5 de marzo de 2008


Vets Break Silence on War Crimes
by Aaron Glantz
February 29, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO - U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are
planning to descend on Washington from Mar. 13-16 to testify about
war crimes they committed or personally witnessed in those
countries. The war in Iraq is not covered to its potential because of
how dangerous it is for reporters to cover it," said Liam Madden, a
former Marine and member of the group Iraq Veterans Against the
War. "That's left a lot of misconceptions in the minds of the
American public about what the true nature of military occupation
looks like."

Iraq Veterans Against the War argues that well-publicized incidents
of U.S. brutality like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the massacre
of an entire family of Iraqis in the town of Haditha are not the
isolated incidents perpetrated by "a few bad apples", as many
politicians and military leaders have claimed. They are part of a
pattern, the group says, of "an increasingly bloody occupation".

"The problem that we face in Iraq is that policymakers in leadership
have set a precedent of lawlessness where we don't abide by the rule
of law, we don't respect international treaties, so when that
atmosphere exists it lends itself to criminal activity," argues
former U.S. Army Sergeant Logan Laituri, who served a tour in Iraq
from 2004 to 2005 before being discharged as a conscientious objector.

Laituri told IPS that precedent of lawlessness makes itself felt in
the rules of engagement handed down by commanders to soldiers on the
front lines. When he was stationed in Samarra, for example, he said
one of his fellow soldiers shot an unarmed man while he walked down
the street.

"The problem is that that soldier was not committing a crime as you
might call it because the rules of engagement were very clear that no
one was supposed to be walking down the street," he said. "But I have
a problem with that. You can't tell a family to leave everything they
know so you can bomb the shit out of their house or their city. So
while he definitely has protection under the law, I don't think that
legitimates that type of violence."

Iraq Veterans Against the War is calling the gathering "Winter
Soldier," after a quote from the U.S. revolutionary Thomas Paine, who
wrote in 1776: "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer
soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the
service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love
and thanks of man and woman."

Organisers say video and photographic evidence will also be
presented, and the testimony and panels will be broadcast live on
Satellite TV and streaming video on _ivaw.org_ (
http://ivaw.org/) .
Winter Soldier is modeled on a similar event held by Vietnam Veterans
37 years ago.In 1971, over 100 members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with fellow citizens.

Madres contra la Guerra
Sonia Margarita Santiago, portavoz
Apartado 875 Dorado, PR 00646