Winter Soldier Hearings: Stop the Next My Lai

March 20th, 2008 - by admin

Laura Flanders / The Nations – 2008-03-20 22:29:10

SILVER SPRINGS, Maryland (March 17, 2008) — The New York Times saw fit to mark the fifth anniversary of the US invasion by inviting nine “experts” including not one soldier to reflect on the conduct of the war and occupation of Iraq. The Times chose to listen to Richard Perle and Robert Bremer III but not one soldier. The Times has no time for troops like Camilo Mejia or Kelly Dougherty. But the public must take the time.

Mejia and Dougherty were among the hundreds of young servicemen and women who shared wrenching, infuriating, riveting eyewitness testimony over the last three days at Winter Soldier hearings in Silver Spring, Md. While the Times’s “experts,” include men and women who personally played a disastrous role in urging on and then conducting this war, the Winter Soldier hearings, organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War, brought the public the occupation as seen by the very young men and women at the bottom of the chain of command whose lives have forever been transformed by what we and the US government asked them to do in our name.

It is testimony you have a responsibility to watch or listen to. Some addressed broad policy issues having to do with the rules of engagement, occupation, the treatment of civilians and detainees and the treatment of troops on their return. Some related to specific violations, including rape, indiscriminate killing, torture, desecration of the dead and the apparently common practice of dropping weapons on dead civilians to make them look like combatants. More than one soldier described being told to carry “drop weapons,” in their vehicles.

The IVAW say they have corroborated these stories. Reporters urgently need to follow up. As one witness, Joshua Castell put it, “Moral slippery slopes go from top to bottom.” Those at the bottom cannot be the only ones to take responsibility.

After Winter Soldier 1971, the proceedings were read into the congressional record and the Senate Foreign Relations committee held hearings that gave vets an opportunity to testify. Will this Democratic-controlled Congress give these men and women the same opportunity?

These soldiers are willing to take oaths. On Sunday, Former US Army Captain Luis Montalvan, who served two tour of Iraq, said he’d be grateful to have the chance. His colleagues, agreed, “on a stack of bibles.”

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan wrapped up March 16, forty years to the day after the My Lai Massacre which started the Whole Winter soldier phenomenon. As Garrett Reppenhagen, the first active duty soldier to join IVAW put it Sunday, “It’s time to stop this occupation before the next Tet Offensive.” As IVAW are showing loud and clear, this occupation is not winnnable, it’s is destroying Iraq, tearing apart this country and breaking down our military. It has to stop now. And not just the troops need to feel the pain.

• No expert or politician was ever brought into the dock for the war crimes the US committed in Nam.

So why expect it now? Because we have a stronger Congress? Or perhaps it’s because our president & vice-president are so highly moral, that of course they’ll confess & repent?

Accountablity ended with the ’04 election, ChenyBush have told us, clearly. Impeachment is off the table, the Dem leadership have told us, clearly.

So go after some grunts, those poor shnooks deserve it, clearly it’s our American way, to stick it to the little people.

• Posted by SLOPER 03/17/2008 @ 1:48pm

Now, now Ms Flanders…as our local neo-cons will be happy to tell us…. those soldiers represent a “TINY minority” of the troops…”a miniscule fraction”….”merely a blip”… and “most of the troops in Iraq are die-hard Republicans who love the President, even Vice-President, AND Senator McCain…and want us to stay until ‘victory’…even if that takes 100 years!”

• Posted by MASK 03/17/2008 @ 2:05pm

I asked one of those neo-cons how many soldiers standing in opposition to the war would be enough and never got a response. So I have to assume as long as ONE soldier is still gung-ho with us still being there then it’s fine with them to invest the money and their lives. But since I’ve noticed that nothing exists beyond what directly affects them, they probably honestly don’t care for the young men and women doing the bidding of King Georgie.

• Posted by SLOPER 03/17/2008 @ 1:48pm

Don’t forget to add that we are all too dangerously close to electing a guy with a foreign policy that is perhaps worse than Bush (if that’s even possible)! The voters will have told us, clearly!

• Posted by MASK 03/17/2008 @ 2:05pm

It’s not just the local neo-cons. Turn on CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, etc. and the “experts” and cherry picked soldiers still only have good things to say about the “success of the surge”, the “progress in Iraq”, and how “things are really starting to turn around”. One still has to look far and wide within the liberal media to find a dissenting perspective on the war.

• Posted by MATTMAN 03/17/2008 @ 3:31pm

Well, they buy the idea that going from 50 deaths every 6 weeks to 15 deaths every six weeks shows “the light at the end of the tunnel” (despite the fact, that it stalls at 15).

Plus they’ve got McCain rah-rah’ing for it (and they still love “Maverick John”) and Hillary still fence-straddling with her Kerryesque line of ‘I oppose this war and I’ll win it!’

• Posted by MASK 03/17/2008 @ 4:22pm

Like I said; All this answers the question “Is there any depth to low for the anti-American and anti-USA military crowd to stoop to?”. We have seen this all before from such liars as John (short time) Kerry.

All the left desires to do is to dishonor, disparage, and malign USA servicemen everywhere! The Demoncrats are always more than willing to participate if they think if will garner them ANY poitical advantage even at the expense of further endangering USA servicemen around the world.

These hypocrits enjoy the opportunity, security and freedoms of our nation yet do everything possible to bring aid and comfort to our enemies in every age. This is more sickening to the American people than any supposed atrocities that may or may not have even actually occurred.

Most aren’t even smart enough to figure out how their efforts provide unlimited propoganda opportunities for our enemies, or the left just really don’t care and desires such!

• Posted by RIO BRAVO 03/17/2008 @ 5:28pm

I feel like calling animal control after that post. Amazing how he refuses to acknowledge that the people making these statements had the huevos to go pick up the gun and follow orders and defend his right to espouse that senseless vitriol. They are obviously anti-American ands anti-USA though, cause Rio said so!

• Posted by YUTSANO 03/17/2008 @ 6:17pm

I watched these so-called Winter Soldiers for more than 2 hours Saturday morning on Free Speech TV. They were exactly as I described on the previous Winter Soldiers thread. A bunch of malcontents, miscreants, and some cowards.

Every generation of military service men and women contains some of these losers. Fortunately they do comprise a very tiny minority. Thankfully, even the MSM realizes there is “no there, there”. The will slide back into their slimy little dark cubbyholes where they belong

• Posted by LVLIBERTY1 03/17/2008 @ 6:21pm

Don’t like the message? Malign the messenger! Dunno why you bothered since your mind’s already made up there LVL. Oh and BTW you just proved Mask a prophet, he saw the “tiny minority” comment coming a mile away.

• Posted by YUTSANO 03/17/2008 @ 6:25pm