In addition to the 200,000 troops already deployed across the world, U.S cities are being occupied by military force. Thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and police have been deployed to cities across the nation as Trump calls on the military to “dominate the streets” and that he’d override any local control if governors refuse to deploy the national guard. Threats and intimidation are tactics of terror by this administration. Trump’s statements, as well as past statements, are incendiary and effectively declare war on our communities.
Across the country, tear gas, flash bangs, and other “non-lethal” weapons have been used on peaceful protesters. Reporters have been targeted, arrested and injured. Children have been tear gassed. Elders have been harassed. People have been killed as a result of police and National Guard violence in Louisville and many more hospitalized across the country. These actions should be condemned and most importantly, we must refuse to participate in these unjust actions by speaking out and talking to our friends and families who are currently serving in the military.
Veterans For Peace calls on all military leaders and personnel to refuse deployment. We, as veterans, know the terrible aftermath of participating in actions that are morally wrong against communities in other countries. Now is the time to refuse to participate in orders that are unjust.
Veterans call on Minnesota National Guard to stand down
Veterans For Peace calls for the immediate withdrawal of the Minnesota National Guard. We are appalled to see military weapons, vehicles and equipment once again deployed in U.S. cities to control community members who are reacting to a long history of state-sanctioned violence. When an already embattled community is subjected to militarized intimidation, by design, their environment becomes a war zone. We call on all those who are serving with the National Guard to refuse to serve violent and racist interests.
Veterans For Peace denounces the ongoing instances of police violence against Black bodies and people of color, this time resulting in the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We also stand in opposition to the State of Minnesota’s and the Minneapolis police force’s militarized response to the right to protest.
Learning nothing from the now seemingly endless examples of ineffective attempts to silence protests with militarized violence – from Ferguson to Baltimore to New Orleans to Standing Rock – political figures continue to call on more military to quell the powerful resistance seen from the people in Minneapolis who demand justice. We continue to see the escalation of threats of violence from those in power – from Trump’s tweets threatening to shoot protestors to the governor’s decision to send in the national guard.
As Veterans For Peace, we know that increased militarization in our communities will never bring peace. We know that peace is only achieved with a strong commitment to justice. As veterans who served in various wars, we know there is a connection between increasing racist violence in the United States and the massive indiscriminate killing of hundreds of thousands of people in other lands. Growing racism against black, brown and Muslim people in the United States is a reflection of the racism that justifies killing non-white people abroad. The U.S. military deliberately uses racism to motivate young men and women to kill.
As veterans, we know what it’s like to be called to a “duty” that goes against our conscience. We urge all current National Guard members to lay down their weapons and refuse to fight against their neighbors and fellow community members. We urge you all to be fully informed as you make profound choices with possibly serious consequences. We urge any troops facing possible deployment to Minneapolis or already there to contact the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Task Force at (619) 463-2369 and/or firstname.lastname@example.org for referral to a civilian attorney to discuss your options.
Our nation’s consistent option for militarization and the use of deadly force when it is not needed—at home and abroad—is exactly why we find ourselves in this situation. It makes no sense to think more violence and trauma heaped upon the Minneapolis community will quell the unrest. The Governor has moved beyond using a militarized police force to using the military. He is relying on intimidation and fear to end this. The only thing that will quiet this storm is justice.
Ways to take action:
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