For Immediate Release
Veterans Group Converges on Congress to Call for a Change in Spending Priorities and to Work for Peace
WASHINGTON - This week members of Veterans For Peace will converge on the U.S. Capitol to call on Congress to:
- Audit the Pentagon and move money from war making to investment in jobs and human needs
- Support diplomacy with Iran and not interfere with the diplomatic efforts
- Reform the Pentagon’s 1033 program that transfers military grade weapons to U.S. community police departments
- Fund programs that address the legacy of Agent Orange, a poisonous chemical used by the U.S. in the Vietnam War, that 40 years after the war’s end is still causing birth defects, diseases and killing people in Vietnam and the U.S.
“With Memorial Day approaching, we believe this is a great time for our members as military veterans to engage Congress on several issues important to us,” said Michael T. McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace and an Army Gulf War veteran.
He went on to say, “Pentagon spending has taken over half of the Federal discretionary budget. It shows that lawmakers’ priorities are skewed andthe result is inadequate investment in our economy and our communities. A tragic but perfect example is the recent Amtrak accident that both Senators Booker and Menendez say demonstrates the need for more government spending on public works.”
Veterans For Peace is calling for members to visit Congress in Washington and in their local offices. If they cannot visit, members are urged to phone and email. VFP is calling for Congress to pass a budget that follows the lead of the Progressive Caucus Better off Budget. According to Veterans For Peace, this budget will move money from funding a wasteful and depraved foreign policy of endless war to domestic priorities, while also reducing the deficit by $4.08 trillion over the next 10 years. Among many important provisions, this budget ends emergency funding for Overseas Contingency Operations and calls for transparency in national security budgets to bring accountability to bulk data collection programs.
“The tragic legacy of Agent Orange is still haunting veterans, their families and the people of Vietnam. We call on the House to pass H.R. 2114 Victims of Agent Orange Relief Act of 2015,” said Veterans For Peace President Barry Ladendorf, a Navy Vietnam War Veteran.
“The Act will help U.S. veterans, their families and Vietnamese impacted by Agent Orange. Wars don't just end. There we must be a commitment to building peace with the people of Vietnam. The U.S. must take more responsibility for confronting the terrible legacy of this deadly poison that should have never been used in the first place.”
Veterans For Peace will call on Congress to pass HR 1232 - Stop the Militarization of Police Act to reform the 1033 Pentagon Program. The act places limitations on the transfer of equipment designed for war to U.S. community law enforcement agencies. Examples are grenade launchers, armored vehicles and weaponized drones.
“We need to work for peace in our communities and peace abroad. Militarizing law enforcement will not lower community crime. War with Iran will cause devastation and killing abroad. That suffering will be felt at home. More service members and veterans will have Post Traumatic Stress, die by suicide and suffer physical wounds and disabilities. More money wasted on war will not help bring us peace and prosperity at home. More war is the last thing we need.”
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Veterans For Peace is a national organization founded in 1985. It is structured around a national office in Saint Louis, MO and comprised of members across the country organized in chapters or as at-large members. The organization includes men and women veterans of all eras and duty stations including from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and current Iraq wars as well as other conflicts. Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary.