August 9, 2006




Planning for Peacefest Iowa 2006 is well underway. We're excited to announce our keynote speaker, Antonia Juhasz, author of the book The Bush Agenda. In addition, Peacefest will include local musicians, workshops, and speakers from local organizations working towards peace and justice . PeaceFest 2006 brings together peace and justice activists and supporters for a day of community action calling for the immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Our aim is to help to create and strengthen ties among the progressive/activist/grassroots community, and reach out to others who want to work to help build a democratic, just and peaceful world.


As you can imagine, there are considerable expenses involved in planning such an event. So we welcome donations of any amount from individuals and organizations. Donations can be sent to the following address(checks may be made out to “Peacefest”): PeaceFestc/o Ralph Siddall1100 Arthur St. Apt O-2 Iowa City, IA 52240 Since we do not have nonprofit status, unfortunately we can not issue donation acknowledgements for tax purposes. If you are unable to make a donation at this time, consider eating at Thai Flavors on September 5th from Noon to1:30 and/or 5:30 to 8:30pm. Thai Flavors is donating a percentage of its revenue that day to Peacefest, and we are eternally grateful to them for this. [Thai Flavors is located at 340 E Burlington St.,Iowa City]. For more information on Peacefest, links to progressive/left resources, websites for veterans and current military enlistees, the event schedule list and co-sponsors (in progress), and other good and useful stuff, check out our website: One more thing: we are now reaching out to local peace and justice organizations to participate in the event by setting up an information table and spread the word about work that is being done locally.

If your group is interested in co-sponsoring Peacefest and/or having a table, let us know (

We will send you the details. (We may already be planning on contacting you)

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We’ll see you September 23rd at College Green Park! In Solidarity, The Peacefest Iowa 2006 Organizing Committee *********************University of Iowa Antiwar Committee Contact us at:

August 5, 2006

Guess Who's Not Fighting These Wars?!?!

Absence of America's Upper Classes From the Military

Aug. 3, 2006 — - Thanks to Sen. John McCain's youngest son checking into Marine Corps boot camp, the number of Congress members with enlisted children will skyrocket a whopping 50 percent. McCain's son Jim joins two other enlisted service members who have a parent in Congress (a few members of the officer corps are children of federal legislators).

In all, about 1 percent of U.S. representatives and senators have a child in uniform. And the Capitol building is no different from other places where the leadership class in this country gathers -- no different from the boardrooms, newsrooms, ivory towers and penthouses of our nation.

Less than 1 percent of today's graduates from Ivy League schools go on to serve in the military.

Why does it matter? Because, quite simply, we cannot remain both a world power and a robust democracy without a broad sense of ownership -- particularly of the leadership class -- in the military. Our military is too consequential, and the implications of our disconnect from it too far-reaching. We are on the wrong path today.

Those who opine, argue, publish, fund and decide courses of action for our country rarely see members of their families doing the deeds our leaders would send the nation's young adults to do, deeds that have such moment in the world.

These deeds hardly begin and end with the Iraq War -- 200,000 U.S. troops are deployed in 130 other countries around the world, keeping it "flat," to borrow Thomas Friedman's phrase. They train other nations' security forces, help keep the peace, provide humanitarian assistance, rescue Americans from Lebanon, stand ready to go to Darfur if sent, to go wherever the country calls on them for assistance. In short, they do the complex work of the world's sole superpower. Yet these doers are strangers to most of us, and the very missions they do are mysterious.

When the deciders are disconnected from the doers, self-government can't work as it should. Most of these decisions about whether and how to use the U.S. military are hard, and we need to be as best equipped as possible to make them. We need to be intellectually capable and have as much real knowledge as possible about what the military actually does, but we also need to be morally capable, which means we need a moral connection to those Americans we send into harm's way. Moreover, we need the largest pool of talent from which to draw those troops. Military work must not simply become fee for service.

A Duke University study demonstrates that it matters whether civilian decision makers have military experience: A review of U.S. foreign policy over nearly two centuries shows that when we have the fewest number of veterans in leadership and staff positions in Congress and the executive branch, we are most likely to engage in aggressive (as opposed to defensive) war fighting. And we are most likely to pull out of conflicts early.

