Sunday, March 16, 2008
The War Goes On
Iraq War Veterans * Countdown for Bush Presidency
War Stories Echo an Earlier Winter
Grim-faced and sorrowful, former soldiers and Marines sat before an audience of several hundred yesterday in Silver Spring and shared their recollections of their service in Iraq.
The stories spilled out, sometimes haltingly, sometimes in a rush: soldiers firing indiscriminately on Iraqi vehicles, an apartment building filled with Iraqi families devastated by an American gunship. Some descriptions were agonized, some vague; others offered specific dates and locations. All were recorded and streamed live to the Web.
The four-day event, "Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan -- Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations," is sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War and is expected to draw more than 200 veterans of the two wars through tomorrow. Timed for the eve of the fifth anniversary of the war's start next week, organizers hope the soldiers' accounts will galvanize public opposition.
For some of the veterans speaking yesterday, the experience was catharsis.
Former Marine Jon Turner began his presentation by ripping his service medals off his shirt and tossing them into the first row. He then narrated a series of graphic photographs showing bloody victims and destruction, bringing gasps from the audience. In a matter-of-fact voice, he described episodes in which he and fellow Marines shot people out of fear or retribution.
"I'm sorry for the hate and destruction I've inflicted upon innocent people," Turner said. "Until people hear about what is happening in this war, it will continue."
Yes, there were pro-war soldiers.
- Counter-protesters outside derided the event and were deeply skeptical of the claims being made inside. "We want absolute specifics," said Harry Riley, a retired Army colonel who leads Eagles Up!. "This is too important to our nation. The credibility of our nation and the credibility of our soldiers are involved."
- Riley said those making allegations against the U.S. military should have to give sworn testimony instead of speaking at an antiwar conference.
- Organizers said they have sought to verify the records of all soldiers speaking, including reviewing their service records and talking to other members of units. Some soldiers had videos and photographs, which were displayed yesterday on a large screen in the auditorium.
The War President
This from the man who dodged Vietnam:
- "I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy matters with war on my mind. Again, I wish it wasn't true, but it is true. " --- G.W. Bush, Feb 8, 2004, Meet The Press, MSNBC
War hath no fury like a non-combatant.
I would say that most knew that they were doing the right thing, the 200 are the exceptions that prove that.