This video from the USA says about itself:
Iraq Veterans Against The War: Winter Soldier
April 13, 2008
Winter Soldier and the Legacy of GI Resistance
Barry Romo, Vietnam Vet.
A video from the USA, which used to be on the Internet, used to say about itself:
University of Florida Hosts Winter Soldier, Iraq Veterans Against the War – 1:29:00
Clifton Hicks enlisted in the military when he was 17 to fight in Iraq. He wanted to serve.
But after experiencing the war, Hicks changed his mind. He is not the only soldier to ever change his or her mind after spending time in Iraq. As more than 200 people spilled into the aisles of the Presbyterian Disciples of Christ Student Center Tuesday night, six Iraq war veterans spoke at the University of Florida about their experiences in the Mideast. It was a local representation of “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan,” a group of Iraq veterans who spoke in Washington, D.C., in March.
The purpose on Tuesday’s “Winter Soldier” gathering was to allow Gainesville to be confronted with the reality of the lives of the soldiers who live every day with their decisions, and to provide an outlet for the veterans to voice their opinions, said Delaney Rohan, a political science senior and member of the Progressive Caucus. Hicks says soldiers would shoot blindly into a civilian-populated area. “We sprayed a lot of bullets inside (of a house),” he said. When the shooting ended, the soldiers went inside the house where the original gunshots were heard.
The gunshots had not been enemy fire, Hicks says. They were celebratory shots from an Iraqi wedding, and U.S. soldiers had shot three of the members of the wedding party. One died, a 6-year-old girl. Palms up, face down in her bright, flower-print dress was the last image of her that Hicks took away with him, he said. “It’s a genocide,” he said.
The Iraqis are dehumanized by the military, so the soldiers don’t think about the morality of their actions, Hicks said. Every U.S. citizen is responsible for what happens in Iraq, said Zollie Goodman, another Iraq veteran. Yet Americans live in a selfish society and “stick our heads in sand,” he said.
By Matthew Fisher, Canwest News Service in Canada:
Canadian bullet kills Afghan girl
Published: Thursday, July 23, 2009
Canadian troops accidentally shot and killed a young Afghan girl at dusk on Tuesday, a spokesman for Task Force Afghanistan confirmed yesterday.
One round was fired at the ground to warn off a motorcyclist who was approaching a Canadian foot patrol at high speed. “We believe it was a ricochet” that killed the girl “and that it was one of our bullets, but an investigation will determine exactly what happened,” Major Mario Couture said. …
The motorcyclist changed direction and sped away from the patrol, which moments later saw a crowd of Afghans gathering and discovered the girl, the major said.
In 2001 Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold famously and courageously stood up as the lone senator to vote against the Patriot Act. On July 21 he did it again, casting the lone vote opposing Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman’s amendment to the 2010 Defense Authorization bill that immediately authorizes an expansion of the military by 30,000 troops. In an exclusive interview with The Nation, Feingold says he “did not believe it was in the best interest of our troops or our national security.” The measure passed 93-1: here.
- US soldier jailed for life for Afghan attacks (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- US soldier Robert Bales sentenced to life in jail without parole for Afghan massacre (abc.net.au)
Support for Afghan mission waning
OTTAWA: If polls are anything to go by, Ottawa will be loath to continue this country’s combat role in Afghanistan beyond 2011.
Public opinion research since last November consistently has shown a majority of respondents disapprove of the Afghan mission — a point not lost on the Harper government, which almost certainly will face an election between now and then.
An Angus Reid poll this week again showed a majority — 52 per cent — against Canada’s combat effort. Opposition has run from 53 to 58 per cent since November.
In Great Britain, opposition is now at 53 per cent while in the U.S. only 35 per cent are in the “No” camp.
Reid pollster Mario Canesco believes that in Canada, “the real issue is communications.” The public hears a lot of bad news and little about the advances being made in Afghanistan.
But the communications challenge goes beyond that.
Canadians have never been told what it is the International Security Assistance Force is ultimately trying to achieve, or what its exit strategy is.
Up to 2,500 Canadian soldiers have been in Afghanistan for nearly eight years; 125 have died so far, plus one diplomat and two aid workers. According to parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, by 2011, the financial cost will total $1.8 billion.
Are such sacrifices being made to rid the country of the Taliban? Is such a goal even achievable? The Taliban are indigenous to Afghanistan. They live there. Local conditions produce them.
Indeed, the Reid poll shows 34 per cent of Canadians think that, at this point, their government should be actively negotiating with the Taliban; 43 per cent of Brits and 33 per cent of Americans agree.
Also, it’s hard for the public to know how to assess any good-news stories against reports that conditions overall appear to be getting worse, not better, in Afghanistan.
The International Council on Security and Development, a policy think-tank, is reporting this week on its website that the Taliban now holds a permanent presence in 72 per cent of Afghanistan, up from 54 per cent a year ago.
“Taliban forces have advanced from their southern heartlands, where they are now the de facto governing power in a number of towns and villages, to Afghanistan’s western and northwestern provinces, as well as provinces north of Kabul.”
News reports reveal July’s death toll for the U.S.-led coalition stands at 55, exceeding the previous record of 46 deaths suffered in June and August of last year. And July isn’t over.
