Contents: The Sir! No Sir! blog is an information clearing house, drawing on a wide variety of sources, to track the unfolding history of the new GI Movement, and the wars that brought the movement to life.
Where applicable, parallels will be drawn between the new movement and the Vietnam era movement which was the focus of the film Sir! No Sir!
Disclaimer: In accordance with title 17 u.s.c. section 107, this material is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.
The Sir! No Sir! Blog has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is the Sir! No Sir! Blog endorsed or sponsored by the originator. Links are provided to allow for verification of authenticity.
This video is a mix of the Army Strong video produced by the army to entice young women and men to join the military. The other video is produced by Displaced Films which is a series of films produced for the Iraq Veterans Against the War http://ivaw.org/wintersoldier
The series of films can also be seen here http://www.vimeo.com/5448532
You can make a donation to Jeriko Films here http://jerikofilms.wordpress.com/about/
The military has a budget of $459 million in advertising revenue which is the amount it spent in 2005. Please help us provide an honest picture of war by making a donation. Here is further information from, David Zeiger who requested we include the following information.
Hello Cindy and All
I am so happy that you used episodes from our series, This is Where We Take Our Stand, for your Army Strong video. It's incredibly powerful, and getting out to a lot of people. You did a great thing with it, and this is what the series is for.
I have a very important request, though. Please make it much more clear on your site and in the piece that the material is from the web series This is Where We Take Our Stand, and that the entire series can and should be seen at http://thisiswherewetakeourstand.com/ There are still two episodes that will be posted this monday and in two weeks, and then the entire series will be available as a single piece as well.
First of all, it's important that people see the whole series. But along with that, it's been a tremendous struggle to get the story made and told, and we are still in the midst of trying to get the funds to complete a television film as well. So it is crucial that both the name of the series and the people who made it be very prominent whenever it is used. It's also important to include that it is from the people who made Sir! No Sir! I'm sure you understand all of this.
We are linking Army Strong to http://thisiswherewetakeourstand.com/, and will do what we can to help get it out there.
You are now watching: Episode One: For Those Who Would Judge Me
March 13, 2008: As hundreds of veterans and over a thousand supporters gather just outside Washington, DC for three days of testimony, the pressure is high and questions intense. How is the testimony verified? What will people think of veterans and soldiers for being here? What good will this do? Without hesitation Geoff Millard (US Army National Guard), Steve Mortillo (US Army), and Adam Kokesh (US Marine Corps) respond to “those who would judge me” with a clear purpose and their chilling stories.
This was posted, by Adam Kokesh, to his blog, march 31, 2009
A message I received via YouTube:
Hello, I am not for nor against your beliefs..I respect everyone's, and every Marine's opinion. I was just curious, and if you don't want to answer I understand, but what event and such caused you to become "anti-war" (please don't take that the wrong way)? I'm not saying that I necessarily agree or disagree with the conflict in Iraq, but I volunteered to serve in the USMC and understood that it meant I could go to war and fight and possibly die, I never questioned it...But I don't know, I guess what I'm looking for is another prospective from someone who did. Again, I understand if you don't want to discuss it. Thank you for at least taking the time to read this and for volunteering for my beloved Corps. Semper Fidelis.
There was no one particular event and there was no regret for me in facing the hardships of war. I never questioned my duty, but I have since questioned the morality and Constitutionality of the war in Iraq. Remember, we swore an oath to the Constitution first, and obeying unconstitutional orders is contrary to that oath. Then there was Ronald Reagan, who said that resorting to war was essentially a sign of weakness. "Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means." My disillusionment about Iraq in particular began as a slow process with the "handover of power" on June 28th, 2004, when I was in Fallujah. There was no such handover, and there was no expected draw-down when I left. When the reality failed to meet the rhetoric, I started questioning.
Then there was the sinking feeling in my stomach when I realized (and was emotionally ready to accept) that we had been lied to. It didn't help when Allen Greenspan finally admitted, "the war was largely about oil," but it did help me to stop doubting myself.
We should all, as human beings, be "anti-war." What is war but the widespread, systematic destruction of human bodies by machinery? Who could be for that? Only those who are missing a part of their humanity. Sometimes the experience of war or the bloodlust of the military can take that away, but it is always ours to reclaim.
I am against this war because it is bad for America. It is bad for our security, it is bad for our military, it is bad for our economy, it is bad for our reputation abroad, and it is bad for our brothers and sisters who continue to loose their lives for lies. I am against war because I am a human being. I believe in the right to self-defense, and even collective self defense, but we should never take joy in even the most righteous acts of causing pain and suffering for fellow human beings.
This article, "G2: Men on a mission: In a rundown suburb of Washington DC, a group of anti-Iraq war protesters has set up home. But they are no ordinary activists - they are all veterans of the conflict. Daniel Nasaw talks to them", by Daniel Nasaw, was published in The Guardian (London), August 20, 2008
The mock soldier's grave in the front yard, along with the bottles of urine in the refrigerator and the anti-war posters festooning the first floor, tell visitors this is not just another group house for politically minded Washington DC twentysomethings.
The bottles, says Adam Kokesh, a tattooed, muscular former US marine sergeant and prominent member of a community of virulently anti-war Iraq veterans based in the house, are to be tested for depleted uranium, a munitions component thought to be harmful to soldiers exposed to it.
The house, in a rundown neighbourhood of the US capital, is headquarters for Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), a group with more than 1,200 members across the country and on military duty in Iraq. It is also a flophouse for visiting and needy veterans, a "frat-house on steroids" in the words of one resident, and a friendly space where veterans can commune with like-minded comrades.
On a recent Sunday evening, I joined Kokesh, several other Iraq veterans, and a crew of other anti-war activists for a cook-out at the vets' house. They talked politics, shared war stories, drank beer and wine. Then, and over several other meetings, the members told me about the domestic situations peculiar to the group: the bottles of urine stored in the refrigerator, a member's inordinate rage at malfunctioning computer equipment, and a shared sense of purpose and experience that mitigates and outweighs the strife.
The members of the IVAW house are the newest incarnation of a long tradition of anti-war activism by US military veterans. They are the tattooed, web-savvy descendents of the Spanish-American war veterans who decried US torture of Filipino rebels at the turn of the 20th century, and the shaggy-haired Vietnam vets who tossed away their medals in protest. They offer legitimacy to the anti-war movement, show ing that peace activists aren't necessarily anti-military or motivated by knee-jerk opposition to George Bush. Some were against the war from the start, but had already joined up and hoped they could speed US involvement in Iraq to an end. Others were afraid to resist deployment or were unaware how to do so.
"The vet groups are our street cred," a California-based anti-war activist tells me at the group's barbecue. Medea Benjamin, co-founder of feminist anti-war group Code Pink, says the veterans' group appeals to the American glorification of the military, even within the anti-war movement. "People who have been part of a war that I consider immoral and illegal still have more legitimacy than people who were against the war from the very beginning and refused to fight in it," she explains, sitting in the vets' living room while her college-age cohorts chat with the veterans and eat hamburgers and sausages. "They command more of a sense of authority and more of a sense of understanding of what's actually happening on the ground. Generals who come out against the war are seen as more important even than Congress members who are against the war."
The house has become a centre of Washington anti-war activism, but it serves a different function for the five men who live there. "When you're coming out of the military, the one thing that you lose bigger than anything else is the camaraderie of your unit," says 27-year-old Geoff Millard in between bites of sausage and sips of root beer. "You've got family, you've got friends, but you don't have the people who have been there, and that's a huge thing. In this community we have that, whether they want to live here, or they want to stay a weekend, or they just want to come over and watch some TV for a little while. It's just a space for veterans."
A native of Buffalo, New York, Millard joined the National Guard when he was 17. After the 9/11 attacks, he was sent to New York City to search incoming vehicles for bombs. When the Bush administration began pushing for war with Iraq, Millard didn't want to go.
"Our military is trained to kill people and we're the bullies," he says. "I didn't sign up in the military to be a bully. I signed up to protect people from bullies. We started to talk about Iraq, and Iraq just didn't pass the smell test." In winter 2003, he marched with a group of Vietnam vets in a massive New York anti-war protest. He thought briefly about fleeing to Canada, but was afraid to desert. "I thought that if I resisted they would put me in jail," he says. "So I went to Iraq". He spent a year as an administrative aide to a general there in 2004.
Now a web journalist, Millard joined IVAW in December 2005, and co-founded the Wash ington chapter the following autumn. He and Kokesh had lived together in a small apartment, but wanted space for other like-minded veterans. The men moved into the Washington house in December.
The 50-member IVAW chapter, of which Millard is president, sub-lets the lower level, which was converted into comfortable office space decorated with anti-war posters. Considering it is occupied by a group of twentysomething bachelors, the house is remarkably tidy. The men share cleaning duties, dividing up chores on Sundays so the house will be clean for vets attending the weekly support group and visitors to their potluck dinner. "Most of us were NCOs in the military, so we're good at telling people to clean up shit," Kokesh explains.
Some of the men have jobs or are attending university, while others spend their days writing anti-war literature, working out, or travelling across the region to speak to anti-war groups, recruit other veterans and help organise new chapters. The attic and basement hold "berths" for dozens of visitors, and 43 guests bunked in the house during a March anti-war event.
The members don't merely provide food, drink and company. At the weekly "home-front battle buddies" support group in the basement of the house, the veterans talk over their war experiences, hash out problems adjusting to civilian life and struggles with the US veterans administration, and even discuss relationship troubles. The men, a rotating group of about five who live in the house, plus regular visitors from outside Washington, can also spend hours a day strategising and talking politics. Their tactics include "counter-recruitment" of young people sought by the military and sit-in style protests at government buildings.
Life in a house full of jittery veterans can be trying, they acknowledge. Routine domestic disagreements explode into rage. Many of them have trouble sleeping, and suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). "The PTSD is so thick in the air you can cut it with a knife," one tells me. They say they have all learned to recognise when one of their housemates is in the grip of an episode (symptoms differ in each, they say, with some becoming depressed and angry, others anxious, others restless).
Millard recalls that an uncooperative internet modem sent him into a fury, and when he tried to discuss the issue with his housemates, he could only yell and curse. He eventually threw the equipment across the room. "I had been seeing a girl for about two weeks at the time, and she was here, and that ended that relationship," he tells me, sitting in his book-lined den upstairs. But his housemates were more accommodating: "They let me flare up like that and they gave me that space, and then as I naturally came down of that, I was able to say 'I'm sorry, I was not thinking naturally.'"
Kokesh, a Santa Fe, New Mexico native, is working toward a master's degree in political management at George Washington University, and supports himself with modest speaking fees from addressing student and anti-war groups. He also spends more than an hour a day working out in a garage where he keeps weights and a computer. With his muscles, tattoos, shaved head, goatee and piercing eyes, Kokesh is an intimidating presence. A fluent, self-taught Arabic speaker, he served in a civil affairs unit in Iraq and was decorated for providing humanitarian aid to civilians during firefights.
While some vets prepare the food at a cookout, Kokesh works with other veterans and supporters in the basement on a speech he is planning to give at an upcoming rally. Though anti-war, Kokesh isn't a liberal. He describes himself as a libertarian, and supported Ron Paul in his bid for the US presidency.
The workshop devolves briefly into an impromptu political strategy session, as Kokesh compares the efficacy of what he calls "direct action" with "civil resistance", techniques such as blocking a major city intersections to call attention to their anti-war message. "If I have a conversation with a kid in high school and he decides he's not going to join the military, that's a direct action," he says. "A war resister inside the military is both. But that doesn't necessarily make it more effective. I would rather have 1,000 high-school students who would otherwise not join, than one person within the military resist. That's taking 1,000 bodies out of the system as opposed to taking one out."
Other participants in the discussion note the news value of a high-profile soldier refusing to redeploy to Iraq. The IVAW members who live in the house and visit it appreciate sharing space with people who have seen, first hand, the results of the US adventure in Iraq and who know how to manage war-traumatised veterans.
"I've to a certain extent found solace in it," says Nick Morgan, a bearded 24-year-old who was a combat engineer in Iraq. "I'm kind of an anxious person, I'm kind of antsy. I have a lot of quirks that make people uncomfortable. But being around cats like this, it's second nature. Nobody really notices it."
But it is their shared devotion to ending the war in Iraq and agitating for veterans' benefits and reparations for Iraqis that ultimately holds the house together, even when tensions are running high. "There's a certain environment that we're able to create here that is distinctly for veterans who have the freedom of mind to see that they've been lied to, that essentially a certain element of their service was for nothing," Kokesh tells me emphatically. "An environment that empowers them to live out their convictions".
This article, Adam Kokesh Proudly Welcomes Fellow Marine Marcus "Tex" Whitfill to IVAW, was originally published by Adam Kokesh on his blog, May 19, 2008
I first met Marcus while trying out for the Marine Corps Rugby Team in 2005. We hit it off, but I haven't seen him since then, and most of our communication has been through his annoying facebook applications. About six months after we met, he left the Marines and started thinking. Five months later he wrote the blog post below for his myspace profile. For some reason, he waited until just today to show it to me, and I asked him if he was a member of IVAW yet. In our facebook chat, he said, "Should I be?" To which I replied, "you bet your ass you should be, you have not only a right, but a responsibility to speak out once you realize that not only did those Marines that have passed die for a lie, but that more die for a lie every day." Thanks to our secure server, he will soon be a member of IVAW. "Welcome to the struggle, brother."
Marcus' Theory On Our War
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I have been out of the Marines for 5 months now, and people always ask me what I think about this conflict that our country has got itself into. So I think I will share my thoughts on the subject.
First of all, I was in boot camp when 9/11 occurred. I could have been like you, walking around aimlessly, or in school. But i was in what some would call hell. Think of Marine Corps boot camp as a forced 3 month thought process, or for some, I can relate it to an extended wrestling practice.
My thoughts on that day weren't about lives lost or national emergency. They were selfish thoughts about how i could do this to myself. I joined for the college money; I didn't want to aim at anyone; or be aimed at for that matter. It was scary and exciting all at the same time. I saw people cry that day, but it wasn't about 9/11, it was a selfish and cowardly cry.
I came home to endless amounts of patriotism and it made me sick to my stomach. I like to think it was ludicrous that a country needed something like that to come together and rally around each other. The funny thing was that before I left in late June, my family, friends, and acquaintances had advised me that my decision to defend the country in return for an education was a bad one. When I got home on September 21st the same people treated me like a war hero. I don't know if it was the impending doom that I could have faced or that I was a crusader for their vindictive agenda. It was a weird time for me and I didn't even try to understand what had happened and ignored all media surrounding it. This was because I was under a rock that day and I could have never understood the fear that people felt that day.
I look at the conflicts that have occurred since and make this analysis:
Afghanistan wasn't the only country that was harboring terrorists and al-q. Several of my colleagues and eventually myself went on deployments all over southeast Asia as a pre-emptive strike against the Muslim religion as a whole. I don't know the exact figure but a lot of Muslims live in places like Singapore, due to religious profiling by our society and military leadership, we administered blanket coverage of all that is Muslim. This was because of the buzz term jihad. "If they are Muslim, then they have jihad in their hearts" I heard Bill Reilly say. The media expedited fear throughout the world.
I spent a fast two years in Japan with the fear of North Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines. I originally planned to only stay a year there, but the Iraq war started and they placed a hold on everybody in the USMC.
The Iraq war seemed to come on fast. Bush was very pressing with congress, almost to the point of being coercive. That really bothered me. Up to that point our country had been about 50/50 between neo-liberalism and neo-realism. We still had respect for the U.N and tried not to hop when they said no. Bush changed the regime in our country to a 85/15 between "n.r" and "n.l" leaning more towards the diplomacy of a bullet than the diplomacy of global sanction. I understand that we tried to sanction Iraq several times without any compliance. But did we need to undermine the authority of our global system?
Probably not, and here is why: France hates us, Spain has disdain for us, Russia disapproves, China is very careful about taking a stance but hasnt offered any support, and Saudi Arabia has us walking on eggshells. The only friend we have is the U.K. and its various territorial interests, i.e. Australia. The mob in the U.K. has placed enough pressure on blair for supporting us that he is going to resign though, so dont count on that for too much longer.
The bottom line is this: If you look at it objectively, if we weren't as hegemonic as we are and "representative democracy without religious influence" was somehow unpopular. If we had control of a large portion of one of the world's most consumed natural resource, and we had a leader who could be viewed as a complete "state"sman, or global system cowboy who worried about his own region. If we trying to build up our defenses to match the capabilities of our threats and were constantly hounded about it. What if somebody came into your backyard and thwarted your leader by force, and started to install a foreign system foregoing the "this is how we have always done it" mentality? Would you not see some dude in Parma firing up his combine and running over the "occupying force" What about american innovation when it came to improvised weapons? We have teenagers who can walk into schools and launch a full scale suicide mission on his/her fellow classmates. The only motivation behind those cases were the inability to fit in and being ostricized for it. Could you imagine what our citizens would do?
So to that situation I ask, why are we doing it to others? We are taking over by brute force and installing "a better way" to do business. A person of middle eastern descent predicted the future for me. Afghanistan and iraq are geographic neighbors to Iran, So militarily, that is a perfect situation for invasion. I hope this doesn't come to fruition, because that will mean i have to go back and support a cause i obviously do not believe in.
I hope you gained something from this and will think about supporting my brothers and sisters in arms. The policing actions of our neo-realism ideology need to stop, we lose credibility by trying to install democracy by force.
Have a nice day/evening/morning
Sponsored by Congresswoman Jackson Lee
May 14th, 2008
Good morning. My name is Adam Kokesh and I served as a Sergeant on a Marine Corps Civil Affairs team in the Fallujah area. I now serve as a member of the Board of Directors of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Since our founding in the fall of 2004, IVAW has called for three things: the immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq, full benefits for returning veterans, and reparations for the Iraqi people. We have over a thousand members, in 43 chapters, in 48 states, in Germany, in Canada, and in Iraq. We have members on active duty, in the Reserves, in the Guard, and in every branch of service. We are the only organization of veterans of the Global War On Terror that requires proof of service for membership. We take it as our duty to speak out, and to cut through the lies, spin, and propaganda that are being used to manipulate society into supporting a war that is not in our best interest as a nation. If America could see what the boots on the ground really thought of this occupation, it would not continue for another day. We are an organization of whistleblowers.
And like the other whistleblowers you will hear from today, we face many of the same challenges, but also a set of challenges that are unique to the military, because the military has a distinct power over service members. I joined the Marines for the challenges, so harassment was part of the bargain for me, but I never expected it to come for political reasons. When service members are in a combat environment, risking our lives on a regular basis becomes part of the bargain as well. The possibility of harassment becoming a matter of life or death, has always been very effective in silencing dissent.
Some military whistleblowers are trying to get accountability for a specific incident or to correct a particular injustice. Some of us are simply trying to tell our stories and portray things that to us are all too commonplace. The only people that do not support whistleblowers are the ones who are up to something. That we have faced the challenges we have, is a testament to the fact that someone is up to something in Iraq. Not only is the occupation immoral, illegal, and bad for America, it is fundamentally corrupt, and those that are benefiting from it do not want Americans to understand that reality.
While some service members who come to this conclusion, face legal consequences for resisting their direct participation in the occupation, some of us have faced unjust consequences for exercising the rights that are supposed to be guaranteed to us not just in the First Amendment of the Constitution, but under military law as well. Today you will hear from four members of Iraq Veterans Against the War who have experienced retaliatory harassment for exercising their rights in keeping with their consciences, and while honoring their oaths to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Geoff Millard served with the New York Army National Guard for nine years including a year in Tikrit. After coming home from Iraq and attending an anti-war event, he was made to fear for his life from his command. Mark Wilkerson served in Tikrit and Samarra with the 401st Military Police Company. When he came home, he decided to apply for Conscientious Objector status, but was threatened and harassed in such a way that he had no choice but to go AWOL when his application was denied. Thomas J. Buonomo graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a degree in Political Science and Middle East Studies and a minor in Arabic, then volunteered to cross-commission into the Army in order to support our ground forces. Shortly after qualifying as a Military Intelligence Officer, his security clearance was suspended, and he was involuntarily discharged for expressing views contrary to the administration. We will also be joined by attorney Mike Lebowitz, who served in Iraq as a paratrooper with the elite Pathfinder Company of the 101st Airborne Division, and is currently a JAG captain with the Virginia Army National Guard where he serves as a defense counsel for the 29th Infantry Division, providing legal assistance to troops subject to adverse action. In his civilian practice, he specializes in military free speech issues. Together, our testimony will make it clear that it is essential the No Fear Act II includes language that truly holds military retaliators accountable and serves as a deterrent for harassment. In addition to our oral statements, we will be submitting substantiating legal documents for the tribunal's records.
