Letter to Cindy Sheehan from Phil Restino, VFP 136
VFP Resolution 2011-7 “Impeachment Of President Barack H. Obama For War Crimes” (Complete text)
From Phil Rstino – Vetrerans For peace Ch. 136, Central Florida
To: Cindy Sheehan, Anti-war activist.
Happy New Year and, yes, I would most certainly welcome the opportunity to speak about the “left-only-need-apply” antiwar movement not even mentioning for the past 9 months as the drum-beats for war on Syria have been beating, let alone embracing, a real chance to actually prevent another illegal, immoral, unconstitutional, outright war of aggression on yet another country while on its watch … that being Rep. Walter Jones’ HCR 107 threatening impeachment of the POTUS should he once again order an attack on another sovereign nation of innocent black and brown skinned people without first getting the proper approval from the people’s representatives in Congress.
Will antiwar orgs get behind HCR 107 to prevent war on Syria? Link
As I’ve been trying to tell you and others for years now, that our call for impeachment is NOT about what the sellouts in Washington, DC will do or not do … but it is ALL ABOUT we the American people doing our duty as responsible citizens and making the call for impeachment first ourselves. As the bumper sticker says, Cindy … “It’s Not Them”
On June 16, 2005 I watched on-line you and others assemble and testify in the Basement Hearings held by Rep. John Conyers concerning the Downing Street Memo. Later that day, outside at the impeachment rally there was our friend Mike Ferner of Veterans For Peace who gave the following 8-minute speech which got me to look up Veterans For Peace on the Internet, call them up and ask if I could join.
Veteran For Peace Mike Ferner at Impeach Bush Rally, Washington, DC – 16 June 2005 VIDEO
Please note that it was these words so righteously and firmly stated by Mike Ferner that day that got me to join Veterans For Peace …
It is our responsibility, and as one VFP member stated, our sworn duty, to uphold the Constitution and impeach this criminal president. As citizens, every one of us is complicit in his crimes. By virtue of that complicity, we are compelled not only by the law but by morality and history to do whatever we can to stop this war of aggression and these crimes against humanity. The Nuremberg Tribunals following World War II did not favorably judge the first nation the world determined had waged a war of aggression, nor its “good citizens” who obeyed their government.
As you may remember, it was shortly after Obama drone-bombed Pakistan on his 3rd day in office in January 2009 that one of our chapter’s most solid members, Tom Santoni, wrote the article “IMPEACH OBAMA!” and it took a little while to get it up on AfterDowningStreet.org at Link
Our Central Florida chapter of VFP (with my best buddy Roberto being one of our young chapter’s two black members) was forced to take on the issue of applying the same standard of a public call for impeachment for the same war crimes that Mike Ferner, Elliott Adams and Michael McPhearson of Veterans For Peace, Medea Benjamin, Jodi Evans and Gail Murphy of CODEPINK, Debra Sweet of World Cant Wait, David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org, Chris Hedges, Ray McGovern, Daniel Ellsburg, Margerie Cohn, Elizabeth Holtzman, and so many others had been so righteously and so very publicly demanding for the prior 4-5 years … as somehow all of these national spokespersons for impeachment were silent when it was a Black Democrat doing it.
As for racism, according to our mutual friend Larry Pinkney applying a different standard for the same crime based on race IS racism, and Larry has told me that as a Black Man he couldn’t have been more offended and insulted.
While the rest of the so-called antiwar community and so-called “progressives” were celebrating the (s)election of the first Black American President instead of applying the same standard of a public call for impeachment as they should have been, our relatively young Central Florida chapter of Veterans For Peace was forced to go through the heated debates, the awkwardness of possibly losing friendships and members resigning from our chapter, etc. to do our “duty” (as per Mike Ferner’s righteous speech given to the public on June 16, 2005) and take on the issue, debate it, and eventually vote on our own resolution calling for Congress to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against the current POTUS Obama for war crimes.
The men and women of VFP Chapter 136 took Mike Ferner’s words and walked the walk. We did our duty, regardless how “uncomfortable” it was, and we passed the resolution and a couple of months later I was sent by our members to the VFP National Convention to bring the resolution there for VFP’s national membership to vote on it … where the national leadership and those who followed them soundly rejected the 2009 impeachment resolution. We did have Adam Kokesh there in 2009 endorsing our resolution to impeach Obama for war crimes.
During that same time we approached David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet.org and Debra Sweet of World Can’t Wait with the slogan “War Crimes are War Crimes: Prosecute Bush, Impeach Obama !” … naively thinking that they would grab it and run with it, after all they were all about stopping the wars and upholding the Constitution, right ?. Well, you know how that worked out Cindy. The closest we got was David Swanson changing the name of AfterDowningStreet.org to “War Is A Crime” and Debra Sweet once again asking poor activists to donate even more money to pay the NY Times (the same paper that lied to us for more than a year about non-existent WMD in Iraq, which gave us the war that took your own son’s life) thousands of dollars to print “Crimes are Crimes” in a full-page ad. During this time we also lost Tom Santoni and a few other of our chapter’s more solid members stating in resignation that VFP was not consistent in its commitment to its principles and was basically an arm of the Democrat political party.
