If you have yet to see, hear, read, or feel the commitment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans against the Middle Eastern wars, here is your chance. If you have not experienced the pain the family and friends of troops feel, now you can. If you think you can only show your support for soldiers by endorsing the wars, then, please ponder the words of Winter Soldier Michael Prysner. He and the experienced troops who walk with him wish to ask for your help. Peruse the passage Prysner presents in this mail.
Please ponder how the wars affect you personally, politically, and even fiscally. Consider the many communities in this country and abroad deprived of funds, all in an effort to participate in and pay for warfare. Try to imagine the many lives and limbs lost, not to mention the emotional traumatic stress. Perhaps, you have already actively considered how our culture has changed, all because we engage in costly battles.
If you had wanted to speak out, and have not, or if you want to communicate in a manner that might touch the President and Congress, please join our servicemen, woman, kin, and acquaintances in a March Forward.
For details, please read on. I thank you.
In March of 2003, I was sent to invade Iraq amidst the largest anti-war demonstrations in history, with an equally senseless war already being waged in Afghanistan. Myself, and countless other veterans, went believing the lies spewed by Washington, but saw first hand the criminal and imperial nature of that war, and every war waged by the U.S. Our experiences compelled us to stand up and fight back.
Many of us joined together to form March Forward!, and have been building resistance to these wars, both in and out of the military. This video was made by our members, all of whom are veterans and active duty soldiers, to help us publicize the next step in our struggle to end the wars-the national mass anti-war protests in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco on March 20th, seven years after the brutal invasion of Iraq.
Help us make our voices heard. We need you all behind us on March 20th to stand united against the crimes of this government-but we also need your help in spreading the word. Please circulate the above video to everyone you can, and be a part of the growing movement against the U.S. war machine.
Visit March20.org to learn more about how to get involved.
In order to attend the January 27, 2007 rally, a family from Florida, not mine, though I wish it were, drove up to Washington District of Columbia. They wanted to be part of the newer “Half Million Man and Woman March.” This protest did not focus solely on civil rights at home. It addressed sacrifices and privileges of the people worldwide. Foreign and domestic policy was in question. The American public was requesting a return of the troops. People, individuals, and groups were saying, “Give Peace a Chance!”
I wish I had been there. If the war continues for a few months more, I will be able to speak for myself. I hope to discuss this matter with Representatives in Washington District of Columbia. I am planning a short visit. I hear myself say, “if,” and I wonder. Were it to be so, that this war would end, before Bush leaves office. It seems but a dream that the war in Iraq will conclude before Spring.
Since I was not at the scene, I can only look on. For now, the written word will have to suffice.
Washington, Jan. 27 – Tens of thousands of protesters converged on the National Mall on Saturday to oppose President Bush’s plan for a troop increase in Iraq in what organizers hoped would be one of the largest shows of antiwar sentiment in the nation’s capital since the war began.
The event drew demonstrators from across the country, and many said that in addition to taking their discontent to the streets they planned to press members of Congress to oppose the war.
“When we voted it was a directive to bring our troops home now,” said the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, referring to the November elections when Democrats won control of Congress.
Demonstrators listened to speeches from a roster of politicians and entertainment figures including the Rev. Jesse Jackson; Representative Dennis J. Kucinich, Democrat of Ohio and a candidate for the presidency in 2008; and Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California. The actors Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins also addressed the crowd.
“We need to be talking not just about defunding the war but also about funding the vets,” Ms. Sarandon said, adding that more than 50,000 had sought treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs while benefits for them continue to be cut.
With Mr. Bush facing low approval ratings and Congress continuing to debate the terms of a nonbinding resolution opposing the troop increase, elderly people in wheelchairs, housewives pushing strollers, seasoned dissenters in tie-dye and veterans in uniform turned out to protest.
“I grew up during the Vietnam War, but I never protested it and never had my lottery number called to go fight,” said David Quinly, a 54-year-old carpenter from Prairie Village, Kan., who arrived here Friday night with about 50 others after a 23-hour bus ride.
“In my view, this one is a war of choice and a war for profit against a culture and people we don’t understand,” Mr. Quinly said. “I knew I had to speak up this time.”
Along the north side of the Mall, teenagers in T-shirts featuring sinister depictions of Mr. Bush chanted, “End the lunacy; end it now.” A man wearing prison stripes carried a sign with the likeness of Vice President Dick Cheney. A man on 30-inch stilts, dressed as Abraham Lincoln, carried a sign quoting him: “But you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” A tall, clear plastic column stood overflowing with thousands of shoes symbolizing the civilians killed in the war.
“I’ve got a son who just got out of the military and another still in,” said Jackie Smith, 65, from Sunapee, N.H., whose sign read “Bush Bin Lyin.” “And I’m here because this is all I can do to try to help them.”
Tassi McKee, from Bastrop, La., who said she was a staff sergeant in the Air Force, was among a small contingent of about 20 active-duty service members who turned out. “I believe this has become a civil war, and we are being hurt and making matters worse by staying in the middle of it,” Sergeant McKee said.
She said that it was not illegal for active-duty members to attend protests but that it was strongly discouraged.
Veterans were more numerous among the crowd.
Dressed in the olive green, military-issued flight jacket that he said he wore during the invasion of Iraq while serving as a Marine sergeant, Jack Teller, 26, said he joined a caravan from Greenville, N.C., because he felt that it was his duty.
“I don’t like wearing the jacket because it reminds me that I participated in an immoral and illegal war,” said Mr. Teller, who had “Iraq Veterans Against the War” stenciled on the back of his jacket. “But it’s important to make a political statement.”
Visions are available on video.YouTube offers many firsthand presentations, firsthand films published by protestors themselves.
If you dear reader might share an anecdote, I would be pleased as punch. Oral history is far more real and revealing. Please tell us your tales. If you would answer our questions. What was it like? What did you say, do, feel, and experience. We embrace you and the cause.
Our March on Washington exceeded my wildest dreams-as well as the media’s lame, subdued coverage.
“Tens of thousands” protested in Washington, they are saying. The news media got this number from an unofficial, un-named police source, while the organizers of the event themselves were seemingly not consulted. I walked right up to Leslie Kaufman (President of United for Peace and Justice and chief organizer of today’s protest) after the event was over and asked her how many people she thought attended today. She said 500,000 was their estimate, but she expected the media would report only half that number. But “tens of thousands”? Come on, news!
There were masses of people from forty states, three hundred busloads, over 1000 organizations, not to mention all the people who just showed up because they had to. The media does a grave injustice in under-reporting our collective force. We came from all parts of the country to represent the majority of Americans in our call to end the war in Iraq and withdraw our troops. This was not some fringey little gathering-we had Congresspeople, grandmothers, Democrats and Republicans, veterans of the Iraq War, men still serving in the army, celebrities, children, people of all faiths, ethnicities, color. It was the most enormous gathering of people I’ve ever seen, and most certainly, the biggest and most diverse protest held in Washington, D.C. since the Vietnam Era.
Peace! What is it good for? Absolutely everything. The prospect of peace brings people together. Please, let us unite. Share the sensitivity. Soldiers and civilians are counting on us. A half million is an excellent beginning!