In my case, I was a member of the inactive reserves when I joined Iraq Veterans Against the War and participated in a guerrilla street theater action called Operation First Casualty. It was called that because it has long been said that the first casualty of war is the truth, and we wanted to bring some of the truth of what was going on in Iraq home to the American people in the form of a mock combat patrol through the streets of Washington, DC. Knowing that the Uniform Code of Military Justice does not apply to members of the inactive reserves, I knew that I was within my rights to wear certain uniform items in the execution of this street theater, because I was not representing myself as a member of the military. In addition to removing rank insignia and name tapes, our squad was surrounded by volunteers distributing fliers that described exactly who we were, and what we were doing.
My picture and name appeared in the Washington Post's coverage of the event, and I soon received an email of warning from Major John R Whyte of the Marine Corps Mobilization Command, who identified himself as my Investigating Officer and said, “As a member of the Reserve Component, until 18 JUN 2007, the law restricts your wearing of the uniform at certain events. Please call me or reply to this e-mail acknowledging your understanding of your obligations and responsibilities.” I replied by saying that he was wrong to investigate the political activities of an inactive reservist when as an active duty Major, he could be doing something to bring our fellow Marines home alive from Iraq, and used an expletive to express my displeasure with his waste of military resources. The next communication that I received from the Marines was a letter explaining their intent to charge me under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and separate me with an Other Than Honorable discharge, which theoretically would have disqualified me from any benefits that I had earned through my service. After a significant legal battle and extreme pressure brought to bear on the Marines as a result of the negative media attention, I was separated with a General Discharge, which theoretically would disqualify me from any education benefits, and theoretically make me liable for the money that I had previously received through the GI bill. Around the same time, Marines serving at the Marine Corps Mobilization Command called Cloy Richards, a two combat tour veteran in the inactive reserves who has an 80% disability rating, is using the GI bill to help get through college, and is dependent on the VA for treatment. They threatened to take all of that away if he did not stop protesting. They also tried to prosecute Liam Madden, another former Marine and member of the inactive reserves for making “disloyal statements.”
The way that the Marine Corps Mobilization Command came after me was illegal, the decision of the separation board was legally faulty, and it was a clear-cut case of political harassment. Although we were able to achieve what seemed like wrestling things to a tie, the Marine Corps was able to send two very strong messages: We don't want you speaking out against the occupation or even portraying the reality of the every day in Iraq, and even if you're in the inactive reserves, we can still control your fate. I spoke out within my rights, and was punished. To my knowledge, none of the officers responsible for this unnecessary waste of military resources, or for any other cases of retaliatory harassment against IVAW members, have ever been held accountable.
Adam Kokesh, IVAW board member, will speak at the Truth in Recruiting Meeting, focussing on how to talk to potential enlistees about what they can really expect from the military. Adam was in Fallujah in 2004 and also served at Camp Pendleton.
ADAM KOKESH, Iraq vet, Iraq Veterans Against the War, and an organizer of WINTER SOLDIER comes to the Bay Area Tuesday May 6 and Wednesday May 7.
Tuesday: Kokesh speaks at the Oakland Federal Building, College of Marin; Visits East Bay High Schools.
Wednesday: He appears at SFSU, Delivers Stop-Loss Orders to Pelosi, Boxer and Feinstein, and appears at Veterans Memorial Bldg.
Winter Soldier Comes to Oakland and Marin: Adam Kokesh Speaks Out
Tuesday, May 6, At 12:00 at the Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay St. At 7:00 PM at the College of Marin, Student Center in Kentfield. TBA, Counter-Recruitment Visits to East Bay High Schools
Winter Soldier Comes to SF: Kokesh Delivers Stop-Loss Congress Orders to Senators Feinstein, Boxer, Speaker Pelosi: Congress Cannot Go Home Until All the Troops Come Home! Iraq War Veteran, Bay Area Residents, Demand Congress Do Their Duty: End the War
Wednesday, May 7, 12:00 noon: San Francisco State University
3:00 PM: Stop Loss Orders Delivered at the Offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 450 Golden Gate Ave then, Senator Barbara Boxer, 1700 Montgomery St.
5:00 PM: Action at Senator Diane Feinstein’s office, 1 Post St., with Code Pink
7:00 PM: Veterans Memorial Building, 401 Van Ness Blvd.
Critics of IVAW seem to come in a number of forms. Some of these, especially active duty GIs and some veterans oppose IVAW for principled reasons and should be respected. Still others misunderstand the goals and aspirations of the movement, viewing it as a continuation/re-run of the 1960s antiwar movement. There is, however a category which stands out from the crowd and it primarily consists of a collection of bloggers attached to and affiliated with the far right of the republican party. One of the worst of these is the aptly named Chickenhawk Express, whose work is most charitably characterized as ugly and bitter and occasionally veers toward the slanderous.
The following post includes a number of Robin's writing, about IVAW written since the Winter soldier Hearings:
IVAW and VFP leaders must be banging their heads on the wall trying to figure out what they have to do to get a little mainstream media attention. They held another "Arrest Bush and Cheney" Action back on March 19th but to their chagrin, no one covered it. They are just now getting some "publicity" from the "Independent" media (aka their inner circle of comrades) including a YouTube video. VFP and IVAW had BIG plans for this stunt...
The Veterans then proceeded to the National Archives where the Constitution is housed. We had originally planned a civil resistance action inside the National Archives, in the Rotunda, where the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence are displayed. The plan was for a number of Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War to enter the Rotunda and to use plastic cuffs to secure ourselves to the massive gates at the entrance to the Rotunda. Our rationale in doing this would be that as fulfillment of the oath we took upon joining the military to uphold and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, we would now demand the arrest of those who had most grievously abused that document and all it stands for. Delivering the Warrant in the place of Constitutional housing, we would remain handcuffed to "guard" the Constitution until the aforesaid accused either surrendered themselves to us or to the appropriate authorities.
But the "crowds" waiting to enter the National Archives made the protesters change their tactics...
However, on Monday and Tuesday as we surveyed the huge lines wending around the block waiting to enter and realizing that we couldn't just cut the line and walk in, we changed our plan to an outside occupation with the same demand for a citizen's arrest. The outside plan turned out to be much better.
Yeah the new plan worked SOOOO much better...
Five veterans, Joel Kovel, Diane Wilson, Ellen Barfield, Malcolm Chaddock and Andrew Schoerky decided to handcuff themselves to the flagpole outside the Archives with a huge blowup of the Citizen's Arrest Warrant for Bush and Cheney. There was also a immense canvas replication of the Constitution that would be displayed. That morning as the Veterans gathered on the National Mall, Tarak from VFP, Adam Kokesh, Daniel Black and James Gillian from IVAW decided to climb over the 10 ft. spiked metal fence at the top of the front steps of the Archives and to occupy the 40 ft. high ledge on the front of the building with an upside down American flag (symbol of distress) and a megaphone so that they could speak to the crowd more effectively. Our assumption was that both the flagpole occupation and the Vets on the ledge would result in arrests but we felt that the Vets on the high ledge would have more time to speak to the crowd before the police would venture out to arrest them. (Thanks to VFP Pres. Elliot Adams for a leg up when we were climbing over the fence) As it turned out the Vets on the ledge were there for 90 minutes broadcasting before the Archive security ventured out to offer them safe passage if they would only leave the ledge peacefully. The police had opened the previously locked gate in the fence. After some discussion we decided to accept their offer. As we left the ledge to the cheers of the crowd below, a few of the police actually shook our hands. It seemed as if the police had made a decision not to arrest the Vets. Andrew, Ellen, Diane, Joel and Matthew decided to stay handcuffed to the flagpole, at least for a while, even though the march would move on.