A study by the eminent military sociologist Charles Moskos shows that people living in a democracy are not willing to sustain military engagements over time if those in the leadership class do not serve in the armed forces. When they don't serve, they send a signal that the conflict is not vital or worthwhile. Since we don't know what conflicts lie ahead -- or what party will be in power when they hit -- these findings should matter to all of us.

The Triangle Institute of Security Studies has tracked the growing disconnect between the military and the leadership class, and it finds evidence of a growing distrust of both groups toward one another. The group in America that reports having the lowest opinion of the military is the elites: The elites are almost six times more likely than those in the military to say they would be "disappointed if a child of mine decided to serve."

In past wars, the Kennedys, the Bushes, the Sulzbergers of The New York Times -- in other words, the elites -- served. Sure, there were always shirkers, but many did join their middle-class and working-class compatriots. Today narrow self-interest, a sense of other priorities or a misguided sense of moral preference means most of the upper class never considers military service.

In my own travels to talk about this issue, the most problematic comment I've come across is an idea expressed by many, including many in the upper classes, that it is somehow more moral to refrain from military service than to serve, because that way one can avoid an "immoral" war.

There are so many problems with this statement. It certainly shows a misunderstanding of military service. Military service is not about our political opinions, which can after all be wrong. The oath given at the "pinning on" ceremony for a second lieutenant or a general involves not a promise to fight a particular war or support a given president but to protect and defend the Constitution. Young men and women who join the military do not know what future conflicts or engagements will bring. They even know that some of the decisions that flow from the deciders will be flawed, because people are flawed.

But service members also know that Americans will be sent to do the nation's bidding. And we want those who are sent to act with skill, judgment and integrity. Many of those who serve see that Americans are being sent to act in the interests of our country and say, as the famous sage Rabbi Hillel said, "If not me, who?"

Military service is not a political statement. Democrats did not rush to sign up when Clinton became president, and wealthy Republicans didn't suddenly join when Bush was elected. Military service is service to the country, and even more perhaps, service to your fellows.

But how can we expect privileged young people to do military work? Military work is dangerous. You could be asked to kill or be killed. It is fraught with the risk of being sent into an unpopular conflict, as many now understand Iraq to be. Why should the children of our leadership classes or those ambitious for leadership chose such a path, when there are so many better options available to them?

In World War I, one of Congress's stated reasons for proposing a draft was that without it, too many of the upper-class children would rush to service, and we'd lose the leadership class of the country. In 1956, a majority of the graduating classes of Stanford, Harvard and Princeton joined the military, and most were not drafted. Leadership was then understood to have a moral dimension. The cry "follow me" was more convincing than "charge!" Those who aspired to future leadership saw military service as necessary to their credibility.

As a country, we have stopped viewing military service as a way to make a principled statement. We sell it instead as a job opportunity, one from which those with better options are excused. We need to revisit our stance on who should serve, and why. All members of our elite class need not serve, just a representative number, enough to bring the country's leadership in line with the rest of the country. With such leaders, with such a military, we will be a stronger, fairer, better country. With such leaders, the enlistment plans of young Jimmy McCain need not seem so surprising.

Kathy Roth-Doquet co-wrote "AWOL, The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service and How It Hurts Our Country" (Harper Collins, 2006).

Copyright © 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures

August 2, 2006

International Peace Day--Let's Plan Some Midwest Events

The International Day of Peace is September 21st! Here is the basics if you want more ideas or information check out the link referenced in the title...

WHAT? The International Day of Peace provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of Peace on a shared date. Use the International Day of Peace annually to highlight the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World, 2001 to 2010.

WHEN? Established by a United Nations resolution in 1981, the International Day of Peace was first celebrated September 1982.Now held annually, 21st of September - The International Day of Peace!

WHERE? Wherever you are!

WHO? You and all who care about building Cultures of Peace for the children of this and future generations.

WHY? To mark our individual and collective progress toward building Cultures of Peace, and serve as a reminder of our permanent commitment to Peace, above all interests and differences of any kind.So do any of us have some great ideas about how we in the Midwest can get active on this day? DISCUSS YOUR IDEAS HERE AND GET ORGANIZED!!!