IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against the War) is launching a new “Winter Soldier” campaign that will conduct a public investigation into the atrocities occuring in Iraq and Afghanistan. Organizing is still underway for the public hearings, with more information available on the website, www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier.
Veterans, as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors, will testify to their first-hand experiences and reveal the truth of occupation. This investigation will help end the war because it will:
- Embolden GI resistance by making the truth of their experiences an acceptable part of the national dialogue. Further, the DVD created at this conference will be a powerful educational tool on the history of GI movements and will encourage independent thought and collective action. Mobilize the anti-war movement by demonstrating the power of organized opposition and providing the facts needed to confront the myths propagated by the administration, congress and the media. IVAW will also present its strategy of organizing GIs to encourage the anti-war movement as a whole to support GI resistance.
- Build solidarity between the common peoples of the US, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
- The people who suffer the most from this occupation will be given a voice and a view into our struggle to end the unlawful occupation of their countries. Through this event, IVAW hopes to build lasting ties with the common people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Shape the way this history is told to future generations. Without a concerted effort to dispel the myths and sugar coated images of the U.S. occupations, future generations will never know the realities of war.
- This project provides you with the opportunity to feel the deep satisfaction of contributing to laying the building blocks of an extremely meaningful movement. The best way for us to prevent the wars looming on the horizon is for people to collectively stay on the offensive against the current wars.
STATEMENT: We Support the Troops Who Oppose the War
This spring, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) will reveal the reality of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. In what will be history’s largest gathering of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors, eyewitnesses will share their experiences in a public investigation called Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan.
Truth, honesty and integrity are essential components to a functioning democracy. That is why American citizens must have informed opinions and take action in keeping with there principles – millions of lives depend on it.
Winter Soldiers, according to founding father Thomas Paine, are those who stand up for the soul of their country, even in its darkest hours. With this spirit in mind, IVAW members and other concerned veterans are standing up to make their experiences available to anyone who cares about the direction of our country.
Soldiers and Marines are not to blame for the suffering of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, these veteran’s stories will indicate that responsibility belongs to those in the seat of power. The testimony at Winter Soldier will prove that the problem goes much deeper than the atrocities of Abu Ghraib or the massacre in Haditha.
The lives of thousands of service members and civilians depend on you being a Winter Soldier. Please demonstrate your support for this project by signing this statement.
To sign, go to: www.ivaw.org/wintersoldierstatementofsupport
Why are veterans, active duty, and National Guard men and women opposed to the war in Iraq?
Here are 10 reasons we oppose this war:
1. The Iraq war is based on lies and deception. The Bush Administration planned for an attack against Iraq before September 11th, 2001. They used the false pretense of an imminent nuclear, chemical and biological weapons threat to deceive Congress into rationalizing this unnecessary conflict. They hide our casualties of war by banning the filming of our fallen’s caskets when they arrive home, and when they refuse to allow the media into Walter Reed Hospital and other Veterans Administration facilities which are overflowing with maimed and traumatized veterans.
2. The Iraq war violates international law. The United States assaulted and occupied Iraq without the consent of the UN Security Council. In doing so they violated the same body of laws they accused Iraq of breaching.
3. Corporate profiteering is driving the war in Iraq. From privately contracted soldiers and linguists to no-bid reconstruction contracts and multinational oil negotiations, those who benefit the most in this conflict are those who suffer the least. The United States has chosen a path that directly contradicts President Eisenhower’s farewell warning regarding the military industrial complex. As long as those in power are not held accountable, they will continue…
4. Overwhelming civilian casualties are a daily occurrence in Iraq. Despite attempts in training and technological sophistication, large-scale civilian death is both a direct and indirect result of United States aggression in Iraq. Even the most conservative estimates of Iraqi civilian deaths number over 100,000. Currently over 100 civilians die every day in Baghdad alone.
5. Soldiers have the right to refuse illegal war. All in service to this country swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. However, they are prosecuted if they object to serve in a war they see as illegal under our Constitution. As such, our brothers and sisters are paying the price for political incompetence, forced to fight in a war instead of having been sufficiently trained to carry out the task of nation-building.
6. Service members are facing serious health consequences due to our government’s negligence. Many of our troops have already been deployed to Iraq for two, three, and even four tours of duty averaging eleven months each. Combat stress, exhaustion, and bearing witness to the horrors of war contribute to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a serious set of symptoms that can lead to depression, illness, violent behavior, and even suicide. Additionally, depleted uranium, Lariam, insufficient body armor and infectious diseases are just a few of the health risks which accompany an immorally planned and incompetently executed war. Finally, upon a soldier’s release, the Veterans Administration is far too under-funded to fully deal with the magnitude of veterans in need.
7. The war in Iraq is tearing our families apart. The use of stop-loss on active duty troops and the unnecessarily lengthy and repeat active tours by Guard and Reserve troops place enough strain on our military families, even without being forced to sacrifice their loved ones for this ongoing political experiment in the Middle East.
8. The Iraq war is robbing us of funding sorely needed here at home. $5.8 billion per month is spent on a war which could have aided the victims of Hurricane Katrina, gone to impoverished schools, the construction of hospitals and health care systems, tax cut initiatives, and a host of domestic programs that have all been gutted in the wake of the war in Iraq.
9. The war dehumanizes Iraqis and denies them their right to self-determination. Iraqis are subjected to humiliating and violent checkpoints, searches and home raids on a daily basis. The current Iraqi government is in place solely because of the U.S. military occupation. The Iraqi government doesn’t have the popular support of the Iraqi people, nor does it have power or authority. For many Iraqis the current government is seen as a puppet regime for the U.S. occupation. It is undemocratic and in violation of Iraq’s own right to self-governance.
10. Our military is being exhausted by repeated deployments, involuntary extensions, and activations of the Reserve and National Guard. The majority of troops in Iraq right now are there for at least their second tour. Deployments to Iraq are becoming longer and many of our service members are facing involuntary extensions and recalls to active duty. Longstanding policies to limit the duration and frequency of deployments for our part-time National Guard troops are now being overturned to allow for repeated, back-to-back tours in Iraq. These repeated, extended combat tours are taking a huge toll on our troops, their families, and their communities.