Sadly there were no arrests, no scuffles with police and no street blockades. As far as the cheers of the crowd, watch the video. The only ones cheering are part of the demonstration itself. The crowd waiting to enter the National Archives looks bored.
Watch for FAIR and other organizations in the pocket of these groups to issue a demand for an explanation as to why the media failed to cover their "action". They are still whining about the lack of media coverage of Winter Soldier II. Maybe the mainstream media is smarter than I give them credit for being...
Talk about audacity... IVAW has issued a press release countering the testimony of General Petraeus and Amb Crocker. Here's snips from the press release...
WASHINGTON, DC - April 9 - Contrary to General Petraeus's testimony, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) attest that the major destabilizing force in Iraq is the ongoing U.S. occupation. What's more, U.S. troops are being commanded to perform acts that directly violate their moral codes and the rules of war, making a positive outcome exceedingly difficult to achieve.
Less than one month ago, over 100 veterans and active-duty soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan shared their eyewitness accounts of the occupations at Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan. Their testimony illustrated how the ongoing occupation of Iraq is resulting in the dehumanization and abuse of the Iraqi people, the destabilization and breakdown of the U.S. military, and the emotional and physical injury and damage to thousands of U.S. troops.
Testifiers gave firsthand accounts of being ordered to raid the homes of innocent Iraqis, physically and psychologically abuse Iraqi prisoners, and indiscriminately shoot at civilians.
Dear Martha -I listened to the audio of the testimony and read the reports (from both sides) about the testimony given at WSII. Most of it was simply "war is hell and it sucks" type testimony. The "war crimes" and atrocities never materialized in the testimony. And as far as the "dehumanization" claims - give it a rest. Millard's "haji" story is as ridiculous as his claim of depleted uranium exposure. The abuse and indiscrimate shooting of civilians was mostly "I was told" testimony and no one has yet to go under oath with their claims.
"Petraeus continues to repeat the administration's talking points while ignoring what the soldiers on the ground know: the Iraq occupation is not working," said Kelly Dougherty, a former Military Police Sergeant in Iraq and Executive Director of IVAW
Frankly Kelly - IVAW keeps repeating the talking points from UFPJ, CodePink, ANSWER, Dahr Jamail, VFP and VVAW. The only ones ignoring what is happening on the ground is IVAW and those who have everything to gain by a humilating withdrawal of US forces while leaving Iraqis at the mercy of Al Qaeda. This isn't Vietnam and your retread of the same tactics will not work.
But to claim that you guys and gals know more than General Petraeus is beyond laughable.
The five year anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq sent the moonbats into a complete and total frenzy of protest activity. According to people on the ground in DC, the city was awash in the unwashed and covered in pepto bismal pink.
Jonn over at This Ain't Hell was all over the place. He went from protest site to protest site and recorded the events for posterity. He's got lots of pics and videos posted. But this scene makes me scratch my head.
What exactly does Medea flashing her goodies in a bed on the streets of DC mean? Is she protesting Eliot Spitzer? Or maybe she's looking for some hot hippie action. Weird - just freakin' weird.
Of course IVAW was out in force despite the lackluster WSII performances. King Kokesh led the pack. He certainly has a way with street theater. Too bad he's not a mime.
Every time I see the American Flag flying upside down, it makes me want to vomit. Yes - I know it symbolizes a country in distress but damn it sends such a negative image around the world. Oh wait - that's the point.
TSO over at The Sniper got in on some of the protest action. He's got several posts up about today's events but my favorite is his deconstruction of the anarchists and his lunch with Suzie Rottencrotch.
After suffering through WSII and now this, I hereby award Jonn and TSO the Blogger Courage Award. Sorry - not a money award but lots of hugs and my deepest respect for you two guys!