Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) will have hearings, reports and testimonials from the women and men who have fought in this war. All three days of hearings will be broadcast on several outlets including, Pacifica FM Radio, warcomeshome.org, and speak peace tv.
Pacifica’s schedule is:
Friday, 3/14 ….. 9AM to 7PM EDT. Saturday, 3/15 ….. 9AM to 7PM EDT
Sunday, 3/16 …… 10AM to 4PM EDT
More information and on-line streaming at kpfa or on war comes home, linked at kpfa.
The first Winter Soldier hearings were in early 1971 during the Vietnam war. It was a forum where combat troops could voice their disillusionment at having found themselves in a crazy and illegal war. Like today, Winter Soldier gave troops a safe environment to express their guilts, fears and anguish at participating in a war where atrocities were committed, where it felt like some wrongs had to be committed just to survive.
The name “Winter Soldier” comes from Thomas Paine 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.
When I first listened to the Vietnam Winter Soldiers, years ago, it felt as if my soul was ripped apart, but ripped apart in a necessary, righteous, imperative way. I knew I must understand what these wars do to our soldiers, to the “enemy” and to all of us. The hearings were a step toward healing. They were also a major factor in raising awareness about the conflict. Two other actions flowed from the Winter Soldier hearings: Dewey Canyon III, A Brief Incursion into the Country of Congress, and troops tesitfying at congressional hearings.
Dewey Canyon III was named after an illegal invasion into Laos called Operation Dewey Canyon (I & II) where American troops met the NVA (North Vietnam Army regulars) and suffered heavy casualties. Dewey Canyon III was a very powerful and effective action where troops camped for days on the capitol mall, and threw their medals back on the capitol steps. As one vet said, while throwing his medals back —
I’m not proud of these medals. I’m not proud of what I did to receive them. A whole year, we never took one prisoner alive. Just wasted them.
As for Winter Soldier I:
It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit – the emotions in the room, and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.”
In one of the most famous antiwar speeches of the era, Kerry concluded: “Someone has to die so that President Nixon won’t be – and these are his words – ‘the first president to lose a war’. We are asking Americans to think about that, because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?
Since it is imperative that we:
End the madness of War and Create the Sanity of Peace
It is also imperative to have as much information as possible and to do everything we can to reverse this course. Bush has called for a war without end. We must counter with a peace movement without end. In a preview of this Winter Soldier II, one vet expressed this perfectly, saying that when a war ends, the peace movement just picks up and goes home; we must not do that again. The peace movement must remain, ever vigilant, saying “No” again and again to any and every threat of permanent war.
Winter Soldier Begins Today, Live Coverage Begins Tommorrow
Posted on: March 13, 2008 – 5:27am by Aaron Glantz
Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan kicks off in Washington, DC today, with hundreds of veterans of the two wars descending on the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland to talk about what they saw, and did, in the name of America. Pacifica radio will be carrying the proceedings live beginning at 9am Eastern tomorrow morning. Audio will be streamed live from Warcomeshome.org and kpfa.org until 4pm EST on Sunday.