In 2010 we sought out your help with the impeachment resolution, and you thankfully put adherence to principle before political loyalties, and you quite publicly by endorsed and blogged about our resolution to impeach Obama for war crimes Link We were also able to get the public endorsements and support of International Law Professor Francis Boyle and Native American activist John “Splitting the Sky” Boncore during the lead-up to the 2010 VFP national convention, where the national leadership and its followers once again voted down the impeachment resolution … however, this time with more of a fight from the rank and file general membership. After the impeachment resolution was voted down at the 2010 VFP national convention, our chapter co-chair Geoff Stetson sent in a written resignation to the national office of Veterans For Peace stating the same reasons for resigning from VFP as the members of our chapter who had left prior to him … and Geoff volunteered and campaigned wildly for Obama on his own in 2008.
Finally, after Obama did his own “shock and awe” bombing of Libya on March 19, 2011 we were able to later that same day get Cynthia McKinney to endorse our resolution to impeach Obama for war crimes. I was able to get my own article “Impeach now or forever hold up peace” published pretty widely in print and on the Internet in June 2011 Link , Voters For Peace called for Obama’s impeachment for war crimes around the same time, and then Larry Pinkney published his article “Is it time to impeach Barack Obama?” in the Black Commentator in July 2011 Link and the impeachment resolution was finally passed by the rank and file and its reluctant, yet calculating, national leadership at VFP’s 2011 national convention fair and square and in the same manner as the resolution to impeach Junior Bush was passed at the VFP national convention in 2004.
Cindy, please note that after a year of asking for a copy of the letter/”fax” that VFP’s President Elliott Adams refused to issue and sign subsequent to the passage of VFP Resolution 2011-7 Link and which acting VFP Executive Director Mike Ferner refused to make a copy of available to VFP members, let alone anyone else in the public as was so enthusiastically done by he himself in 2005 following the passage of the 2004 impeachment resolution, I then asked the current VFP President Leah Bolger to see to it that a copy of the letter/”fax” to Congress sent by VFP’s National Office in August 2011 be made available. Leah Bolger in an email this summer prior to the 2012 VFP National Convention stated that she would not have VFP National make a copy of the letter/”fax” to Congress signed and sent my Mike Ferner in August of 2011 calling on them to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Obama available to VFP members and that VFP’s national leadership would have nothing more to do with carrying out VFP’s Resolution 2011-7, let alone promoting it.
Here is a 40-second video of Mike Ferner publicly promoting a copy of the March 19, 2005 letter signed by then VFP President David Cline which was sent to each member of Congress per the 2004 impeachment resolution calling on them to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush: Link
Since the leadership of my own national office of Veterans For Peace would not provide me with a copy of the letter/”fax” to Congress supposedly sent as per the passed VFP Resolution 2011-7, I then contacted my own member of Congress, Rep. Sandy Adams of Florida’s 24th district (pre-2013), to get a copy of the letter/”fax” from her.
Republican Congresswoman Sandy Adams’ office has no record of every receiving from VFP’s national office a letter/”fax” signed by acting Executive Director Mike Ferner calling on members of Congress to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Obama for war crimes as per VFP Resolution 2011-7 and as was done in precedent after the passage of VFP’s 2004 impeachment resolution.
I think that perhaps it’s time that the current VFP Executive Director Mike Reid take a look at this issue so as to figure out how to get a copy of this important document made available to at least myself and our Central Florida chapter (the chapter that sponsored the resolution 2011-7, which passed at the 2011 national convention in the same manner as the previous impeachment resolution passed at the 2004 national convention), and in all fairness, made available to all members of Veterans For Peace as was done with the March 19, 2005 letter to Congress signed by then VFP President David Cline and vigorously promoted by Mike Ferner as per the 40-second video linked above.
I’m beginning to seriously wonder if there is actually a copy anywhere of the letter/”fax” signed by acting VFP Executive Director Mike Ferner and sent to all members of Congress in August 2011 instructing them to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Obama for war crimes as per the passage of VFP Resolution 2011-7.
I don’t know about you Cindy, but I’m beginning to wonder if Mike Ferner or anyone else at VFP’s national office even sent out the letter to Congress directing them to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Obama for war crimes as per the requirements of the resolution.
Think about it, Cindy, out of 535 members of Congress with roughly half of them being Republicans determined to make Obama a one-term president you would think that at least one of those members of Congress upon getting the letter from VFP’s national office calling on the Congress to immediately begin impeachment proceedings against President Obama would at least mention the letter, if not make some noise about it, hey ???
Yet, nothing … even during the 2012 election year … not one mention anywhere in the most alternative of the alternative press (let alone the corporate-stream media as our friend Larry Pinkney likes to put it) of the national veterans antiwar organization passing a resolution at its annual national convention calling for the impeachment of the Democrat POTUS.
This doesn’t make any sense … does it to you ? Did VFP’s national office under the direction of acting Executive Director Mike Ferner even send the letter to the 535 members of Congress ? I’m beginning to feel the same kind of betrayal by the national leadership of Veterans For Peace that I felt when I first learned that those in our government who were supposed to be defending us on Sept 11th, 2001 actually were making sure that my fellow Americans were attacked so that they could get some pre-planned wars that they wanted.
Where is our respective outrage regarding this most serious of betrayals, Cindy ? I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell cannot be silent on this !!!
Looking forward to hearing back from you, Cindy.
Thanks again for all that you do.
Chapter Co-Chair, VFP Chapter 136
Central Florida Veterans For Peace
ph/fax: (386) 788-2918