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Winter Soldier 2008


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Iraq Veterans Against the War argues that well-publicized incidents of U.S. brutality like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre of an entire family of Iraqis in the town of Haditha are not the isolated incidents perpetrated by "a few bad apples", as many politicians and military leaders have claimed. They are part of a pattern, the group says, of "an increasingly bloody occupation."


"What's going on is were trying to create a space for veterans to speak out and change the rhetoric around the war from these politicians with these ideologies that have no real experience on the ground," said Aaron Hughes, a former member of the Illinois National Guard who spent a year running convoys in Iraq. "There are human beings on both sides. There are not just numbers. That's what missing in our culture. This was has been statistics, it's been rhetoric, and it's not personal. But for the American soldiers who've served there it is personal and for the Iraqi people who live there it's personal. That's why our testimony is important."


"The problem that we face in Iraq is that policymakers in leadership have set a precedent of lawlessness where we don't abide by the rule of law, we don't respect international treaties, so when that atmosphere exists it lends itself to criminal activity," argues former U.S. Army Sergeant Logan Laituri, who served a tour in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 before being discharged as a conscientious objector.



Laituri explains that precedent of lawlessness makes itself felt in the rules of engagement handed down by commanders to soldiers on the front lines. When he was stationed in Samarra, for example, he said one of his fellow soldiers shot an unarmed man while he walked down the street.


"The problem is that that soldier was not committing a crime as you might call it because the rules of engagement were very clear that no one was supposed to be walking down the street," he said. "But I have a problem with that. You can't tell a family to leave everything they know so you can bomb the **** out of their house or their city. So while he definitely has protection under the law, I don't think that legitimates that type of violence."


The veterans also want to stress the similarities between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


"The exact same units that are getting the exact same training and the exact same orders are getting sent to both Iraq and Afghanistan," explains Perry O'brien, a former US Army Medic who became a conscientious objector after his tour in Afghanistan. "What we're seeing is a lot of similarities between practices in both countries and both are equally criminal."


"Something that I personally witnessed and that I'm going to be submitting testimony on is the use of civilian corpses for medical practice," he added. "When a patient would die we would hear over the PA system we would hear an announcement through the clinic saying 'Who wants to learn how to do a chest tube?' or 'Who wants to know what a human heart looks like?' Rather than giving the proper treatment of the dead, the body would become a cadaver for medical practice with no consent from the victim."


Winter Soldier is modeled on a similar event held by Vietnam Veterans 37 years ago.


I listened in to several excerpts of this story and was not only amazed but ashamed at what my government is doing. In my opinion it is well worth a watch or listen.


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Agreed but when soldiers are told to run over children alongside the road - and shoot every car that looks like a taxi and they know its wrong - that is lower than wrong it is inhuman. Some of the accounts these guys gave made my blood chill and I have heard a lot over the years - plenty of Vietnam vets I have known.

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Sorry observer , but it is direct orders from their superiors. That is why after Viet Nam the soldiers talked about it and now during this horrible war the soldiers are already talking about it. Winter Soldier is well worth the listen!

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I see that the US is having a bad time in Bagdad so they have asked the british troops in Basra to help out. Our lads are now moving up to the capital and not coming home as planned.

If the public want the army out and the chief of staffs of all the forces say they should come out Why does Warlord Gordon say we have to stay and get even more involved. I thought that he was not going to be a puppet?

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