelson's offices, every day, for 10 days. The purpose of the letter is to: 1) express your misgivings about his recent votes to continue funding the war and 2) to ask for an appointment. Many of us will use the same letter over and over. Senator Nelson's office addresses and phone/FAX numbers can be found at http://billnelson.senate.gov

Phase II is from June 11th - June 20th. During this period we will visit each of Senator Nelson's Florida office locations and his office in Washington, D.C. We hope to have people from many dirrerent peace groups innvolved in these visits. The purpose of these visits is to personally request an appointment time. We will be assisted during these visits by CodePINK Central and a call in campaign that will happen exactly at the time we are in each office.

Phase III is from June 21st - July 1st. During this phase we will ramp up our letters and FAXes to Senator Nelson's offices and include daily phone calls to every office as many times a day as one can call. At the CodePINK House in D.C. we put our representatives' numbers on speed dial - makes it that much easier.

During Phase III the group will work together through conference calls, e-mails and the Florida For Peace Yahoo Group to organize street actions.

To join Florida For Peace please go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FloridaForPeace

Street actions will begin after the July 4th holiday week.

The last part of Phase III is from July 9th - July 20th. This portion involves loud street actions, props and banners, Home for the Holidays balloting boxes and phone-a-thons outside of every office.

I am willing to come to your town/city to help with office visits and actions. I can bring props and ideas. It only takes 2 or 3 people to do a great action. And, of course, the more the merrier.

A crucial vote comes to Congress right before the August break. The August break begins August 4th. The action hopes to focus intense pressure on Senator Nelson to start voting us out of Iraq. It is quite probable that he wants the troops home as soon as possible and we will show him that we are here to support him should he agree to step out on a limb and end the war.

The final Phase of this action is to camp out at Senator Nelson's house and bring as much media to the issue as we can. Polls show that Floridans want to end the war and bring the troops home.

To join this action go to groups.yahoo.com

We will have another conference call on Wednesday June 6th. More information about the next conference call will be posted at the yahoo group site.

Thank you for all that you do.

Peace, Always Lydia Vickers

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