Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Winter Soldier Is Coming!

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
- Thomas Paine, from The Crisis, December 23rd, 1776

With those words Thomas Paine rallied those soldiers in the revolutionary army who were ready to go home at the end of their enlistments in the winter of '76 just as things were getting tough. But it was the "winter soldiers" who carried the day and won the glorious triumph of our independence from Great Britain. Vietnam Veterans Against the War revived this tradition with their Winter Soldier in January and February of 1971.

Now, IVAW will carry on that tradition of winter soldiering with our own event, "Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan." We are planning to host our Winter Soldier in DC right before the 5th anniversary of the invasion (March 19th) on the weekend of March 15th and 16th.

I will be testifying to the abuse of detainees and having participated in the use of sleep deprivation and other inhumane treatment as well as the desecration of Iraqi bodies. These are not things that I like to talk about and involve various memories that were repressed at different times. I recently discussed handling of detainees and my role in that before an Amnesty International group in Connecticut of which my cousin is a member. It was awkward, but powerful according to everyone in the audience I spoke to.

Below is an email written by a friend of mine who is having a much more active role than myself in the planning of Winter Soldier, and I will let his words speak for themselves:

Dear Friends,

As you may or may not know, Iraq Veterans Against the War is currently organizing an exciting campaign called Winter Soldier: Iraq andAfghanistan. This March, over one hundred members of IVAW will gather in Washington DC to testify to the war crimes that they observed or participated in while deployed overseas. The goal of this testimony is to condemn military policies and challenge the liberation narrative being fed to the American public, not to implicate individual soldiers.

Personally, I will be testifying to the illegal use of Afghan corpses for medical "practice," which I witnessed while serving as a medic in Afghanistan.

Please take a moment to visit the Winter Soldier website and be among the first to sign our statement of support:http://www.ivaw.org/wintersoldier Once you've signed the statement, please forward this e-mail on to others.

If you have any questions about other ways that you can support this historic campaign, please do not hesitate to contact me.


- Perry

Perry O'Brien
Testimonial Team Leader
Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan