Wednesday, March 4, 2009

IVAW Austin Pulls Off a Great Winter Soldier

Allow me to start by saying congratulations to the Austin Chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War for pulling off an amazing local Winter Soldier event last weekend. Thanks to everyone who helped me out along the way to get there, to our Code Pink allies who helped with housing, to all of the allies who helped make this event possible, to Doug Zachary for hosting, and to the Austin Chapter for inviting me to participate. I posted some photos from the event on facebook here.

One of the highlights of the day was the much anticipated testimony from Brandon Neely about his time as a prison guard at Guantanamo. The actual testimony has not been posted yet, but after he spoke to the AP, two of MSNBC's sillier talking heads picked up on the story. The first video is of Keith Olbermann's segment which sets up the second video of his interview "twenty minutes later" with Rachel Maddow. His testimony is like pulling the sheet off of the elephant in the room that we had all been feeling around and thought was an elephant, but weren't quite sure. But as with 99% of the times that we suspect the government of wrongdoing of one kind or another, despite the denials by politicians of what is under the sheet, the elephant was right there all along. And yes, I mean that the reality of Guantanamo is as bad as we all suspected.

Although all of the testimony was well-presented and a welcome addition to the growing body of evidence condemning the Global War O(f) Terror, there was one other standout that was particularly insightful. Ronn Cantu, president of the Fort Hood Chapter until he recently got himself and his four top organizers honorably discharged early, testified about how an Iraqi becomes a detainee. His thorough explanation of the process will make it very clear how exactly we are making enemies fast than we can kill them.

Here's a video with some shots of the march and some clips of speeches at the rally, including mine.

The next day we went to the grand opening of the Under the Hood Cafe. Under the Hood is carrying on the tradition of the Oleo Strut by providing a place for vets and active duty guys to have a true free speech zone where they are welcome to question authority, hang out, shoot the shit, and get help with legal or personal issues they might be facing as a consequence of their service. I posted another album from Under the Hood on facebook here.

And one more parting shot for all you Obama voters out there . . .

I couldn't resist . . .

Get it yet?