United States Iraq Veterans Against the War

This video from the USA says about itself:

Iraq Veterans Against the War: Decade-Old Group Grapples with New War, PTSD Epidemic, VA Failures

3 October 2014

Ten years ago, six members of the U.S. military came together to break their silence over what they had witnessed during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. They banded together and formed the organization Iraq Veterans Against the War, or IVAW. Over time, they gathered like-minded veterans across the United States to form a contemporary GI resistance movement. Celebrated its tenth anniversary, IVAW members say it is a bittersweet moment as the United States has resumed bombing in Iraq.

Today, IVAW chapters are in 48 states and numerous bases overseas. The group has called for reparations for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan — for both human and infrastructural damages caused by the U.S.-led invasion. They have also called for adequate healthcare to be provided at VA facilities, including mental healthcare, for all returning veterans. We host a roundtable with three IVAW members: co-founder Kelly Dougherty, who was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq from 2003-2004; Brock McIntosh, who served in Afghanistan and applied for conscientious objector status; and Scott Olsen, a former marine who served two tours in Iraq and was critically wounded after being shot in the head by a police projectile at an Occupy Oakland protest.

Take a moment to see all of the Democracy Now! reports on Iraq Veterans Against the War in our archive.

VA SECRETARY APOLOGIZES FOR FALSE CLAIM HE WAS IN SPECIAL FORCES “Robert McDonald, the secretary of veterans affairs, wrongly claimed in a videotaped comment earlier this year that he served in special operations forces, the most elite units in the armed forces, when his military service of five years was spent almost entirely with the 82nd Airborne Division during the late 1970s … Saying he was in special forces, McDonald said, ‘is not right. I was not in special forces. What I said was wrong.'” [HuffPost]

WHEN CHILDREN OF VETS FACE THE SCARS OF WAR “In households nationwide, hundreds of thousands of wounded parents have come home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their children are struggling to navigate the invisible wounds — traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder, which together afflict an estimated 30 percent of the 2.7 million former troops. The everyday toll on children is unprecedented, advocates for veterans’ families say, because their parents have complex injuries that would have ended their lives in wars past, before recent medical advances, and suffer from the psychic scars of multiple deployments.” [WaPo]

VA MISSPENT $6 BILLION “The Department of Veterans Affairs has been spending at least $6 billion a year in violation of federal contracting rules to pay for medical care and supplies, wasting taxpayer money and putting veterans at risk, according to an internal memo written by the agency’s senior official for procurement.” Take a look at the most explosive reveals in the report. [WaPo]

35,000 VETS DENIED VA HEALTH CARE BECAUSE OF ‘COMPUTER GLITCH’ Those affected are combat veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have been waiting for more than five years to be approved. [Jennifer Bendery, HuffPost]

THE VA STILL CAN’T FIX A ‘GLITCH’ THAT’S RESULTING IN 29,000 VETS WITHOUT CARE “It’s been seven months since top officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs learned that tens of thousands of combat vets were being denied VA health care enrollment because of a computer system error. Not much has changed.” [HuffPost]

THIS VET FILMED HIMSELF TRYING TO GET A VA DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENT And it isn’t pretty, folks. [Jen Bendery, HuffPost]

Thousands of former California National Guard soldiers have been dunned for tens of millions of dollars they received in bonus payments paid out almost a decade ago in exchange for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the Pentagon claiming the bonuses were unauthorized: here.

32 thoughts on “United States Iraq Veterans Against the War

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  10. If you watched last night’s debate, there was a lot of talk about war in places like Iraq and Syria, but very little about how to care for the men and women who serve after they return home.

    Today is Veterans Day — a fact that went unmentioned during the Republican debate. And that’s important, because the truth is that while planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war, so too is taking care of the service members who use those weapons and fight our battles.

    Last year, as chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I authored and passed the most comprehensive veterans’ legislation in decades, reaching across the aisle to team up with Sen. John McCain. Amid reports of unacceptable wait times and calls to dangerously privatize veterans health care, we actually authorized funding for 27 new medical facilities and hired more doctors and nurses to care for the surging number of veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    After two wars over 14 years, never before have so few been asked to do so much for our country. I voted against the Iraq War, which I think will go down as one of the worst foreign policy blunders we have ever seen, but I have never wavered from my commitment to caring for the women and men who served, and continue to serve, in that conflict.

