By Gerry Condon / Common Dreams
Winter’s arrival in the northern hemisphere brings increased concern about the war in Ukraine—now in its tenth month. Concern about the suffering of civilians under siege, and the fate of millions of refugees. Concern about the energy crisis and militarization in Europe. Concern about war-related food shortages in Africa. And concern about the possibility of a civilization-ending nuclear war.
In the face of these compounding disasters, the world’s people are confronted by the apparent readiness of Russia, Ukraine, the U.S., and NATO to dig in for a long war in which there will be no winners.
Veterans For Peace (VFP) shares all of these concerns. As far back as 2015, we called for the withdrawal of all NATO forces from Ukraine’s borders with Russia. Like many observers, we saw this unnecessary and totally avoidable war coming. On February 24, 2022, the day that Russia invaded Ukraine, we issued an urgent call for Diplomacy Not War. Veterans For Peace is part of the Peace In Ukraine Coalition, which is calling for a ceasefire and diplomacy to end the war before it is too late.
Now, with the holiday season almost upon us, we join in the calls by religious leaders and others for a temporary truce in Ukraine, harkening back to the storied “Christmas Truce” in 1914 during World War I, when German and British soldiers came out of their trenches to celebrate together.
As veterans who have experienced the carnage of war, we feel great empathy for the young soldiers on both sides of this bloody war who are being killed and injured in the tens of thousands. We know all too well that the survivors will be traumatized and scarred for life. We say Enough is Enough—War is Not the Answer.
We want urgent, good-faith diplomacy to end the war in Ukraine, not more U.S. weapons, advisors, and endless war. And certainly not a nuclear war. We want to see those billions of dollars going for climate, jobs, healthcare, and housing, not for weapons manufacturers and war profiteers.
As soldiers who have resisted wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, we support war resisters on all sides, including Conscientious Objectors, draft resisters, deserters, and all who refuse to participate in killing. We especially encourage U.S. military personnel to refuse to participate in training, arming, advising, or otherwise engaging in this and other wars of empire. We furthermore call on the U.S. government to end all its wars and withdraw our troops from multiple countries around the world.
It is time to reverse course now. Drop the weapons. Embrace diplomacy and peace. For the sake of Ukraine. For the sake of Russia, Europe, and the United States. For the sake of all the peoples of the world. A holiday truce could be the first step toward peace.
Enough Is Enough—War Is Not the Answer!
Ceasefire Now—Negotiate, Don’t Escalate!
Support Soldiers Who Refuse to Kill!
Enya Anderson, VFP National Board
Ellen Barfield, Past Vice President, VFP National Board; Co-founder, Baltimore VFP
Medea Benjamin, VFP Advisory Board, CODEPINK Women for Peace
Marjorie Cohn, VFP Advisory Board; Past President, National Lawyer’s Guild
Gerry Condon, Past President, VFP National Board
Paul Cox, VFP National Board
Michael Dempsey, VFP National Board; President, Monterey, CA, VFP
Jim Driscoll, VFP Climate Crisis and Militarism Project
Mike Ferner, Past President, VFP National Board
Mark Foreman, Past Treasurer, VFP National Board
Gerald Hassett, Vice President, New York City VFP
Matthew Hoh, VFP Advisory Board
Helen Jaccard, Manager, VFP Golden Rule Project
Eric Johansson, Past President, San Francisco VFP
Tarak Kauff, Past Member, VFP National Board
Bob Keilbach, Secretary, New York City VFP
Kathy Kelly, VFP Advisory Board; Board President, World Beyond War
Barry Ladendorf, Past President, VFP National Board
Gene Marx, Past Secretary, VFP National Board
Ray McGovern, VFP Advisory Board; co-founder, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Maj. (ret’d) Ken Mayers, USMCR; VFP National Board
Nick Mottern, VFP National Board; Co-coordinator, BanKillerDrones
Barry Riesch, Past President, VFP National Board
Doug Rawlings, Co-founder, VFP; Past Vice President, VFP National Board
Denny Riley, USAF, Our war in Vietnam
Susan Schnall, President, VFP National Board
Joshua Shurley, Secretary, VFP National Board
Alice Slater, VFP Nuclear Abolition Working Group
Rick Staggenborg, President, Mid-Valley Oregon VFP
David Swanson, VFP Advisory Board, World Beyond War
Mike Tork, Treasurer, VFP National Board
Michael Wong, Vice President, San Francisco VFP
Col. (Ret) Ann Wright, VFP Advisory Board; Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity