Victory for Rank and File: Vets For Peace Votes to Impeach Obama for War Crimes

Victory for Rank and File: Vets For Peace Votes to Impeach Obama for War Crimes

by John V. Walsh, Come Home America

Veterans for Peace (VFP), a progressive organization if ever there was one, took the courageous step of voting for the “impeachment of President Barack H. Obama for war crimes” at its annual national convention in Portland Oregon in August. The resolution, which called on Congress to immediately begin impeachment proceedings, passed with a majority vote. If you did not read of this, you are a victim of the gatekeepers on the “Left” and the usual censorship of the mainstream media.

The resolution sounds the death knell for the view that advocates of Obama’s impeachment are no more than Right wing, Racist Birthers. Thus, David Swanson, a leader of the Impeach Bush movement, after a pro forma denunciation of Obama, wrote recently in response to charges of hypocrisy: “I can’t get 20 people into the streets to demand Obama’s impeachment (and if I did, they’d want him impeached for being born in Africa to aliens from Planet Socialism….” Is that VFP, David?

The VFP resolution is stark testimony that Swanson is dead wrong and that the tide is turning against the war criminal Obama even among his most faithful followers. A call for impeachment, whatever the prospects for success, makes crystal clear that the antiwar community regards the President as a criminal – whether that President is Bush or Obama. And it puts a stop to the nasty tactic of shutting up impeachment advocates by calling them racists.

The impeachment resolution is modeled on another that VFP passed some years ago calling for impeachment of Bush. The anti-Obama resolution merits reading in full here. It has telling additions to the one targeting Bush. It opens thus: “Whereas, President Obama, on 19 March 2011, committed a criminal act by ordering the U.S. military to war in Libya without first obtaining the consent of the U.S. Congress in a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.” Bush told lies to get us into war. Such is his arrogance that Obama, acting in the Democratic tradition of Harry S. Truman in the Korean war, did not even bother to lie. He simply went ahead and trampled on the Constitution without pretense.

The seventh in the list of reasons for impeachment is a tight summary: “Whereas, millions upon millions of Iraqi, Afghani, Pakistani, Yemeni, Somali, and Libyan civilians have been maimed, poisoned, displaced from their homes, and killed in a direct result of ongoing, illegal acts of war by the United States.”

It concludes “Therefore Be It Resolved that Veterans For Peace call on the U.S. House of Representatives to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Barack H. Obama for failure to uphold his sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies foreign and domestic, and for his commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, obstruction of justice and the violation of numerous national and international laws, treaties and conventions.”

This victory of the VFP rank and file who submitted the resolutions did not come easily. It took three years. The first such resolution was written shortly after Obama took office, on his fourth day ordering Hellfire missiles to strike Pakistan, killing dozens of civilians including three children. That prompted Tom Santoni of the Central FL VFP chapter to pen a principled impeachment resolution. It was taken up at the national convention the following August and was supported by the admirable Adam Kokesh who was at a meeting next door of VFP’s sister organization, Iraq Veterans Against the War. But the VFP leadership, that is the Board, voted against it, thus requiring a two-thirds vote of the membership. This bit of gate keeping worked, and the resolution failed at the August convention. Santoni quit in disgust, a big loss to VFP. The Central Florida chapter tried again in 2010 under the leadership of its co-chair Phil Restino. This time Gold Star mother Cindy Sheehan endorsed the resolution, but again it failed. Finally, this year the Central FL chapter once again submitted the resolution and this time the board did not vote it down! The unstoppable Restino reached out to all 128 VFP chapters urging support and passage. And spontaneously Jesse Perrier of Boston’s Smedley Butler chapter of VFP arose and gave an impassioned speech that brought down the house and won the day. The resolution passed.

Now what about the implementation? The Impeach Bush resolution was pushed aggressively in 2005 running up to the 2006 election when Dems were running on the promise of impeachment, on which they promptly reneged, most notoriously John Conyers, the poster Congressperson for impeachment. Mike Ferner, at the time executive director of VFP, made an indignant Bush-bashing speech for impeachment in front of the White House. You can view it in all its glory. A hard copy letter with the signature of the VFP president was mailed to each member of the House calling for impeachment.

