Military Families Speak Out (MFSO) members Linda Valdez, Ed Garza, Jeff Merrick and Pat Alviso loading down Ed’s truck with donations for our deported veteran visit in Tijuana.
By Mary Hladky, Military Families Speak Out
October 5, 2017 — Watching the PBS series on Vietnam is a graphic reminder of the horrors of war. Unfortunately, one of the few things the U.S. government learned from Vietnam was how to hide the horrors of the Afghanistan war from public view as much as possible, to prevent the backlash experienced during the Vietnam war. No body counts, no reporters roaming free, only embedded journalists, minimal media coverage with little footage of the actual war, and no pictures of coffins returning home.
The Trump Administration has decided to continue to support the war in Afghanistan, only with more troops and no stated end game. As this war completes its 16th year, on October 7, more troops are on their way to Afghanistan. The suffering of our troops, their families and the Afghan people will continue.
Afghanistan is the forgotten war, even though it is currently the United States’ largest military foreign engagement, with 16,000+ troops and tens of thousands of defense and agency contractors.
The only people who benefit from this war are the military contractors and the corrupt Afghan government, made up of many drug and war lords guilty of human rights abuses and war crimes. The Afghan government and Taliban controls, protects, and benefits from the enormous poppy crop that supplies over 90% of the world’s heroin. SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction) reports that reconstruction in Afghanistan is nearly nonexistent after spending $100 billion.
The Afghan government, which the U.S. has propped up with billions of dollars and thousands of American livesremains overwhelmingly corrupt, a government the Afghan people will never accept.
In the meantime, the Taliban has grown in numbers and holds more territory than ever before, 40-50% of the country.
The human costs of war for our troops, the Afghan forces and civilians has been enormous. Death, injuries and nearly a trillion dollars have been wasted for no redeemable benefit. Yet instead of pursuing peace, our government continues to opt for more war.
Americans need to take a stand against the Afghanistan war. We need to reflect on what it is that we believe – ask yourself two basic questions:
How, as Americans, do we continually accept sending young men and women to risk their lives for a futile, never ending war?
What would you say to a mother who loses her son or daughter in Afghanistan? Can you explain what her child actually died for? What was the noble cause?
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear Veterans for Peace and Vietnam Veterans Against the War brother, Horace Coleman.
Horace was a longtime key member of Veterans for Peace Chapter 110 in Southern California, serving as Chapter Treasurer until a severe stroke drastically limited his participation three years ago. Horace was also actively involved for years in Military Families Speak Out, and participated in many peace events as a veteran and as the father of a veteran.
A Captain in the Air Force during the Vietnam War, Horace deployed to Vietnam. There he developed his keen sense of war’s folly and murderous injustice. A grass roots intellectual and activist ever since his return in the 60’s, Horace found his voice as the host and producer of the first black student-run radio show, at Ohio University. He and his colleagues were the first to educate college students about the My Lai massacre also. Horace Coleman was one of our reliable “regulars” as an Arlington West Memorial Chapter 110 supporter and participant, and he often spoke to youth at schools and community events about the true cost of war.
As a talented writer, Horace was also a regular contributor of articles for Vietnam Veterans Against the War. His 1995 book of poetry, In the Grass, earned praise from such figures as Howard University’s E. Ethelbert Miller, who hailed the work as “a book of darkness and revelation.” It is available from Amazon. Among his other accomplishments, Horace’s photography graced the pages of numerous publications, including the national VFP Newsletter.
Horace was a pillar of the southern California peace community, an articulate and outspoken peace activist. We miss him dearly. Messages of condolences can be sent to his son, Drake Coleman at drakecoleman at hotmail.com.
In lieu of flowers the family has requested that donations be mailed to Veterans For Peace Chapter 110 at 775 Havana Ave., Long Beach, CA. 90804-4450.
The Teaneck demonstration was one of a half dozen protests that Military Families Speak Out, a national anti-war group of military families, held across the country this week in New York, Texas, West Virginia and California. (Click for video & story via NorthNewJersey.com, part of the USA Today Network)