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Ralph interviews two recent military veterans. First, Erik Edstrom, author of “Un-American: A Soldier’s Reckoning of Our Longest War” tells us about his awakening from West Point Army Ranger to peace advocate. Then, Garett Reppenhagen, a former sniper and now director of Veterans for Peace, tells us how that organization helps veterans put down their weapons and work for peace.

Erik Edstrom is a graduate of West Point and U.S. Army Ranger School, and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He’s the author of Un-American: A Soldier’s Reckoning of Our Longest War.




I think if you’re an advocate for drone warfare as a method of foreign policy, you need to have your head examined. It’s not going to achieve your objectives. You’re actively committing terrorism. And we certainly as a country would not accept drone strikes on our land.  So why is it acceptable for us to do it elsewhere?

Erik Edstrom, author of Un-American: A Soldier’s Reckoning of Our Longest War

The American people have betrayed the American soldiers by basically treating the war like elevator music for the last 20 years. It’s disgusting.

Erik Edstrom, author of Un-American: A Soldier’s Reckoning of Our Longest War



Erik, you ought to be commended for writing a book like this. I’ve often been very upset that soldiers are not given voice. they’re flattered by the politicians that get them in these criminal wars of aggression. And I guess the expectations’ that soldiers will respond with public silence about what they saw and experienced.

Ralph Nader

Garett Reppenhagen is Executive Director of Veterans for Peace and a US Army veteran.




[Military recruiters are] able to have conversations with your children while they’re playing video games in their bedroom or in their living room and convince them to join the military. And they don’t have to wear a uniform, obviously. They don’t have to identify themselves as a military recruiter until they’ve really cornered your kid into a discussion and are talking about the possibilities of, “If you like video games and shooting them up, if you want to do it for real, they have a way for you to do it.”

Garett Reppenhagen, executive director of Veterans for Peace

It’s pretty crazy, some of the stories that we hear from kids that are being approached by recruiters online… How they get them to get into one-on-one conversations, or group chat rooms, or other things to have these conversations with them… and sometimes bully or trick them into joining the military.

Garett Reppenhagen, executive director of Veterans for Peace


  1. Donald Klepack says:

    Was a member of Veterans for Peace and because of life it elapsed and because of this program I just renewed. So thank you very much. I also want to quote these words lauded by Dennis Kucinich. –

    “We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.”

    American interventionism is about using military force to impose our way, and it has come at an extraordinary cost to our nation, to people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other places.

    If we use our nation’s resources to build America, not destroy other countries, we will indeed be an example to the world.”

    This was said by a President in the 21st Century.

    His Name is Donald Trump. As a progressive I did not vote for him and probably never will but sad that my my friends and many fellow progressive’s were vicious against his message in 2016.

    • Mike Ferner says:

      Thanks very much for your comments, Donald and welcome back to Veterans For Peace. I’m a former nat. president.

  2. Rose Dyson says:

    As a researcher on violence in the media who has written extensively on the harmful effects I am especially appreciative of the evidence produced by Lte Col.David Grossman, psychologist and military expert. First person shooter video games teach kids that killing is fun. This is dangerous and disfunctional play

  3. Andy Berman says:

    Dennis Kucinich’s words are admirable, but his long time campaign to legitimize the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria is not in line with those words.
    Muckraking journal SNOPES reported as far back as 2017 Kucinich’s efforts on behalf of Assad: “On 4 April 2017, the same day dozens of civilians suffocated to death in a sarin gas attack carried out by the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, former United States Representative and current Ohio gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich boarded a plane and flew to Britain to speak at a two-day conference attended by two Syrian government officials. The event was organized by the European Centre for the Study of Extremism (EuroCSE) — an organization described by multiple Syrian organizations in Britain as existing “primarily to spread propaganda for the Assad dictatorship.”

    After yet another deadly attack in Syria on 7 April 2018 in which the Assad regime has again been accused of killing scores of civilians with chemical weapons in the city of Douma, Kucinich’s trip and its funding source — along with multiple visits to Syria and meetings with Assad”

  4. Fritzi Cohen says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you Donald. The viciousness against his message demonstrates the bankruptcy
    of the democratic party. And Kudos to Dennis Kucinich for putting peace and our country above politics.