How about the present resolution? Mike Ferner opposed it in the floor debate at the August convention. There has been no rally and none is planned – not in front of the White House or anywhere else. This time a FAX of the resolution has been sent to the House members without signature of the President. Currently the Central FL chapter is trying to send snail mail letters on its own to every House member – once it gets the signature of the president.

Unfortunately this story can be repeated in different ways in a variety of “progressive” organizations with leadership more loyal to Dems than to antiwar principle. This writer has witnessed it himself in organizations like PSR and United for Justice and Peace. But the ground is shifting, and much to its credit VFP has led the way.

John V,Walsh can be reached at John.Endwar@gmail.com. He thanks Phil Restino, co-chair of Central Florida Vets for Peace and Jesse Perrier of the Smedley Butler Brigade of Vets for Peace in Boston for their help. He attempted twice to reach a voice against the resolution but received no reply.

***

IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT BARACK H. OBAMA FOR WAR CRIMES
Whereas, Barack H. Obama is Commander In Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces and the head of the Executive Branch of the United States government, and

Whereas, President Obama, on 19 March 2011, committed a criminal act by ordering the U.S. military to war in Libya without first obtaining the consent of the U.S. Congress in a direct violation of the U.S. Constitution, and

Whereas, the illegal U.S. invasion, bombing and occupation of Iraq initiated by the Bush administration continues under the Obama administration; and

Whereas, the U.S. government is currently engaged in illegal wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and President Obama pledged to increase the number of military personnel and tax dollars spent on the these wars, and

Whereas, the U.S. military used and continues to use depleted uranium munitions, cluster bombs and white phosphorous in densely populated areas in violation of U.S. laws and international laws and treaties prohibiting the indiscriminate killing of civilians; and,

Whereas, the Geneva Conventions specifically prohibit the use of especially injurious weapons and materials causing unnecessary harm that remain active and lethal after battle, and over large areas of land, and

Whereas, large numbers of babies born in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer life-long illness and deformity like severe disfigurements and brain damage, Down’s syndrome, and weak hearts doctors state are caused by the U.S. military’s massive and widespread use of toxic and radioactive materials, and

Whereas, millions upon millions of Iraqi, Afghani, Pakistani, Yemeni, Somali, and Libyan civilians have been maimed, poisoned, displaced from their homes, and killed in a direct result of ongoing, illegal acts of war by the United States, and

Whereas, illegal, immoral and counterproductive detainee torture and brutalization at the hands of the U.S. military’s Immediate Reaction Force continue at Guantanamo under the Obama administration and in particular, the torture of Pfc. Bradley Manning at Quantico, Virginia, and

Whereas, President Obama is an accessory after the fact in obstructing justice by failing to order the Department of Justice to initiate investigations into numerous and blatant U.S. war crimes committed by the Bush administration, for which it is manifestly accountable under the law, and

Whereas, millions of Americans, including Veterans For Peace and Prosecute Them Now, supported the impeachment of Bush/Cheney for the same war crimes that are being committed now by Obama in violation of the U.S. Constitution, U.S. federal laws, the United Nations Charter, the Hague Convention, the Geneva Conventions, The United Nations Convention Against Torture and the Nuremberg Tribunal Charter, and

Whereas, Veterans For Peace and Prosecute Them Now are committed to the stated mission to restrain our government from intervening overtly and covertly in the internal affairs of other nations, to seek justice for veterans and victims of war, to increase public awareness of the exact costs of war, and to abolish war as an instrument of national policy;

Therefore Be It Resolved that Veterans For Peace call on the U.S. House of Representatives to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Barack H. Obama for failure to uphold his sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America from all enemies foreign and domestic, and for his commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, obstruction of justice and the violation of numerous national and international laws, treaties and conventions.

