It is better to "talk, talk, talk,..." for 10,000 years, than to waste even One Life for an Unjust and Unnecessary War.
Peace Vigils    United for Peace and Justice  Impeachment Organizations  

Peace in Novemberr 2007
  - Silent Peace Vigils on Friday Afternoons 5 - 5:30pm
- Rain or Shine, let your silence be heard! 
- Pro-peace or Anti-war messages only, please.
- No personal nor political bashing.
- Join those who share your concerns and take a stand for your convictions. 
- Signs are provided.
Meet across the street from the Post Office on College Street in Macon, Georgia

Searching for some  "Middle Ground"
Posted on Sun, Nov. 25, 2007

A national epidemic of all-or-nothing disease

When the horrors of one day in a Vietnamese village known as My Lai first surfaced, many Americans instinctively rallied to the defense of the Army officer at the center of the incident. That defense, in the context of what we knew at the time, was not unreasonable - the likelihood that Lt. William Calley of Columbus, Ga., was being made a scapegoat for the decisions of higher-ups; that the atrocities of My Lai were a tragic reality of the chaos of war, especially a war in which the enemy was not so easy to identify. But something curious began happening: Calley became, in the minds of some, not just an unfortunate caught in the middle of a tragedy, but a hero, a great American. It was not enough simply to defend Calley; he had to be lionized. (He was later court-martialed and served three and a half years of house arrest at his military barracks at Fort Benning.)

Something not so very different happened a few years later when a New Yorker named Bernard Goetz shot some subway toughs he said were trying to mug him. The image of Goetz as an ordinary guy defending himself against the thuggery and crime then rampant in New York quickly gave way, for some at least, to the myth of a heroic Charles Bronson figure playing out some real-life everyman fantasy of "Death Wish."

That pattern seems to be recurring with increasing frequency and intensity: Americans lining up on one side or the other of no-middle-ground causes that countenance no ambiguity and no ambivalence - just absolute heroes and absolute villains, angels and devils, the most inviolate good and the most unforgivable evil. And more and more often, it seems, those causes are split across troublesome chasms of race, class or both. Genarlow Wilson. The Duke lacrosse team. The Jena Six. They all have at least these three things in common: All have racial overtones, all involve obvious injustice, and all long ago plummeted past reasonable resolution and into a bottomless pit of angry, recriminatory, with-us-or-against-us absurdity. Wilson, a Georgia high schooler, was convicted of aggravated child molestation for having consensual sex with another teen and sentenced to a mandatory 10 years in prison - an outrageous legal backlash that raised legitimate questions of whether a nice white suburban youth would ever face even the remote possibility of such punishment for the same offense.

In Louisiana, six black teens beat up a white classmate in the town of Jena, prompting local authorities to charge one with no less than attempted murder, a charge later dropped. And at Duke, three lacrosse players were falsely accused of raping a stripper they had hired for an off-campus party. The district attorney in the case was later disbarred. Just about everybody, it seems, knows the facts of all these cases. So why do so many otherwise decent and intelligent people insist on turning what began as just and reasonable causes into outrageous crusades, and trying to make heroes out of those who have, to put it mildly, done nothing remotely heroic?

Genarlow Wilson, from all credible accounts, is a basically decent kid who did a bad thing; he's not the first or the last. He's also no hero; nor is he, in this context at least, a role model. In Louisiana, six teens beat up one. That's not a civil rights cause worthy of squeezing the Freedom Riders out of the history books, any more than the authorities who so grossly overreacted should be immortalized as champions of law and order. And in Durham, some white Duke college kids were subjected to a long, harrowing and uncalled-for ordeal. That doesn't make them choirboys, their behavior heroic or their accuser any kind of victim. We've all heard a lot of loud and more than faintly self-righteous cries for justice. Maybe what we should be crying out for is some perspective.

Dusty Nix, Columbus (Ga,) Ledger-Enquirer

More looking for Middle Ground

Posted on Sun, Nov. 25, 2007

U.S. still remains popular in much of the world

It seems hard to believe, but less than one year from today a new president-elect will be preparing to enter the White House.

Of course, he or she will face an unprecedented array of foreign-policy challenges: The Iraq war, global warming, Iran's nuclear program. ... But not least among them is regaining America's stature in the world.

At no other time in this country's modern history has America's reputation fallen to a point so low. Still, the new president should be heartened by a contradictory but indisputable fact: The popularity of the United States worldwide. Yes, the popularity.

I've worked in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq and many other places where America's image appears to be near bottom. In many of these places, I have visited the United States Embassy at 9 a.m. on Thursday - or whenever the consular section is accepting visa applications.

