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<< 2. Building a GI and Veterans Movement4. Fraggin' >>

From the National Office

By Bill Branson

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VVAW is continuing its work as an anti-war organization with a vets base and focus. The President must withdraw from Iraq and stop the 8 year war in Afghanistan, where the Generals are raising a familiar clamor for more troops. Plans have been announced to keep our GIs occupying Iraq for many more years. HELLO! We don't see much progress here! We still have quagmires abroad and no money to take proper care of veterans at home.

Here is what Barack Obama had to say about Iraq in 2002; "I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda." Well said. Of course, even then, he thought that Afghanistan was a justified war. It is up to us to continue our anti-war work, even if it means criticizing a popular President. How many more GIs and civilians will be sacrificed for this "stupid war?"

VVAW has committed human energy and economic resources to the struggle for Agent Orange victim recuperation including compensation and support of the peoples of southeast Asia. This will continue to be an enduring part of VVAW's agenda.

VVAW continues to support IVAW by funding its grass roots organizing. Our contributions have enabled IVAW to hire field organizers and begin working nationwide. We encourage VVAW members to give IVAW all the help that they can.

VVAW is providing a real service to Veterans. We have added a mental health counselor Hans Buwalda. Besides working in the Chicago area, Hans and Ray provided services at the VFP and IVAW conventions.

We will continue through these tough economic times. We have drafted a budget which will allow us to keep moving toward our core goals. Some sacrifices will have to be made and we must have tighter planning.

"From the NO" reflects a consensus of the majority of the National Coordinators.

Bill Branson is one of seven VVAW national coordinators.

Robin Long, America's first Active Duty GI War Resister to be extradited back to the US from Canadam receives a $500.00 check from the Vietnam Veterans Against the War National Office at his first public speaking engagement upon release after serving 15 months for Desertion in the Brig at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego from VVAW San Diego Contact Jan A. Ruhman, who along with Chuck "Mutt" Winnant and members of Veterans For Peace in San Diego, visited him each weekend while incarcerated.
Chicago Summer Standdown, 2009
Ken Nielsen at VVAW Memorial Day event in Chicago, 2009

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