This week many of us learned of the new Ari Fleisher propaganda campaign which uses images of veterans and 9/11 to try to sell – once again – the occupation of Iraq. And we’ve been swamped with the oh so serious people – and some of our candidates – coming up with all sorts of “serious” ideas which are also simply more attempts to sell us on continuing the war and occupation.
But other voices – voices of genuine experience – have mostly not been invited to these policy debates. And those are the voices of Iraq veterans – men and women who have been there and who have a lot to say. One important set of voices were raised in the OpEd by a group of serving soldiers – another is raised by the members of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Some of us have cheered their First Casualty actions – “the first casualty of war is truth” which reenacted in the streets of major US cities various aspects of life in combat in Iraq.
John Stauber of the Center for Media and Democracy (home of such great resources as Congresspedia and Sourcewatch) helped to bring together members of IVAW during the YearlyKos convention (though unfortunately YKOS did not include this gathering on their schedule) with members of the blog community. As Garrett Reppenhagen, IVAW National Chair, notes, bloggers cannot go to Iraq but we can meet those who have been there.
This week, a series of YouTubes from that gathering – h/t to filmaker Chris Thomas who pulled these together- have been released. The introduction is up top – the rest can be viewed here. These videos address “the myth of reenlistment,” the importance of the Geneva Accords, the Surge, blogging, the corporate media and impeachment.
Stauber invites us to note the contrast between “a slick pro-war front group exploiting Iraq veterans to pour gasoline on the fire in Iraq, and a grassroots group of Iraq veterans leading the battle at home to end Bush’s war of occupation”
I’d like to invite you to watch all the IVAW videos – and then to offer these soldiers your support. There are chapters around the country of these “American soldiers working for peace.” They are launching a campaign to counter the lies of the military’s increasingly desperate recruiting efforts and have just voted to support soldiers who resist participating in the occupation. These are the real experts – let’s make sure they get heard.
(ps – Jerry McNerney (D-CA11) will be joining us tonight at 9PM ET/ 6PM PT to discuss his recent statements on Iraq. There will be more on this later today)