On Memorial Day: Remember the Victims and the Defeats
May 28, 2018
Reader Supported News & CODEPINK
While flags fly and politicians preach patriotism, millions of our veterans remain neglected. As we begin this Memorial Day weekend, remember those who have lost their lives in war and violence. From the children dying right now of starvation in Yemen, to the peaceful protesters recently massacred in Gaza, to the countless numbers killed by the US in Iraq, Afghanistan, and victims of gun violence here in the US. We know that wars and violence never bring us closer to peace.
Memorial Day -- Seven Facts
Documenting Our Neglect of Millions of Veterans
Bill Quigley / Reader Supported News
(May 27, 2018) -- While flags fly and politicians preach patriotism, millions of our veterans remain neglected. Here are seven examples.
20 -- Twenty veterans die by suicide each day. In fact, the risk for suicide is 22 percent higher among veterans than the non-veteran population, according to the Veterans Administration.
24 -- Twenty-four percent of all veterans, about 4.9 million people, have a service-connected disability. Hundreds of thousands more are trying to appeal denials of disability benefits.
40,065 -- On a single night in January 2017, over 40,000 veterans were homeless, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Three in five homeless veterans were staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing. Over 15,000 homeless veterans were staying in places not suitable for human habitation.
318,000 -- The Veterans Administration estimated there are over 318,000 appeals of veteran benefits pending nationwide, with an average wait time for appeals of 935 days.
370,000 -- Over 370,000 veterans are unemployed according to the US Department of Labor. Unemployment is higher for younger veterans between the ages of 22 and 34 than civilians.
1,465,807 -- The Census Bureau reports that 1,465,807 veterans live under the official US poverty line.
1,500,000 -- Almost 1.5 million veterans live in households with low enough incomes that they receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly food stamps).
Bill Quigley is Associate Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He is a Katrina survivor and has been active in human rights in Haiti for years. He volunteers with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau de Avocats Internationaux (BAI).
This Memorial Day, Raise Your Voice for Peace
And remember those lost in endless and unjust
Wars by signing the People's Peace Treaty
"What was true in 1968 and what remains an ancient truth today is the understanding that any nation -- we are not an exception -- any nation that lives by the sword will ultimately die by the sword."
-- Rev. Dr. William J. Barber
The Poor People's Campaign went into the streets on May 13th, kicking off 40 days of nonviolent direct action aimed at shifting our corrupt moral narrative. Each week the Poor People's campaign focuses on a different pillar of evil: systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and -- this week -- the war economy and militarism.
As we begin this Memorial Day weekend, we remember those who have lost their lives in war and violence. From the children dying right now of starvation in Yemen, to the peaceful protesters recently massacred in Gaza, to the countless numbers killed by the US in Iraq, Afghanistan, and victims of gun violence here in the US, we know that wars and violence never bring us closer to peace.
This Memorial Day we are remembering more than 15,500 Americans killed by gun violence; 5,000 Yemenis killed in the US-funded Saudi-led war; 400,000 Syrians killed since 2011; 100 Palestinians killed in Gaza since March 2018; more than a thousand Pakistanis killed by US drone strikes; and the thousands of other innocent people killed by useless and unnecessary war and weapons.
Stand against militarism and the war economy this week with the Poor People's Campaign.
Find a local action near you and join us.
Last year, the US spent more than $700 billion on the Pentagon and its programs. More than $300 billion of that went to weapons manufacturers and war profiteers. That's$300 billion of our tax dollars going to line the pockets of CEOs who are profiting from war.
CEOs of the top five weapons manufacturers like Lockheed, Raytheon, and Boeing in the US collected salaries that totaled $96 million, while American communities continue to struggle to provide basic services. This corporate welfare creates so much excess military equipment that it is given away to our local police forces. Why do our local police forces need anti-landmine vehicles or grenade launchers? The answer is, they don't.
War is stealing from all of us. Our tax dollars are being diverted away from critical needs in our communities, like food, health care, education, and housing.
In 2017, 23.8¢ of every tax dollar went to the Pentagon, while just 4.1¢ went to food and housing, 4¢ went to education, and 1.4¢ went to energy and the environment. While the people of Flint wait for clean water, military contractors are taking our tax dollars and profiting from death.