    You may not have heard much about it from the Republican candidates last night, but how we care for our veterans is going to be a central issue this election. The Koch-connected Concerned Veterans for America is prepared to spend untold millions of dollars supporting the privatization of veterans’ health care. And almost every Republican candidate running for president supports their plan to place the profits of private corporations over the promise made to our veterans.

    I believe we should take a different approach — that we should stand with the majority of veterans who believe we should continue strengthening the VA. Now I want to know that you’re with us.

    Sign my petition if I can count on you to help me continue fighting against the Koch-connected plans to privatize veterans’ health care.

    This issue is very important to me and it’s why I am so happy to receive so many letters from veterans who appreciate my work on their behalf.

    People like Hilary from Polk County, Iowa who wrote to our campaign saying, “Bernie Sanders is the only candidate with a track record of fighting for veterans and veterans’ rights. I know as president he won’t send my brothers and sisters in arms into needless wars and for those that have served our country, he will ensure that they have access to the benefits and health care they earned through their service.”

    And Peter from San Diego, “Retired Navy. Like [Bernie’s] stand on taking care of veterans. If you can’t afford to take care of veterans you can’t afford to fight a war.”

    And also Jack from Massachusetts, “I’m a disabled Marine combat veteran, Bernie has always supported veterans with deeds and not just hot air. I’d love to have a President like that.”

    I will always fight for Hilary, Peter, and Jack. And if we all stand together, we can protect and strengthen the care we provide for everyone who has served our country.

    Sign my petition opposing Republican plans to privatize veterans’ health care.

    The United States has spent trillions of dollars sending our young men and women to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. Surely we can come together to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs has the resources needed to care for them when they return.

    In solidarity,

    Bernie Sanders


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  16. Couldn’t prove Iraq war crimes: German court rejects US Army deserter’s asylum application

    Published time: 18 Nov, 2016 06:10

    A Munich court has rejected a US soldier’s plea for asylum six years after his application was filed. The soldier deserted his post in southern Germany after being ordered to return to Iraq, where he feared he would be forced to take part in war crimes.

    Andre Shepherd, 39, deserted his post at Katterbach Kaserne military base in southern Germany in 2007 after being told he would have to return to Iraq for a second tour. He claims he felt that he would be forced to take part in what he called “war crimes” if he did.

    However, that excuse failed to hold up in court and the case was dismissed on Thursday, with presiding Judge Josef Ruber ruling that Shepherd had failed to exercise all available options to leave the military before deserting, making no attempt to join another military unit.

    Ruber also said that Shepherd – who served as an Apache helicopter mechanic for the US Army – was unable to prove that he would have been forced to commit war crimes on returning to Iraq, Deutsche Welle reported.

    The ruling is the latest in what has become a drawn out case for Shepherd, who initially filed his asylum application in 2008. His original plea was denied by the Federal Ministry for Refugees in 2011, prompting the former soldier to file an appeal under a European directive that protects military deserters who have witnessed human rights violations in combat and consequently fear persecution.

    That appeal was taken to the European Court of Justice, which last year remanded the case back to the German court, which ultimately ruled against Shepherd on Thursday.

    Shepherd’s lawyer plans to appeal the latest verdict, according to DPA news agency.

    In a statement to AP, the US Army in Europe said it was aware of Shepherd’s case, but was not seeking to take part in any legal proceedings.

    “We do not, as a general policy, proactively pursue deserters,” the statement said. “However, should Shepherd be returned to US Army custody, his case would be handled as would every other deserter returned to US custody, in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and on its own merit.”

    Shepherd maintains the right to remain in Germany despite the Thursday ruling, as his wife is German.

    The 39-year-old is the first Iraq War veteran to pursue refugee status in Germany, and only the second US soldier to ever have done so in the European country.

    Shepherd claims that American forces have done “anything that anyone can possibly imagine in terms of war crimes committed in world history,” telling RT in 2011 that they were “continuing to do this on a daily basis.”

    “The soldiers were being attacked, but they didn’t know from where, so they just shot randomly in different directions,” Shepherd said, recalling his Iraq experience.

    Even being a helicopter mechanic in Iraq was troubling his conscience.

    “I am sitting here and thinking: What am I doing? I’m putting together a lethal machine that is just killing innocent people,” Shepherd was quoted as saying in 2009.



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