Approved at the 2011 VFP National Convention


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This entry was posted in American Military Culture, Barack Obama, End of the Empire, George Bush, The Left's Challenge, The New Peace Movement and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Victory for Rank and File: Vets For Peace Votes to Impeach Obama for War Crimes

  1. dakotahgeo says:

    It simply is not fair for President Obama to be impeached alone unless GWBunnypants and Komrade Cheneykov be impeached, indicted for war crmes, and hung via national internet and satellite broadcast. This means the entire Bush Administration.. bar none.

  2. Phil Restino says:

    Dakota,

    Let it be known that in late January of 2009 after Obama not only did not exercise his unique ability as Commander in Chief to order an immediate cease-fire to the illegal, immoral, bogus “war on terror” (an order that he still can give at any moment in time, should he just choose to do so), but instead ordered drone-bombing attacks on Pakistan (a country that Bush hadn’t even gotten to yet) killing a bunch of innocent civilians … it was we in the Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace who approached the leaders of Veterans For Peace, After Downing Street, World Can’t Wait, and other national antiwar orgs with the following “War Crimes are War Crimes: Prosecute Bush, Impeach Obama!” encouraging them to take that statement/call for accountability and bring it to national attention.

    We submitted bumper sticker templates to them with that statement (which we’ll gladly mail to you) and kept pushing the idea for quite some time until it was very clear that the national leadership of those antiwar organizations wanted nothing to do with that message of a single, non-partisan standard of call for accountability in regards to impeaching/prosecuting war criminal U.S. Presidents.

    After a while of my own pushing of this message, instead we got After Downing Street changing its name to “War is a Crime” and World Can’t Wait soliciting donations from well meaning activists to pay the NY Times (the same newspaper that lied to us all for over a year about WMD so as to lead this country into war on Iraq) thousands of dollars for a full-page ad stating that “Crimes are Crimes”.

    War is a Crime ? Crimes are Crimes ? Oh, please, give me a break !

    I encourage you and all the readers to ask the leaders of the above-mentioned national antiwar organizations to please explain their 2+ years of blatant double-standards in calls for accountability in regards to a Republican War Criminal U.S. President vs. a Democrat War Criminal U.S. President for commission of the very same war crimes.

    Phil Restino
    Chapter Co-Chair, VFP Chapter 136
    Central Florida Veterans For Peace
    ph/fax: (386) 788-2918
    email: CentralFlaVFP@aol.com

    • David W. Hodges says:

      Lots of noise about booting BO out. But never is any group organized to do anything but make noise.When will we DO SOMETHING???

  3. David W. Hodges says:

    Lots of talk about BO. When will we get organized and DO SOMETHING???

    • Phil Restino says:

      Thanks for writing, David.

      Please join us in our effort to get beyond the talk and into action. If you are not already a member of Veterans For Peace, I encourage you to go to the national website http://www.veteransforpeace.org to find the chapter nearest to you and join it as either a veteran member or non-veteran associate member. Once you have joined your local chapter of Veterans For Peace, please go ahead and get involved at the chapter level in making this call for impeachment of Obama a primary effort in your Veterans For Peace chapter’s local activism and inform and educate others in your own community about the resolution and start putting pressure on your local member of Congress to introduce articles of impeachment against Obama. You can also at the same time be asking your local media to write about your local chapter’s call for impeaching Obama.

      Please watch this short YouTube of where I was able to get on the local Fox affiliate in Orlando because I am the local representative of the national organization Veterans For Peace and discuss our chapter’s resolution calling for impeaching Obama, in addition to our call for an immediate end to the wars abroad. I was called for an in-studio interview to comment on Osama bin Laden supposedly being killed a few months ago.

      Hopefully you will be able to “do something” similar in your area.

      You can also go to the website of the first national antiwar orangization to publicly call for impeaching Obama for war crimes a month before we did, and that is the organization Voters For Peace, at http://www.votersforpeace.us where they have various action items that you can take so as to “do something”.

      Again, thank you David for your interest in what you yourself can do to move this effort from talk and into action. I’m glad to see you wanting to be part of the solution. Hopefully more individuals like yourself will step up and “do something”.

      Phil Restino
      Chapter Co-Chair, VFP Chapter 136
      Central Florida Veterans For Peace
      ph/fax: (386) 788-2918

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