British military authorities, meanwhile, are reporting that bombing attacks in southern Afghanistan soared nearly 43 per cent for the first five months of 2009 over the same period in 2008.
The picture for the public grows more perplexing still when Afghan President Hamid Karzai, fed up with aerial bombings and searches of Afghan homes, calls, as he did last November, for the international community to set a timeline for withdrawal of troops.
It may be that people have come to believe that the Afghan conflict parallels the one in Vietnam. Americans fought for 14 years in Vietnam, then left after realizing the war was unwinnable.
Just last weekend, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said his country has about a year to make progress in Afghanistan before Americans start believing victory is out of reach.
The U.S. may well have that window. But apparently Canadians and Brits have already reached such a conclusion.
Canadian soldier says he shot friend in Afghanistan in self-defence
July 24, 2009
– Cpl. Matthew Wilcox of Glace Bay, N.S., heads to his court martial in Sydney, N.S. on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan –
SYDNEY, N.S. – A soldier accused of shooting and killing a colleague in a tent in Afghanistan over two years ago says he felt his life was threatened by someone when he whirled and fired his weapon.
Cpl. Matthew Wilcox took the stand in his own defence Friday in his manslaughter trial and told the four military jurors he heard someone cocking a pistol.
He told a hushed military courtroom that “he just reacted” and turned quickly, drawing his gun from his holster before shooting “at the pistol.”
Wilcox told defence counsel Lt.-Col. Troy Sweet he only realized seconds later that he had shot one of his best friends, Cpl. Kevin Megeney.
“I felt my life was threatened and lethal force was the minimum force needed,” said Wilcox.
“There was a weapon pointed at me.”
He said he realized it was Megeney two seconds after pulling the trigger.
“Only after the recoil of my weapon did I realize it was him,” he added.
“Everything happened so quickly, in less than two seconds. I was just reacting to a threat against my life.”
Wilcox, 24, of Glace Bay, N.S., has pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death, and negligent performance of duty in the death of Megeney, 25, of Stellarton, N.S.
The prosecution has argued that Wilcox was playing a game of “quick draw with Megeney on March 6, 2007. ”
Wilcox said many people in Afghanistan carry weapons and he regarded a gun being pointed at his back as a potentially deadly threat.
For days afterward, he said he felt shock and emptiness.
Wilcox said when he came back to Canada, deep grief and sadness set in over the death of Megeney.
“He was a really good guy,” he said.
“He was probably my closest friend in Afghanistan. … We lived together for almost a year and saw each other almost every day.”
Asked if he believed he was playing a game of “quick draw,” where soldiers see who is the quickest to bring the weapon from their holster, he replied firmly, “No.”
However, Maj. Jason Samson, one of two prosecutors in the case, suggested in his cross-examination that Wilcox’s training should have taught him to assess the situation before he fired his gun.
“Why would you say it’s reasonable for you to assume any Afghani got through … with a weapon?” he asked.
At first, Wilcox argued it was “possible” a Taliban member was in the tent.
He said he had turned slightly and was focused on the pistol’s barrel, not on the person holding it.
“Anyone could have been in the tent,” said Wilcox.
But later, as Samson pressed him, he conceded it was unlikely that the person would have been anyone but Megeney.
“If someone was in there it would most likely be Cpl. Megeney,” he testified.
Wilcox had entered the tent ahead of Megeney, dropped of his own gear, and then went back outside to carry in the gear of another soldier while Megeney was outside talking.
He said it was just after laying down that gear that he thought he heard the bolt of a gun sliding and had his “instinctive” reaction.
Wilcox spoke clearly and loudly, though he seemed nervous at times, and glanced over at his defence lawyers frequently.
During testimony he outlined how he had been in a hurry at the end of his shift as a guard at one of the Kandahar base’s entrance.
He said that he realized Canadian commanders required him to unload his weapon after he left his post, and said he had taken the magazine out of his pistol in order to fulfil that order.
However, he added, he had trouble shoving the magazine into a separate compartment on a leg holster, and instead jammed the magazine back into the gun.
Samson repeatedly asked him if he realized that decision broke basic military rules, and Wilcox acknowledged it was against orders.
When the prosecutor asked him if it was careless, he replied: “Yes.”
Wilcox’s appearance in his own defence followed 19 days of testimony by 25 witnesses called by the prosecution.
Earlier testimony in the court martial suggested the two reservists were playing “quick draw” in their tent at Kandahar Airfield, when a Browning pistol went off and hit Megeney in the right side of his chest.
The trial has heard from a soldier who said he saw Wilcox hold his dying friend in his arms and apologize as Megeney slumped to the floor of their tent.
And Master Cpl. Kyle Keigan testified that Wilcox told him over drinks in Sydney several months after the shooting that he was playing “quick draw” with Megeney.
On Friday, Wilcox denied saying that to Keigan.
He said he told him there was “a rumour” of a game of quick draw being played but that people were jumping to conclusions before they had heard all of the facts.
The court was told a group of soldiers carried Megeney by stretcher to a base hospital just 200 metres from where he was shot.
He died about 30 minutes later.Both Wilcox and Megeney were members of 1 Platoon, force protection company, which was responsible for protecting Kandahar Airfield.
The trial is being held before a four-member military panel and a judge, Cmdr. Peter Lamont.
The cross-examination of Wilcox will continue on Monday.
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