Zzz About VCS (2002)


About Veterans for Common Sense (archived, 2002)

During the early summer of 2002, the U.S. military began deploying thousands

of additional combat troops to Kuwait, far above what was expected for a

normal rotation of troops.


In August 2002, recognizing the U.S. could be moving toward war against

Iraq, several Gulf War combat veterans became concerned and then met to

discuss these troubling developments. We agreed the experienced voice of

Gulf War veterans was absent from the debate. We also agreed to form an

organization so the concerns of veterans would be raised and

discussed in public before the bullets started flying again.


On September 24, 2002, Veterans for Common Sense was founded by Erin Cole,

Erik Gustafson, Charles Sheehan-Miles, and Dan Fahey. Our statement raising

questions about another war as well as breaking news articles now appear

on our new web site.


In a few months, by word of mouth, more than 3,000 veterans from all branches

of the military from all across America signed our statement questioning

the war. More than hundreds of thousands people visited our web site to read

articles and editorials gathered from round the world raising

questions about another Gulf War.


With established credibility on issues of military deployments, national

security and combat experience, VCS leaders are regularly interviewed

by C-SPAN, FOX News, NBC, MSNBC, and other television shows. Articles

written articles about VCS have been published in TIME, the Atlanta

Journal-Constitution, San Francisco Chronicle, and other major publications.


As a new organization, VCS is incorporating in the District of Columbia,

and VCS is applying for non-profit status with the Internal Revenue

Service. In the interim, VCS is under the fiscal sponsorship of the


Education for Peace in Iraq Center, a

human rights organization based in Washington, DC. VCS is working on

developing our membership base plus long-range strategic and fundraising



You can support VCS’ mission by

donating or becoming a member.

Our Board of Directors

Erik Gustafson, Board Member


Erik Gustafson, 28 years old, is a veteran of the United States

Army 864th Engineer Battalion based out of Fort Lewis, Washington.

Gustafson served eight months in the Gulf War theater of operations,

where he helped to construct hospitals, prefab buildings, roads and

encampments for prisoners of war. His leadership and hard work earned

him an army commendation medal (ARCOM). In 1992 he left the military

to pursue a degree at the University of Wisconsin and began working

on human rights issues. In 1993, he became the Midwest coordinator of

the East Timor Action Network, working for self-determination in East

Timor. That same year, he joined the Colombia Support Network and

traveled to Apartado, Colombia to investigate the La Chinita massacre.

In 1997, Gustafson traveled to Iraq on a humanitarian mission.

He met with doctors, UN officials, relief workers and Iraqi families

to assess the severity of Iraq’s humanitarian crisis. Moved by the

intolerable suffering he witnessed, he has become a tireless opponent

of economic sanctions. He has delivered dozens of lectures around the

country and been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Pacifica Radio, C-Span

and others. In 1998, Gustafson moved to Washington, DC and founded

the Education for Peace in Iraq Center (EPIC) to end the U.S.-led

economic sanctions against the people of Iraq. Since his arrival,

he has met with over fifty congressional offices, given a congressional

briefing, organized major lobbying efforts; he has become a national

leader in the anti-sanctions movement. As EPIC’s Executive Director,

Gustafson is currently working with members of Congress on a

legislative initiative to lift the economic sanctions. In addition,

he is involved in initiating a campaign for an international treaty to

ban depleted uranium weapons (DU) and help establish long-term studies

on DU-effected civilian and veteran populations.  Mr. Gustafson

served on the National Gulf War Resource Center board from 1998-2000.


Dan Fahey, Board Member


Dan Fahey

Dan Fahey was commissioned in the Navy through the ROTC program at the

University of Notre Dame.  Dan served in the Persian Gulf in July,

1991 onboard the USS Arkansas (CGN-41).  From 1993 to 1998, Dan was

a case manager and claims representative at Swords to Plowshares, a

non-profit veterans advocacy group providing housing, counseling, job

placement, and legal services to veterans in the San Francisco Bay

Area.  Dan has extensively researched the role of depleted

uranium (DU) from spent munitions in Gulf War veterans’ health

problems.  Dan has also served on the Board of Directors of the

Military Toxics Project, based in Lewiston, Maine.  Dan is past

commander of Veterans of Foreign Post 5888, and received his masters

degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at

Tufts University.


Charles Sheehan-Miles, Board Member


Charles Sheehan-Miles served in combat with the 24th Infantry

Division during the 1991 Gulf War, and was decorated for valor for

helping rescue fellow tank crewmen from a burning tank during the Battle

at Rumayla. Since then, he has been a regular speaker on issues relating

to the Gulf War, ill veterans and the impact of sanctions on the civilian

population of Iraq.


He was the founding Executive Director of the


National Gulf War Resource Center

from 1995-97, and served on the NGWRC

Board of Directors since then.  He has served as National Secretary

and as President of the NGWRC Board.  Charles also served 18 months

as a boardmember and treasurer of the

Education for Peace in Iraq Center.

He has testified before Congress twice.


In his professional career, he has managed a multi-million dollar corporate

data center with a staff of 18 people, and is a technical expert on

web-hosting and database technology.


He is the author of Prayer at Rumayla: A Novel of the Gulf War

(XLibris, 2001) and his upcoming novel, Murphy’s War.  His op-eds

regularly appear on multiple on-line sources and have been syndicated

through AlterNet’s syndication service to newspapers across America.


Charles lives in Reston, Virginia with his wife and two children. He can be

contacted through



Seth Pollack, Board Member


Seth Pollack is a veteran of eight years active duty service

with the United States Army serving from 1988 to 1997. His

service includes four-years of overseas duty, front line action

with the 1st Armored Division during the first Gulf War and

participation with the International Forces in Bosnia in 1996.

This service brought home the destructive realities of modern

armed conflict and left him with first hand experience in the

nature of global politics.


Seth is a committed activist who champions a variety of

peace and social justice causes. A proponent of peaceful and

non-violent resolution to global conflict, he stands in clear

opposition to the unilateral neo-imperialistic policies of

the Bush administration.


Seth is the Business Manager of a Management Consulting firm

in Phoenix, Arizona. The firm teaches democratic project

management skills and participative workplace design to its

clients. He previously started and sold his own business and

has worked with large Government and corporate clients from

around the world. Seth holds a Masters degree in Business

Administration and a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice.