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 announcement was distribute by Adam at Displaced Films, October 6, 2009
Now, more than ever, you need Sir! No Sir! and related DVDs and books!
All our prices have been slashed!
Being a rebel has never been more affordable!
Picture this: A corrupt, American-installed government is losing control of the people, despite tens of thousands of U.S. troops enforcing their rule. The insurgents are gaining ground in the countryside, and U.S. air strikes have destroyed several villages, killing hundreds of civilians. The American Generals are convinced that if they can just get rid of the unpopular government and send forty thousand more troops, victory is in sight.
Sound familiar? Welcome to AfghaniNam.
And while the drums of endless war beat on, what better time to once again--and at far less cost--learn the urgent lessons of the GI Movement to end the Vietnam War.
Sir! No Sir! -- The film that critics raved about and thousands saw in theaters; the film that was like a hand grenade thrown into the invasion of Iraq; the film that helped inspire an upsurge of opposition and resistance to that invasion inside the military and among veterans--is today as timely as ever. And so are the other DVDs and books available at http://www.sirnosir.com.
If you haven't seen Sir! No Sir!...You're kidding! If you have seen Sir! No Sir! but not the DVD extras, you haven't REALLY seen Sir! No Sir! ($15.00)
If you haven't read Soldiers in Revolt, The Spitting Image, and Mission Rejected, you don't know the whole story. (Soldiers in Revolt, $12.95; The Spitting Image, $16.95
Mission Rejected, $9.95; All three, $39.95)
If you haven't seen FTA or read Jane Fonda's War, you don't know Jane. (FTA, $15.00 Jane Fonda's War, $14.95 Both, $23.95)
If you haven't seen A Night of Ferocious Joy, you haven't been inspired. ($8.00)
And if you haven't bought Sir! No Sir! in bulk and sent it to a soldier, veteran, or high school or college student, you're not doing all you can to end this madness! (5 for $35.00, 10 for $60, 15 for $75, 20 for $100) Click here to buy these and other GI resistance materials
And if you haven't watched the new web series, This Is Where We Take Our Stand, telling the inside story of the Iraq Veterans Against the War's Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan investigation, do it now! (Click here to visit the site, or use links to individual episodes on the right)
You are now watching: Episode Six - No Longer a Monster
"There are no more authoritative voices to speak out about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than the people who have been there under fire," declares singer Tom Morello (The Nightwatchman, Rage Against the Machine), as he leads an intense celebration of three days of intense, painful, and liberating testimony. And while James Gilligan reveals the deep similarities between the "bad war" (Iraq) and the "good war" (Afghanistan), Jon Turner declares for all, "I am sorry for the things that I did, I am no longer the monster that I once was."
You are now watching: Episode Five - This is Not Human Nature
For the first time in history, women have combat and other front-line roles in the U.S. military, yet the military today is rife with sexual harassment, as Wendy Barranco reveals. Is this progress? Is it inevitable? Human nature? Or perhaps it's the sign of a deeper malignancy. For Wendy, her treatment was "the last thing I would have imagined from my own peers and comrades."
This article, by James Dao, was published in the New York Times, August 28, 2009
A restive antiwar movement, largely dormant since the election of Barack Obama, is preparing a nationwide campaign this fall to challenge the administration’s policies on Afghanistan.
Anticipating a Pentagon request for more troops there, antiwar leaders have engaged in a flurry of meetings to discuss a month of demonstrations, lobbying, teach-ins and memorials in October to publicize the casualty count, raise concerns about the cost of the war and pressure Congress to demand an exit strategy.
But they face a starkly changed political climate from just a year ago, when President George W. Bush provided a lightning rod for protests. The health care battle is consuming the resources of labor unions and other core Democratic groups. American troops are leaving Iraq, defusing antiwar sentiments in some quarters. The recession has hurt fund-raising for peace groups and forced them to slash budgets. And, perhaps most significant, many liberals continue to support Mr. Obama, or at least are hesitant about openly criticizing him.
“People do not want to take on the administration,” said Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org. “Generating the kind of money that would be required to challenge the president’s policies just isn’t going to happen.”
Tom Andrews, national director for an antiwar coalition, Win Without War, said most liberals “want this guy to succeed.” But he said the antiwar movement would try to convince liberals that a prolonged war would undermine Mr. Obama’s domestic agenda. Afghanistan, he said, “could be a devastating albatross around the president’s neck.”
But there is also a sense among some antiwar advocates that Mr. Obama’s honeymoon with Democrats in general and liberals in particular is ending. As evidence, they point to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll showing that 51 percent of Americans now feel the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting, a 10-point increase since March. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
“We’re coming out of a low period,” said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the antiwar group Code Pink. “But as progressives feel more comfortable protesting against the Obama administration and challenging Democrats as well as Republicans in Congress, then we’ll be back on track.”
The Obama administration has opposed legislation requiring an exit strategy, saying it needs time to develop new approaches to the war. “Given his own impatience for progress, the president has demanded benchmarks to track our progress and ensure that we are moving in the right direction,” a White House official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The October protest schedule is expected to include marches in Washington and elsewhere. But organizers acknowledge that it may be difficult to recruit large numbers of demonstrators. So groups like United for Peace and Justice are also planning smaller events in communities around the country, including teach-ins with veterans and families of deployed troops, lobbying sessions with members of Congress, film screenings and ad hoc memorials featuring the boots of deceased soldiers and Marines.
“There are some that feel betrayed” by Mr. Obama, said Nancy Lessin, a founder of the group Military Families Speak Out. “There are some who feel that powerful forces are pushing the president to stay on this course and that we have to build a more powerful movement to change that course.”
The October actions will be timed not only to the eighth anniversary of the first American airstrikes on Taliban forces and the seventh anniversary of Congressional authorization for invading Iraq, but also an anticipated debate in Congress over sending more troops to Afghanistan. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of American forces in Afghanistan, is widely expected to request additional troops, beyond the 68,000 projected for the end of the year, after finalizing a policy review in the next few weeks.
The antiwar movement consists of dozens of organizations representing pacifists, veterans, military families, labor unions and religious groups, and they hardly speak with one voice. Some groups like Iraq Veterans Against the War have started shifting their focus toward Afghanistan, passing resolutions demanding an immediate withdrawal of troops from there. Others, like VoteVets.org, support the American military presence in Afghanistan, calling it crucial to fighting terrorism.
And some groups, including Moveon.org, have yet to take a clear position on Afghanistan beyond warning that war drains resources from domestic programs.
“There is not the passion around Afghanistan that we saw around Iraq,” said Ilyse Hogue, Moveon.org’s spokeswoman. “But there are questions.”
There are also signs that some groups that have been relatively quiet on Afghanistan are preparing to become louder. U.S. Labor Against the War, a network of nearly 190 union affiliates that has been focused on Iraq, is “moving more into full opposition to the continuing occupation” of Afghanistan, said Michael Eisenscher, the group’s national coordinator.
“President Obama risks his entire domestic agenda, just as Johnson did in Vietnam, in pursuing this course of action in Afghanistan,” Mr. Eisenscher said.
Handfuls of antiwar protestors can still be seen on Capitol Hill, outside state office buildings and around college campuses. Cindy Sheehan, for instance, has set up her vigil on Martha’s Vineyard while Mr. Obama vacations there. But many advocates say a lower-key approach may be more effective in winning support right now.
An example of that strategy is an Internet film titled “Rethink Afghanistan,” which is being produced and released in segments by the political documentary filmmaker Robert Greenwald. In six episodes so far, Mr. Greenwald has used interviews with academics, Afghans and former C.I.A. operatives to raise questions about civilian casualties, women’s rights, the cost of war and whether it has made the United States safer.
The episodes, some as short as two minutes, are circulated via Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and blogs. Antiwar groups are also screening them with members of Congress. Mr. Greenwald, who has produced documentaries about Wal-Mart and war profiteers, said the film represented a “less incendiary” approach influenced by liberal concerns that he not attack Mr. Obama directly.
“We lost funding from liberals who didn’t want to criticize Obama,” he said. “It’s been lonely out there.”
Code Pink is trying to build opposition to the war among women’s groups, some of which argue that women will suffer if the Taliban returns. In September, a group of Code Pink organizers will visit Kabul to encourage Afghan women to speak out against the American military presence there.
And Iraq Veterans Against the War is using the Web to circulate episodes of a documentary, “This Is Where We Take Our Stand,” filmed in 2008 at its Winter Soldier conference, at which veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan testified about civilian casualties, combat stress and other tolls of the wars.
The group’s leaders say they do not expect many people to take to the barricades against the administration any time soon. But that will change, they argue, as the death toll continues to rise.
“In the next year, it will more and more become Obama’s war,” said Perry O’Brien, president of the New York chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War. “He’ll be held responsible for the bloodshed.”
You are now watching: Episode Four - Broken Soldier
Why are so many veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan psychologically damaged? Is it the natural trauma of war, or the product of military whose mission is to occupy and suppress the civilian population? Zollie Goodman recounts the racism against Iraqis imbued in his unit, while Kris Goldsmith reveals the hatred that finally made him a "broken soldier," caught in the endless web of the Veterans Administration. And the parents of Jeffrey Lucey mourn their son, one of thousands who could no longer live with what he had become.
