Two veterans from the United Kingdom visited Iowa City. Yesterday we were able to visit with them. They came to attend the annual Veterans for Peace Convention held in Madison , WI. They demonstrated at the State Fair in Iowa on Monday. They are charter members of the first Veterans for Peace across the Atlantic.
Michael Lyons joined the Royal Navy with good intent and high expectations. After he was transferred to Baghdad and was asked to take riffle training, he objected on the grounds of a conscientious objector. He spent 5 months in prison because as an atheist a "higher power" was not involved. When he was released and in prison he found many who thought as he did. The Wikileaks helped by Bradley Manning helped him decide that fighting wars was not the direction for him.
Ben Griffin joined the army in the UK and had spent six years serving his country. When he was in Afghanistan and saw the terrible way innocent civilians were treated, taking their electronic equipment and being incarcerated, he wanted out. He began linking the stories of other soldiers and connected the stories. So many stories are hidden because different assignments make it impossible to put the whole story together.
War and military ways are not the answer. Questions that direct our thinking to peaceful settlements and talking instead of forcing our corporate powers on countries that want to do things their way and save their natural resources for their own improvements are a much saner way to global economy and survival for all.
Bradley Manning testifies today. Call President Obama and tell him you believe in the rights of people to know the facts in a democratic society. Education is the answer.