Veterans for Common Sense
Veterans for Common Sense, founded in 2002, is a non-profit organization dedicated to advocacy on behalf of United States veterans who continue to serve their country by protecting the rights and interests of fellow citizens. Based on the pragmatic ideals of the American Patriot Thomas Paine, VCS was established "by war veterans who believe we, the people, are most secure when our country is strong and responsibly engaged with the world."
In 2006, Veterans for Common Sense merged for a period with Veterans for America, an organization partnered with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation; however, the two organizations separated again in 2007. Veterans for America continued VCS's focus on national security issues, with the added element of active humanitarian relief, mine mapping and other programs that address the consequences of war.
The organization focuses on four primary program areas: national security, civil liberties, energy policy and veterans benefits. Activities have included large veterans' sign-on letters urging caution to the President before the 2003 invasion of Iraq and a lawsuit against the government seeking documents related to torture at the Abu Ghraib prison and the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In addition, VCS has given frequent testimony to Congressional committees about the need for mandatory full funding for Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare, the VA's broken disability claims process, and the VA's need for increased capacity for dealing with brain injury and mental health patients.
VCS's current (as of December 2008) Executive Director is Paul Sullivan, a former project manager at the Veterans Administration. He succeeded the previous Executive Director, Charles Sheehan-Miles, in 2006.
- VeteransForCommonSense.org - Veterans for Common Sense homepage
- ACLU.org - 'Statement of Seth Pollack, Chairman, Veterans for Common Sense' (October 7, 2003)
- CommonDreams.org - 'In Letter to Bush, War Veterans "Strongly Question" Iraq Invasion, and Seek a Meeting', VCS garnered nearly 1,000 US veteran signatories: Vice Admiral Ralph Weymouth, USN, Retired Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, USN, Retired Brigadier General Evelyn P. Foote, USA, Retired, et al. (March 11, 2003)
- Critical Concern.com - 'Links of Interest to Veterans For Peace'
- Meria.net - 'Meria with Charles Sheehan-Miles - Veterans for Common Sense & the News' (archived interview broadcast September 15, 2004)
- VeteransForAmerica.org - Veterans for America
- VeteranSpeakers.org - 'National Veterans Speakers Bureau: Honoring the sacrifice of American veterans' (VCS sponsored educational program)