This month, for four days in Washington, DC, beginning on March 13, there was a second Winter Soldier gathering — 37 years after the first. Organized by the protest group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan since the 9/11 attack on New York will testify about their experiences.
They presented photographs and videos, recorded with mobile phones and digital cameras, to back up their allegations — of brutality, torture and murder.
The veterans are not against the military and seek not to indict it — instead they seek to shine a light on the bigger picture: that the Abu Ghraib prison regime and the Haditha massacre of innocent Iraqis are not isolated incidents perpetrated by "bad seeds" as the military suggests, but evidence of an endemic problem. They were tasked to do terrible things and point the finger up the chain of command, which ignores, diminishes or covers up routine abuse and atrocities.
Salam Talib is an Iraqi citizen. He worked as a translator for US journalists after the war and started reporting from Iraq himself in 2005. He recently moved to San Francisco to study computer engineering.