Chuck Overby 2007 Japan Trip
VFP Constitutional Amendment Proposal
I bring with me, my Japanese friends -- a small bit of hope that I now
share with you – a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution,
modeled after your Article 9.
After several years of effort, I have finally been successful in getting
a US veterans group to which I belong, Veterans for Peace (VFP) -- to adopt
a resolution at their August 2006 National Convention in Seattle that now
enables me to send this proposed US constitutional amendment to all members
of the US Congress – 100 in the US Senate and 435 in the US House of Representatives.
Veterans for Peace is a relatively small US veterans group – perhaps
5,000 to 6,000 members in the entire USA – but growing as a result of increasing
disillusionment in America with the Iraq disaster with which President Bush
and his neo gcon-menh (and women) have afflicted us. Some veteranfs groups
in America have a million or more members, and are what I would characterize
as somewhat chauvinistic. VFP is a quite a different kind of veterans organization.
At the end of these comments I have included a copy of VFPfs gStatement of
Purpose.h You will note that in the last of these five statements, VFP seeks
to do what your Article 9 does for Japan, namely – gTo abolish war as an
instrument of national policy.h
For many years I have been dreaming of somehow reaching our United States
Congress with a proposal for a US Constitutional Amendment, modeled after
beautiful Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.
Over the years I have sent proposals to individual congress persons asking
that they at least read my proposal into the Congressional Record, the official
journal of Congressional actions. My mailings have mostly been sent to those
gMembers of Congressh (MOC) who have been critics of US war policies and
acts. Sadly, I have never received a response from a single MOC.
Thus I am exuberantly delighted that my VFP gbuddiesh have at last authorized
me to send this proposed US constitutional amendment to all members of Congress.
By the time I arrive in Japan for this visit in support of your Article 9
– 535 letters will be in the US mail headed for Washington. At the end of
this note I give you a copy of this package consisting of two pages – 
VFPfs letter, signed by VFP President Elliott Adams, and  the proposed
constitutional amendment itself.
You should also know that enclosed in each of these 535 letters is one of
my gsignatureh Sadako-Article 9 origami peace cranes. I am bringing many
of these cranes with me to Japan – a few of which I hope to hang on Sadakofs
statue in Hiroshima Peace Park.
I am indebted to several of my Athens Ohio Unitarian Fellowship friends,
and to two young neighbor boys, Jonathan and Christopher, who helped to get
more than 1,000 of these cranes folded for Japan. I am also indebted to
additional Unitarian people who along with a few Ohio University students
became my gCongressional letter addressing crew.h On the evening of May
17th we hand addressed all 535 letters to Congress. May 17th is Norwegian
Independence Day – that day in 1905 when Norway and Sweden non-violently
(I think) became two separate nations. My parents, Matilda and Martin, were
Norwegian immigrants to America in the late 19th and early 20th Century.
Your Article 9 is so commandingly wonderful in its ability over these past
60 years to keep Japan from killing people in wars – that even my friends
in VFP were a little concerned that a war-renouncing amendment for America,
exactly like Article 9, would be too rich for our first try in the USA. Thus
VFP slightly modified my original constitutional amendment proposal. Using
aphorist words, ghalf a loafh and gfull loafh -- I speak of having received
a ghalf a loafh rather than a gfull loafh from VFP. I am most grateful to
have received at this time, a ghalf a loaf.h A full loaf of bread is better
than a half a loaf of bread. Let me explain.
If you will look at the second line of the third paragraph of the gamendment
proposalh you will see the following words – gcexcept for use in direct defense
of its domestic territory against clear and imminent threat or aggression.h
These 17 words are ones that I see as basically meaningless – in that governments
can easily circumvent them with sufficient propaganda and lies so as to enable
the gwar-gameh to continue unabated with ample citizen support. We saw a
prime example of Bushian lies and propaganda working their magic in 2002
and early 2003 on USA citizens so as to gain their support for Bushfs gShock
and Aweh Iraq debacle. My original amendment proposal to VFP did not contain
these weasel words. You will also not find these 17 words in Article 9.
It is ironically interesting that the absence of these g17 wordsh in Japanfs
Article 9 – helps to makes it difficult for Japan to creatively gcircumventh
something that is not presently there. Thus making it difficult for Japan
to join its SDF in wars of US choosing. Emasculation of your Article 9 would
take care of this problem for Abe and US promoters of A9 emasculation.
In order to get this significant process (a US Article 9 type constitutional
amendment) started I accepted VFPfs editing that added these 17 words. I
see the amendment proposal with these words as a ghalf a loafh as contrasted
to the proposal without these 17 words – a gfull loaf.h But – I also see
this gVFP Constitutional Amendment Proposalh as a beginning of a very long
process. Obviously, I am no so naïve as to think that I will see an Article
9 amendment in our US constitution in my or my childrenfs lifetime – but
I am persuaded, that unless all nations on Planet Earth do this and soon
– we are doomed to become as lifeless as Planet Mars.
VFPfs STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility
to serve the cause of world peace. To this end we will work with others:
[a] Toward increasing public awareness of the costs of war
[b] To restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in
the internal affairs of other nations
[c] To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear
[d] To seek justice for veterans and victims of war
[e] To abolish war as an instrument of national policy.
To achieve these goals, members of Veterans for Peace pledge to use non-violent
means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with
the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests
of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.