American Soldiers Speak Out Against The War


While in Florida, Andrew Flood of the WSM attended a local 'Winter Soldier' hearing. These are public meetings where United States ex-soldiers of the Iraq testify against the war. Six US military who had served in Iraq were there to testify to a crowd of maybe 400 in opposition to the war. Five of them were men, one woman and they were drawn from the Marines, Navy (who had been on the ground in Fallujah 2), Armour, Infantry and supply. Four were members of Vets against the War which recruited 250 vets in the previous month.

The testimony they gave was varied ranging from the way the experience had destroyed their lives (there have been 10,000 vet suicides and at least two of the six speakers seemed a little suicidal to then point where during the Q&A one audience member appealed to them to talk to people who could help).

Others talked of the horrors of the war, of dead bodies floating in sewage during Fallujah 2 and being used for target practice to sight in weapons. Of how they were told they were obeying the Geneva conventions because it was left to their Iraqi interpreters to torture captives while they looked on. Of the experience of contractors driving fleets of $3,000 a week SUV's while they could not get the air conditioner needed to keep their warning computer running all day. How dogs and livestock were used as target practice and of how a farmer rrigating his field one night, because that was when the electricity was available, was deliberately shot even it was known that was what he was doing.

One of the more interesting testimony was from the One veteran, who had served in the armored division, detailed how soldiers would sit in the bases Burger King and radio in reports as they supposedly passed way land marks they were supposed to be patrollling. This was the first time I heard a first hand account of the sort of demoralisation that crippled the US army in Vietnam and would be considered mutiny. Soldiers also had several serious discussion of killing a superior officer and that the only reason nothing had happened was that in the end the officer didn't manage to get anyone killed. The soldiers talked of how if there was a chance they would be sent back to Iraq for another tour they planned to sabotage their vehicles.

Each of the six had different views on the war, some had broken much further with US policy than others. So while one worried about what would happen if they pulled out straight away, another called for immediate withdrawal and compared the resistance to what would happen if an invading army occupied Florida. He also called for the US to pay compensation to the people of Iraq.

Over the summer they hope to open the first 'GI coffeeshops' near military bases just as was done during the Vietnam way to make contact with those still trapped in the army.

See Indymedia for more details

This article is from Workers Solidarity 103, May - June 2008

PDF of the southern edition of WS103
PDF of northern edition of WS103