This open letter, from David Zeiger, was distributed August 18, 2009
As I write this, we are getting ready to post the fourth episode of This is Where We Take Our Stand, our six-part web series about last year’s Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan event. You can find the series at http://www.thisiswherewetakeourstand.com, and of course on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.
It’s been a huge struggle, but this series is finally here–and I hope we created something that will bring the truth you revealed at Winter Soldier to thousands, even millions. We strove to make each episode a revelation and a punch in the gut, featuring some of the most important and powerful testimony from Winter Soldier along with the battles so many of you fought to make it happen. Boots Riley of The Coup wrote a killer theme song, Sound Off, that can also be downloaded from the site.
Winter Soldier happened in the last year of the Bush administration, and it was the most powerful condemnation of the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan that I have seen. Your testimony laid bare the insane, relentless brutality of those wars and the hypocrisy of Bush’s claims that you were there to bring “freedom and democracy” to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. You made it clear that it was the policy of the government and military that was criminal. And you brought into the open the courageous, profound opposition to the wars that exists within the military and veterans’ community.
But what about now? Millions of people expected the Obama administration to change those policies and end the occupations. Well, where is that change? In Iraq, where we have been promised there might be a withdrawal by 2011 leaving 50,000 troops there to insure an “America friendly” government? Or how about Afghanistan, where a thoroughly corrupt, Bush-installed government is now being propped up with the additional 20,000 troops that were withdrawn from Iraq? What has changed?
What’s most horrifying for me is seeing the slaughter continue today with hardly a peep from those who would have loudly objected when Bush was in charge. So, perhaps ironically, Winter Soldier is today more relevant and urgent than ever. This is not about the past, as Obama has often said, but about what is happening right now.
It is your voices that must be heard in this darkness. And it’s in that spirit that we have made this series. It belongs to you, and we hope you will not only watch and show it to others, but use it to spread the impact of Winter Soldier and build your movement. We welcome your thoughts and comments, and urge you to add your own testimonials to the web site. Along with posting the final three episodes through September, we will make the whole series available on a DVD for you to use.
With love and solidarity,
You are now watching: Episode Three: Why We Fight
Flashback to January, three months before Winter Soldier. How do you bring hundreds of veterans to Washington DC, to tell their stories? An IVAW national planning meeting reveals sharp differences among the members. Is the point of Winter Soldier to show how these wars are hurting America, or the destruction America is bringing to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan? Is the goal to strengthen the military, or weaken it? Despite the differences, a deep unity is built because, as Geoff Millard declares, the bottom line is “No one can hear our stories and still support this shit.”
You are now watching: Episode Two: Rules of Engagement
As testimony continues, the question “What about the Iraqi people?” takes center stage. When you are part of an occupying army and most of them want to kill you, who do you blame? Clifton Hicks recounts a deadly assault his unit made on a civilian neighborhood while struggling with his inability to identify with their pain. Jason Hurd argues, though, that this war will never end until people know the suffering we have brought to the people there. For him, Winter Soldier is a way to apologize to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
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.
Comment, debate, add your testimony, and help this series and the voices of veterans spark a new, sorely needed discussion about the continuing occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
David Zeiger, Displaced Films
Statement from Displaced Films and Northern Light Productions
Where’s the debate?
Are we watching passively while Barack Obama carries out the same policies as George W. Bush?
When an American bombing raid this May killed over two hundred civilians in a village in Afghanistan, it was met with a deafening silence. When Obama’s promised “withdrawal” from Iraq leaves 130,000 troops there for at least two more years and 50,000 permanently, it’s hailed as an end to the occupation. And who is demanding to know just what the mission really is when 30,000 more troops are sent to Afghanistan? Where’s the debate?
In March of 2008, two hundred and fifty veterans and active duty soldiers marked the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by gathering in Washington, DC, to testify from their own experience about the nature of the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. It was chilling, horrifying, and challenging for all who witnessed it. Against tremendous odds, they brought the voices of the veterans themselves into the debate. That was then.
This is now. Today, we present to you This is Where We Take Our Stand, the inside story of those three days and the courageous men and women who testified. And we present this story today, told in six episodes, because we believe it is as relevant now as it was one year ago. Maybe more.
Here is our challenge to you: Watch the series; spread it far and wide; and ask yourself is this about the past, or the present and future. Then add your voice.
If you are a veteran or active duty, present your own testimony. If you are not, but you are still a living, breathing member of the human race, then do whatever you can to join and fan the flames of debate.