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 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
|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
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
|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.