There, lines stretch around the block and back again. And many of the prospective applicants are young men, much like those young men who march in the streets denouncing the Yankee-Zionist enemy.

Ask them, as I have: What are you doing here? Why would you want to go to America? And every time, they will say: Oh, I don't dislike Americans. I love America. I just don't like your government.

They say that even in countries like Saudi Arabia, where anti-American sentiment seems to course through the blood. Of course, 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 came from the kingdom. During the time I have spent reporting there in recent years, I could not find anyone who was unwilling to spit vitriol about the United States.

And yet, if you introduce yourself to any Saudi man, chances are he will immediately tell you that he went to college at the University of Arizona, or some other school here, and wax eloquent about how much he enjoyed his time in the United States. To this day, a rite of passage for well-off Saudi men is to attend college in America.

A few months ago, an opinion column in the Arab News, an English-language newspaper in Riyadh, discussed this paradox and said: "It is curious that so many Arabs remain envious of the American way of life at a time when the U.S. has demonstrated such contempt for the Arab people. The truth is that the idea of America retains a dazzling allure - though America is afflicted by a chronic moral and spiritual malaise."

The Arab world remains deeply conflicted. And no matter what the new president does, it may be impossible to win over the fundamentalists on the Arab street. They have a different vision of the world. As Abbas Milani, an Iranian scholar at Stanford University, puts it: "These are the people who see Islam as an alternative to modernity." That may be an ideological contest the United States cannot win.

Still, much of the rest of the world wants - needs - to have good relations with America.

In Great Britain, Tony Blair lost office primarily because people thought he was too cozy with President Bush. They called him " Bush's poodle." And yet his successor, Gordon Brown, has hardly tried to distance himself from Washington.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder won office through vocal opposition to the Iraq war - and Bush. Nonetheless, his successor, Angela Merkel, has proved to be quite friendly. And what about France? No country was a greater antagonist during the buildup to the Iraq war and beyond. But when France's new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, visited Bush at the White House this month, he declared: "I want to reconquer the heart of America."

So, is this reservoir of goodwill enough to turn things around in January 2009? Probably not completely. If I were the new president, in my inauguration speech I would announce that I am closing Guantanamo.

Very soon after that, I would launch a significant new initiative on global warming - something that says: We get it now. Of course, the new president will very quickly have to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. That is a domestic demand first. But it will be welcomed abroad.

And I am sure he or she will be smart enough not to use provocative throw-away lines like "you're with us or against us" or "bring 'em on."

Winning back the world may not be as difficult as it seems. In fact the most important act will be Bush's goodbye wave as he steps aboard Marine One for the last time.

Joel Brinkley is a former correspondent for The New York Times and now a professor of journalism at Stanford University. His e-mail is:
Posted on Fri, Nov. 23, 2007

SOA protesters neither ignorant nor stupid

Contrary to Sloan Oliver's opinion, the annual protesters of the School of the Americas (that trains Latin American soldiers) at Fort Benning, are far from ignorant or stupid. They are led by dozens of ordained clergy of many denominations, religious sisters, military veterans, and many other educated, patriotic Americans who hold our government and our military to high moral standards.

Oliver naively believes our military would never do wrong; while it is to be honored for its service, military personnel sometimes do bad things, such as at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq were they humiliated and tortured foreign prisoners.

At SOA/WHISC, the Army has admitted that the military training manuals did include tactics such as torture. Only within the last 10 years did the Army revise these teaching manuals. Too late for the four American religious women murdered in 1980 in Central America by graduates of SOA. Too late for Archbishop Oscar Romero, shot at the altar in church by SOA graduates. Too late for six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter, at the University in San Salvador, attacked at home in the middle of the night and murdered by SOA graduates.

None of these victims was armed or a military threat to the dictators in government. The fact is that a large percentage of the graduates of SOA/WHISC have been identified in murders and human-rights violations when they returned home to Latin America. Unless Latin leaders sent only military thugs to be trained at SOA/WHISC, the percentage of those who returned south to bully and kill anti-government citizens is quite telling.

Why is our government in the business of training Latin American soldiers at Fort Benning? In the interests of our "national security?" If that is the reason, then for many decades our national security has depended on U.S. support of dictators, fascists and military coups of democratically elected leaders. And we preach to the world, so self righteously, how the U.S. is the champion of human rights.

David B. Connor is a resident of Macon.

