In January 1971, VVAW held the Winter Soldier Investigation, where Vietnam Veterans testified about war crimes and atrocities they committed or witnessed in Vietnam. This action helped expose how atrocities during Vietnam were essentially military policy, a policy that continues in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This spring, the largest gathering of US veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Iraqi and Afghan eyewitnesses, will share their experiences in a public investigation called Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan. They will provide testimonies to war crimes the United States perpetuates with the ongoing wars and occupations, as well as the increasingly poor treatment of returning veterans by the US government agencies here at home.
From March 13-16th, 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation’s capitol to break the silence about the real stories of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and hold our leaders accountable for the devastation they have caused. We hope that you’ll join in supporting this, because this is a story that every American needs to hear!
Since IVAW's inception, VVAW has provided support and guidance. VVAW’s main priority this spring is to support IVAW's Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan. We are urging our membership to help with outreach to Veterans in your area, especially of the Iraq and Afghanistan era. Talk to them about possibly attending WSI or even testifying; put them in contact with local or national IVAW. We also need to raise more money; specific ideas for fundraising efforts (which can also be a great outreach tool) can be found at http://www.vvaw.org/press/?id=768. Ask local peace groups to help raise money to sponsor an IVAW member’sparticipation.
IVAW members face challenges similar to those VVAW faced 40 years ago. War crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah and Abu Ghraib have assisted in turning the public against the war. But, politicians and generals repeat history by blaming 'a few bad apples' for such atrocities, rather than examining the military policies that destroyed Vietnam then and are destroying Iraq and Afghanistan now.
Veterans have the most powerful voices for speaking out about war because they have experienced it. IVAW members participating and attending the upcoming Winter Soldier Investigation will undoubtedly receive backlash similar to VVAW members in 1971. It is crucial to maximize support for one another; through the process of testifying and hearing testimonies, as well as after returning home after WSI. We request your help in getting more IVAW members to WSI and encourage VVAW members to attend and offer suport before during and after the event.
Thomas Paine, writing during the Revolutionary War, said: "The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
It is time for all of us to support these true Winter Soldiers. All contributions for IVAW's Winter Soldier Investigation will go towards this event. Please help continue the outreach and fund raising efforts which go to further support our brothers, sisters, sons and daughters in Iraq Veterans Against the War.
For more information call VVAW at (773) 276-4189, email email@example.com, or check out www.vvaw.org/events/ or www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier
* Donate on-line at http://www.vvaw.org/store/?mode=ivawdonation or
* Send tax deductible donations with IVAW/WSI in the memo to:
VVAWPO Box 2065, Station A
Champaign, IL 61825-2065
The Winter Soldier Investigation VVAW Support Team.