People like you who have had enough are stepping up and heading totheir state's capitol to demand that we stop these wars. Mother Teresa said, "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." This Memorial Day, as we mourn the lives lost at home and abroad, let's fight back against the war machine that's taking from all of us.
Here's how you can get involved this week:
* Find a local event here, and join us in action against the war economy.
* Download and print a Divest from the War Machine sign or flyer to bring with you!
* Look at the list of federal and state demands to take action against the war economy
Can't make it out to your state house this week? Then join us in memorializing all the lives lost across decades of endless and unjust wars: say yes to peace by signing the People's Peace Treaty with North Korea.
Inspired by the Vietnam-era People's Peace Treaty, we have initiated a People's Peace Treaty with North Korea, to send a clear message that we, the people of the US, do not want another war with North Korea. Our goal is to collect thousands of signatures; please add your voice for peace.
However you choose to take action on the war economy, we stand with you. Send us photos and details of your actions, so that we can share the national momentum demanding divestment from war, and reinvestment in life-affirming solutions.
Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Rita, Sarah, Sophia, Taylor Rae, and Tighe
PEOPLE'S PEACE TREATY WITH NORTH KOREA
Alarmed by the threat of a nuclear war between the US and North Korea, concerned US peace groups have come together to send an open message to Washington and Pyongyang that we are strongly opposed to any resumption of the horrific Korean War. What we want is a peace treaty to finally end the lingering Korean War!
Inspired by the Vietnam-era People's Peace Treaty, we have initiated a People's Peace Treaty with North Korea, to raise awareness about the past US policy toward North Korea, and to send a clear message that we, the people of the US, do not want another war with North Korea. This is not an actual treaty, but rather a declaration of peace from the people of the United States.
Our goal is to collect thousands of signatures, and to publicize the People's Peace Treaty to the people in the US as well as in the rest of the world. Please add your voice for peace by signing the People's Peace Treaty with North Korea.
People's Peace Treaty with North Korea
A Message of Peace from the People of the United States
Deeply concerned with the increasing danger of the current military tensions and threats between the Governments of the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (the DPRK, North Korea), which may re-ignite the horrendous fighting in the Korean War by design, mistake or accident;
Recalling that the United States currently possesses about 6,800 nuclear weapons, and has threatened the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea in the past, including the most recent threat made by the US President in his terrifying speech to the United Nations ("totally destroy North Korea");
Regretting that the US Government has so far refused to negotiate a peace treaty to replace the temporary Korean War Armistice Agreement of 1953, although such a peace treaty has been proposed by the DPRK many times from 1974 on;
Convinced that ending the Korean War officially is an urgent, essential step for the establishment of enduring peace and mutual respect between the US and the DPRK, as well as for the North Korean people's full enjoyment of their basic human rights to life, peace and development -- ending their long sufferings from the harsh economic sanctions imposed on them by the US Government since 1950.
NOW, THEREFORE , as a Concerned Person of the United States of America (or on behalf of a civil society organization), I hereby sign this People's Peace Treaty with North Korea, dated November 11, 2017, Armistice Day (also Veterans Day in the US), and
1) Declare to the world that the Korean War is over as far as I am concerned, and that I will live in "permanent peace and friendship" with the North Korean people (as promised in the 1882 US-Korea Treaty of Peace, Amity, Commerce and Navigation that opened the diplomatic relations between the US and Korea for the first time);
2) Express my deep apology to the North Korean people for the US Government's long, cruel and unjust hostility against them, including the near total destruction of North Korea due to the heavy US bombings during the Korean War;
3) Urge Washington and Pyongyang to immediately stop their preemptive (or preventive) conventional/nuclear attack threats against each other and to sign the new UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons;
4) Call upon the US Government to stop its large-scale, joint war drills with the armed forces of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and Japan, and commence a gradual withdrawal of the US troops and weapons from South Korea;
5) Call upon the US Government to officially end the lingering and costly Korean War by concluding a peace treaty with the DPRK without further delay, to lift all sanctions against the country, and to join the 164 nations that have normal diplomatic relations with the DPRK;
6) Pledge that I will do my best to end the Korean War, and to reach out to the North Korean people -- in order to foster greater understanding, reconciliation and friendship.