Posted on Wed, Nov. 21, 2007

Simply untrue

Sloan Oliver's assertion that the U.S. Army School of the Americas did not teach torture is simply untrue. In the past, the SOA has been accused of training members of governments guilty of serious human rights abuses and of advocating techniques that violate accepted international standards, particularly the Geneva Conventions.

In 1996, the Pentagon admitted torture, execution, false imprisonment, extortion and other techniques were included in training manuals used at the SOA and by mobile training units in Latin America until 1991. This admission triggered an investigation by the Pentagon's inspector general.

In his final report, the inspector general said "mistakes" led to the inclusion of "objectionable" information in manuals used to train Latin American soldiers and officers at Fort Benning.

This was one reason the SOA lost it's legal authorization in 2001 and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation was established. The new curriculum does offer optional human rights training.

It seems to me protesting the use of torture is isn't really a liberal or Democratic issue. Perhaps it's the Christian, and more important, the moral thing to do.

John Planchon
Warner Robins

Posted on Sun, Nov. 18, 2007

How could this be?

The incident in Iraq involving the private security firm Blackwater USA was yanked from public scrutiny faster than a speeding politician going through the construction area around Hartley Bridge here in the good ol' USA. Why was a private security firm providing security for any member of our armed forces? Am I stupid? The logic behind this stinks to the highest level.

Ask your congressman or senator a few questions the next time he or she dares show their face back home. How much of the $50 or so billion currently under consideration by Congress is earmarked for "private security"? This amount is bound to go up faster than a Saturn rocket and the public outcry should make an atomic bomb look like a firecracker.

Private security for our military "heroes."


Ken Brown

Ron Richards
January 14, 1940 -  October 05, 2007

Setting an example

Last week our community lost a real treasure with the passing of Ron Richards. Ron was a gentle soul who touched the lives of all those around him with kindness and love.

On a cold, blustery afternoon in late February 2003, Ron stood at the corner of Pio Nono and Vineville avenues holding aloft a sign protesting America's imminent invasion of Iraq. Some of the drivers passing by gave Ron a thumbs-up or honked their horns, while many others made obscene gestures toward him.

Last Friday, the weekly gathering to protest the war drew a much larger crowd than would have been possible four years ago. Those who honked in solidarity with the demonstrators far outnumbered those who directed obscene gestures. It seems that many have finally realized what Ron tried to tell us years four ago: That the invasion of Iraq was a tragic mistake, a fiasco of the first order, an immoral waste of human life and valuable resources, and a testimony to national arrogance and vanity.

We will miss you, Ron, but we will always remember the example you set for us, and we will try to keep faith.

Randy Harshbarger

Posted on Fri, Oct. 19, 2007

Georgians for "Bringing Them Home" - Now!...
The job of a Citizen is to Speak-Out (Mouths Wide Open)
Peace Storm over Macon 9-14-07

 - Please join us -

The THIRD FRIDAY of every month 


Moratorium weekends. Dec. 21-23; Jan. 18-20. 

Lee and Peggy
Sisters Lee A. Johnson of Macon, left, and Peggy Johnson, a Navy veteran of Lexington Okla. right,
 attend a peace rally at the Pentagon in Washington, DC


Military members join the movement ---
 Appeal For Redress .org

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APRIL 25, 2007: "Buying the War"

Four years ago this spring the Bush administration took leave of reality and plunged our country into a war so poorly planned it soon turned into a disaster. The story of how high officials misled the country has been told. But they couldn't have done it on their own; they needed a compliant press, to pass on their propaganda as news and cheer them on.

Since then thousands of people have died, and many are dying to this day. Yet the story of how the media bought what the White House was selling has not been told in depth on television. As the war rages into its fifth year, we look back at those months leading up to the invasion, when our press largely surrendered its independence and skepticism to join with our government in marching to war.

The American number of troops killed in Iraq now exceeds the number of victims on 9/11. We have been fighting there longer than it took us to defeat the Nazis in World War II. The costs of the war are reckoned at one trillion dollars and counting. The number of Iraqis killed -- over thirty-five thousand last year alone-- is hard to pin down. The country is in chaos...

 Read the entire transcript:


"The Big Lie" 
Posted on Thu, Aug. 30, 2007

Continuing 'The Big Lie'

There have been four new TV political ads airing for a little more than a week across the U.S. that use wounded veterans or relatives of slain soldiers to explain what a tragedy it would be for Congress "for political reasons" to withdraw from the war in Iraq.

These are part of a $15 million, privately supported effort by a group of powerful Republicans who have strong ties to President Bush. It is the latest effort to shore up crumbling support in Congress for a war that has fallen out of favor with more than 70 percent of Americans.

