US Iraq War Veteran Plans to Return His Medals in Protest

This video from the USA is: ‘Iraq Veterans Against the War members Adam Kokesh, Liam Madden, and Cloy Richards on Good Morning America June 3rd, 2007.’

From Associated Press:

Iraq Veteran Plans to Return His Medals in Protest

By Ryan J. Foley

Tuesday 25 September 2007

Madison, Wisconsin – An Iraq War veteran said Tuesday he is returning his military medals in what anti-war groups are calling a rare and powerful protest.

Josh Gaines, 27, plans to mail the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and National Defense Service Medal to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. He said he will do so during a protest scheduled for Wednesday in Madison.

“I’m going to give those back because I truly feel that I did not defend my nation and I did not help with the Global War on Terrorism,” said Gaines, who lives in Madison. “If anything, this conflict has bred more terrorism in the Middle East.”

Gaines served a yearlong tour in Iraq between 2004 and 2005 with the U.S. Army Reserve. He spent his time guarding two military bases and issuing ammunition to soldiers but never fired a weapon, he said.

The experience convinced him the war was a mistake and that a steady withdrawal of troops was the right course of action, Gaines said.

“To be quite honest, I felt like we wasted taxpayers’ money,” he said. “The mission just didn’t seem correct and right for that time.”

Jonathan Dedering, a Students for a Democratic Society activist who is helping organize Wednesday’s protest, said it’s extremely rare for Iraq veterans to return their medals. The tactic was a more common form of protest among Vietnam veterans.

“To many Americans this will be a very big deal,” Dedering said in an e-mail message.

A member of Iraq Veterans Against the War agreed.

Brain injuries of US troops in Iraq, see here.

Anti Iraq war march in London, England on 8 October: here.

Art of War: Museum of Works By US Vietnam Vets In Financial Straits: here.

3 thoughts on “US Iraq War Veteran Plans to Return His Medals in Protest

  1. from Protest to Resistance…
    Preliminary Report from the Encampment to Stop the War and the the September 29 March on Washington

    Militant march and direct action follow week-long challenge in front of Congress

    For one week, activists from across the U.S. maintained a 24-hour encampment directly in front of the Capitol to demand “Cut the War Funding – Stop the War at Home and Abroad!” ( for details, photos, video and more, see )

    The march on Saturday, September 29 was a departure in tone and make-up from many past anti-war demonstrations. It was a serious and highly successful effort to involve more community based organizations and issues and to link the struggle against the war with the struggles against racism, oppression, and economic injustice at home.

    The multinational crowd that assembled Saturday morning included contingents from Common Ground, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, Code Pink, the Peoples Organization for Progress, Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Green Party of the U.S., BAYAN USA, and many more. Speakers and participants all drew clear links between the war in Iraq and the war at home.

    Estimates of turnout ranged from 10,000 to 15,000. The march took a route that wound through the DC streets targeting FEMA, ICE, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Education.

    At the end of the march hundreds of youth organized an action that blocked traffic on major streets in front of the Capitol including sit-ins of Pennsylvania and Constitution Ave for 5 to 6 hours.

    Hundreds of young activists signed up to join Troops Out Now. A simple flyer asked:

    “If you believe that the antiwar movement, should also fight racism here in the U.S.

    If you believe that endless war is not merely evil or wrong, but central to U.S. Imperialism’s drive to re-colonize the middle east and much of the rest of the world… and it must be stopped!

    If you believe that supporting the struggle of immigrant workers in the fight against raids and deportations is something that the antiwar movement should be involved in.

    If you believe that supporting the struggle of poor and working people is key to our movement…..than join us.”


  2. Posted on Fri, Oct. 12, 2007 11:54 PM

    Retired general criticizes war in Iraq
    Associated Press Writer

    Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the U.S. military commander in Iraq is shown in this 2003 file photo in Baghdad. Sanchez said the U.S. mission in Iraq is a “nightmare with no end in sight” because of political misjudgments after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
    Dusan Vranic, FILE

    Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the U.S. military commander in Iraq is shown in this 2003 file photo in Baghdad. Sanchez said the U.S. mission in Iraq is a “nightmare with no end in sight” because of political misjudgments after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

    The U.S. mission in Iraq is a “nightmare with no end in sight” because of political misjudgments after the fall of Saddam Hussein that continue today, a former chief of U.S.-led forces said Friday.

    Retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded coalition troops for a year beginning June 2003, cast a wide net of blame for both political and military shortcomings in Iraq that helped open the way for the insurgency – such as disbanding the Saddam-era military and failing to cement ties with tribal leaders and quickly establish civilian government after Saddam was toppled.

    He called current strategies – including the deployment of 30,000 additional forces earlier this year – a “desperate attempt” to make up for years of misguided policies in Iraq.

    “There is no question that America is living a nightmare with no end in sight,” Sanchez told a group of journalists covering military affairs.

    Sanchez avoided singling out at any specific official. But he did criticize the State Department, the National Security Council, Congress and the senior military leadership during what appeared to be a broad indictment of White House policies and a lack of leadership to oppose them.

    Such assessments – even by former Pentagon brass – are not new, but they have added resonance as debates over war strategy dominate the presidential campaign.

    The Bush administration didn’t directly address Sanchez’s critical views.

    “We appreciate his service to the country,” said White House spokesman Trey Bohn. He added that as U.S. commander in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker have said: “There is more work to be done, but progress is being made in Iraq and that’s what we’re focused on now.”

    Sanchez retired from the Army last year, two years after he completing a tumultuous year as commander of all U.S. forces in Iraq. As he stepped down, he called his career a casualty of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

    He was never charged with anything but he was not promoted in the aftermath of the prisoner abuse reports. He was criticized by some for not doing more to avoid mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners.

    Sanchez told the gathering that he thought he had made mistakes and said he didn’t always fully appreciate the secondary affects of actions the military took.

    He did deny reports that he and then-Iraqi administrator L. Paul Bremer were not on speaking terms. He said they spoke every day.

    The retired soldier stressed that it became clear during his command that the mission was severely handicapped because the State Department and other agencies were not adequately contributing to a mission that could not be won by military force alone.

    When asked when he saw that the mission was going awry, he responded: “About the 15th of June 2003” – the day he took command.

    “There is nothing going on today in Washington that would give us hope” that things are going to change, he said.

    Sanchez went on to offer a pessimistic view on the current U.S. strategy against extremists will make lasting gains, but said a full-scale withdrawal also was not an option.

    “The American military finds itself in an intractable situation … America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq,” said Sanchez, who works as a consultant training U.S. generals.


  3. Pingback: Interview with English musician Robert Wyatt | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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