  5. Stan Levin says:

    Memorial Day: Recruiter’s Siren Song to Hero (Under Construction)
    By Stan Levin
    Listen up, son.
    You are one of today’s pawns
    on the chessboard,
    and the recruiter sitting across from you
    is the chess master.
    He is not your friend, son.
    He knows you better than you know yourself.
    He knows about testosterone,
    He knows about immaturity, and the naiveté
    of children such as yourself.
    He is counting on his advantages
    to checkmate your disadvantages.
    This is not his first day …
    But it is yours, and a fateful one you need to think hard about.
    Harder than ever.
    He does not have your best interest at heart,
    But I do ….
    Listen carefully to what the recruiter is not saying.
    Do not lust after a chestful of ribbons and medals.
    He is doing his job,
    and I am appealing to your senses of right and wrong
    to prevail.
    The recruiter has a job,
    he has a product,
    he has a mission,
    he has a career.
    Don’t do it, son.
    You have a life.
    Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
    Now, who
    in the prime of his life
    would not thrill to pulse-raising words, the likes of this?
    To Somewhere Over the Rainbow
    to Over There, Over There,
    where glory resides,
    and innocent blood is hot
    Climbing high, into the sun,
    A maneuver that could cost you your life,
    apparently not a consideration of the song-writer ,
    calling into question his credentials.
    Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
    Uh – Oh
    At ’em boys, Give ’em the gun!
    Be mindful.
    Your adversary,
    some other mother’s child,
    will answer in kind,
    whose purpose
    at the moment,
    is to kill you.
    And you will discover, if you survive the duel,
    that you are not John Wayne …
    and this is not an MGM set ….
    Nor Disneyland, either
    Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
    How exquisitely exciting to contemplate is that!
    A private roller coaster,
    a high-tech instrument of death,
    limitless in motion on all planes and dimensions .
    And you, a hero under construction,
    in charge,
    answerable to no one.
    It is very seductive.
    We know.
    Off with one heckuva roar!
    Children love noisy encounters,
    just about everything is a game to children.
    The recruiter is counting on you, son.
    The Military-Industrial-Complex is counting on you, son.
    The pretense-infected government is counting on you.
    None are particularly concerned with how this turns out for you.
    Many of us, who have been there, are greatly concerned.
    We live in fame, or go down in flame,
    The fame fantasy, illusory, wondrous,
    riles up your pride,
    your sense of patriotism,
    and your vulnerability, as well.
    The flame part …..
    not so much … and certainly no glory.
    Hey! Nothing’ll stop the U.S. Air Force!
    Not true, recruit …. Beware not to assist in the seduction of yourself.
    There are better things you can do with your life,
    than to surrender it to the siren call.
    To this, many can attest!
    Stan Levin is a Korean War veteran, USN 1950-1954, and active member of San Diego chapter Veterans for Peace.

  6. Mike Ferner says:

    Terrific program! Thank you, Ralph, Erik and Garett. No punches pulled. All this needs to be heard by every person in the country who pays taxes.

  7. USA illegal wars since 1946 have murdered more people than Stalin murdered in half as many years ….Ruth Bader Ginzburg validates Admiralty Vatican decree of 150 in her opinion Seneca Nation v Cuomo…. greedy murderors ALL IN USA government since 1776

  8. Barry Klein says:

    We in the grassroots peace movement have a low cost tactic available to us and easily achieved: advisory elections placed on municipal and state ballots that demand a reformed Pentagon. This worked for the Nuclear Freeze movement launched in the early 80s and led to a series of treaties that brought about large reductions in the nuclear stockpiles of the US and USSR.

    Says Dan Ellsberg: “Dear Barry: Sounds GREAT! Not only promising, but essential! Yes, do sign me on, enthusiastically! (The model of the Freeze referenda is why I can call it promising–when nothing else is!)”

    For details people can contact me at 713-224-4144 and More ideas can be found on the Take Action page of

  9. Bruce K. says:

    Michael Moore and Bill Maher

  10. James Janko says:

    Thank you Eric Edstrom and Garret Rappenhagen!

    I’ve read Un-American, Eric Edstom’s memoir of the Afghanistan War, and can’t recommend it highly enough. Too few have the courage to tell the truth about their military experience.

    A bow of gratitude to Eric and Garret,

    James Janko

  11. Jim Basile says:

    Thank you Eric Edstrom, Ralph and Garret Rappenhagen! As a member of VFP Connecticut it was great hearing some kudos to VFP on your show. Erik’s book puts into words what many veterans in the anti military movement can use in continuing to wage Peace! We will be donating a copy of Un-American to the New Britain Public Library along with a presentation program educating people on the true costs of war!

  12. Jim Basile says:

    Saturday February 26th 11AM.
    New Britain Pubic Library

    Join three Vietnam veterans and one Conscientious Objector to that war as they discuss the new book,

    A Soldier’s Reckoning of Our Longest War
    by  34 year old Erik Edstrom.
    Veteran of the Afghanistan War.

    Listen and join the discussion on some facts on this “War on Terror,” opinions of Veterans for Peace, and what ordinary U.S. citizens need to know to stand up and help prevent the next WAR.