These 30-second spots are being broadcast in 20 selected states and in more than five dozen congressional districts, preceding the report Gen. David Petraeus is to give to Congress concerning the success or failure of the U.S. surge effort in Iraq.

The campaign is spearheaded by Freedoms Watch, (online, Freedoms whose spokesman, according to The New York Times, is Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to President Bush and a member of the group's board.

Fleischer told The Times particular states were targeted because "Anyone who is considering switching their vote is somebody we care about."

And McClatchy newspapers reported that Freedoms Watch president, Bradley A. Blakeman, is a former senior assistant to President Bush. He says the mission "is to get out the message that surrender is not an option in Iraq - to stiffen the back of Congress to do the right thing and not to switch votes for political reasons."

Lucky us, Georgia is one of the states that the President's Men feel members of Congress need that extra spinal support to keep the war humming.

While one might disagree with the sentiment in the ads because they are deceptive in the way they are presented, everyone has a right to lobby for political causes, even bad ones. It would be nice, however, if the campaign were based on truth.

That's not the case here. These ads are disingenuous; three of the four TV spots are based on a continuation of The Big Lie, that there really is a connection between Iraq and the Sept. 11 attack by Islamic terrorists.

Well I'm sorry, but that just isn't so, and anybody capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time should know this by now.

There is absolutely no evidence that Saddam Hussein, a genuinely nasty piece of work, played any role in 9/11. When America unleashed its "shock and awe" attack on Iraq, it didn't target the Saudi Arabians who co-opted our jetliners and used them as flying bombs.

The U.S. went to war with Iraq supposedly to unseat Saddam because Mr. Bush and Congress mistakenly thought Iraq had those infamous Weapons of Mass Destruction and was a threat to the United States.

But here's the storyline of the first ad broadcast; the others follow the general tone. A injured veteran, in a home-like setting, says:

"Congress was right to vote to fight terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. I re-enlisted after 9/11 because I don't want my sons to see what I saw.

"I want to be free and safe. I know what I have lost.

"I also know that if we pull out now everything that I've given up and sacrificed will mean nothing.

"They attacked us, and they will again. They won't stop with Iraq.

"We are winning on the ground, and we are making real progress. It's no time to quit.

"It's no time for politics."

The ad shows the twin towers of the world trade center with smoke billowing from gaping holes where the airliners hit.

A later ad has a mother of a veteran who tell us that "we've already had one 9/11, we don't need another one."

These ads are slick - and sick. They make their point through deception while twisting reality. Incidentally, the phone number the ads give to call your congressional representative - 1-877-222-8001 - isn't Congress. It's a number at Freedoms Watch, and they are only looking for messages of support.

To call Congress direct, to give whatever message you might wish, the Senate's number is (202) 225-3121 and the House is (202) 225-3121.

Phil Dodson can be reached at 744-4239 or at

  Christian vigils:  

Jews, Christians, Moslems :
Old Testament links US All under One Law

Moses brought new laws and new regulations for his people. Moses (peace be upon him) not only gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, but a very comprehensive ceremonial law for the guidance of his people.

As regards to Jesus (peace be upon him) he took a strong stand to assure the Jews that he had not come with a new religion or new regulations different from what Moses brought to the world. Jesus was quoted in the gospel of Matthew 5:17-18 saying "Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill for verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no way pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

Mohammad (peace be upon him) took the pains to assure what Jesus had assured before him to the world. Mohammad also came to fulfill not to deny or destroy what Moses had established and what Jesus confirmed.

You can read in the Holy Quran chapter 2 verse 62 "Those who believe in the Quran, and those who follow the Jewish scriptures and the Christians and the Sabians, and any who believe in God and the last day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve."

Muslims have been warned many times in the Quran not to discriminate against any previous laws or scriptures that were revealed upon Abraham, Moses and Jesus and all must be believed in and must be admitted throughout Muslim behavior. The Quran stated in chapter 2, verse 136 "Say you: We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Ishmail, Isaac, Jacob, and the tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to all prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them, and we bow to God in peace."

That is why there has never been quoted any statement by a Muslim against the person of Abraham, Moses or Jesus. It always has and always will be, one law and one message from the Lord of Universe to the mankind.

Ahmed Yousef is a resident of Macon.
Posted on Mon, Apr. 02, 2007         The United States Social Forum    Louise's Peace Flags
contact: Lindsay D Holliday   @   478-746-5695  E-Mail 

   30 Minutes of Silence Can Say a Lot!