Winter Soldiers Sound Off

If you still think that American soldiers are in Iraq or Afghanistan to bring them our “freedomsthan perhaps it’s time you read this and yes, I sincerely wonder why NZ soldiers are involved in these horrific wars of conquest and theft. Everything changed after 911 and I can’t see the Muslims profiting much from it do you? But than there is Halliburton, Blackwater, KBR, and the International banking world who have made a killing. (No pun intended) I wonder about the shares in the portfolios of John Key and his National mates, and yes also  about the shares in the portfolios of Helen Clark and her labour mates.

Jason Moon suffers from persistent insomnia as he wrestles with memories of his time in Iraq. “While on our initial convoy into Iraq in early June 2003, we were given a direct order that if any children or civilians got in front of the vehicles in our convoy, we were not to stop, we were not to slow down, we were to keep driving,” says the former National Guard and Army Reserve member. “In the event an insurgent attacked us from behind human shields, we were supposed to count. If there were thirty or less civilians we were allowed to fire into the area. If there were over thirty, we were supposed to take fire and send it up the chain of command. These were the rules of engagement. I don’t know about you, but if you are getting shot at from a crowd of people, how fast are you going to count, and how accurately?”

Moon is taking part in Winter Soldier. This is public testimony organized by the Iraq Veterans Against the War about the human consequences of failed U.S. policy in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The group takes its name from the Winter Soldier testimony by Vietnam Vets, including John Kerry, in 1971, which played a part in turning public opinion against that war.

“We’ve heard from the politicians, from the generals, from the media—now it’s our turn,” said Kelly Dougherty, executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Dougherty, who served in Iraq in 2003 as a military police officer, said, “It’s not going to be easy to hear what we have to say. It’s not going to be easy for us to tell it. But we believe that the only way this war is going to end is if the American people truly understand what we have done in their name.”

When I was reporting from Iraq for eight months on and off between November 2003 and February 2005, Iraqis told me of atrocities U.S. soldiers were committing. The accounts now from soldiers themselves confirm an awful picture.

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