Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to return their medals to protest war on terror at Chicago NATO summit this weekend

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30 Responses to “Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to return their medals to protest war on terror at Chicago NATO summit this weekend”

  1. royaltrux says:

    “We were awarded these medals for serving in the Global War on Terror, a war based on lies and failed polices. This endless war has killed hundreds of thousands, stripped the humanity of all involved, and drained our communities of trillions of dollars, diverting funds from schools, clinics, libraries, and other public goods.”

    I salute their courage and moral high ground.

    • ChicagoD says:

      I find this type of protest more ambiguous than you do. I have to give credit to people who enlisted, but then (apparently) came to understand what they were doing differently. On the other hand, a lot of the money they are talking about is for stuff that supported them and helped keep them as safe as possible over there. Draftees can say “I never should have been there.” Enlistees less so.

      In any case, I hope their protest goes off well and peacefully.

      • IronEdithKidd says:

        I disagree.  Many of our Iraq and Afghanistan vets joined in peace-time with no forseeable conflicts on the horizon.  Bush II instituted a stop-gap almost immediately after 9/11.  This order prevented thousands of service people from being discharged from regular duty and reserve duty on the schedule their contracts stated.  I’m sure this isn’t the case for all the enlisted protesting at the NATO summit, but I’d be pretty surprised if it wasn’t the case for none of them.

      • jacobian says:

         “Draftees can say “I never should have been there.” Enlistees less so.”

        What?  That makes no sense.  If something is both morally repugnant and serves no useful purpose to humanity and someone realises that’s the case, it doesn’t matter if the person was paid while doing it.  What matters is the acknowledgement that it was wrong.

      • Ambiguity says:

        Draftees can say “I never should have been there.” Enlistees less so.

        I disagree, pretty strongly.

        Merely enlisting in the military doesn’t create a moral compunction to support all of it’s actions, even if it does create a legal one to (in other words, you can’t just leave the military because you think it’s doing something wrong).

        “My country (army), right or wrong” is a big part of the problem, and I think these folks deserve kudos. In the political sphere flexibility is all too often written off as “waffling,” and this is sad. Having joined the military they had a big, emotional incentive to rationalize their participation, but they were able to take a higher moral path. Again: good for them!

      • digi_owl says:

        There has been some talk about how many of the enlistees are people from poor and/or minority backgrounds that found enlisting as the only other option besides joining a gang.

      • Itsumishi says:

        I’m also disagreeing with you.

        Firstly, these wars were popular when they started; people were angry about 9-11 and had very good reason to be so. Did that mean innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq should suffer? Of course not, but anger has a habit of getting misdirected; and the US government, the media and the general populous were for the most part all behind the wars. To an angry kid just finishing up school wondering what the hell to do with their life I can see how signing up would sound tempting. Then they get there and see the reality of the situation, the US government was lying, the media was buying and selling the lies and the general populous were wrong. The war was fucked; it was fucked for the soldiers serving there, it was fucked for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan that had their lives torn to shreds by invading forces, and its fucked how much it has drained the US economy, leaving the country in the worst economic depression its been in since the great depression (not just the fault of the wars obviously, but a big component). Learning is a big part of life, and by the looks of things, these soldiers have learnt a pretty hard lesson.

        Note, they’re not demanding just to spend less on the war, but instead to end the occupation completely. If you don’t have troops over there, you don’t need to spend trillions “keeping them safe”.

        Secondly, for a lot of people in the army there isn’t that much choice. The army is frequently a quick and relatively painless way to get out of poverty.

  2. SoItBegins says:

    “On this day, we will hold a nonviolent march to the site of the NATO summit where we will ceremoniously return our military service medals.”

    This is going to be good.

  3. JonS says:

    Bunch of commie hippies, all of them.

    • Jay Converse says:

      How many medals did you earn, Jon?

      • JonS says:

        Six, so far.

        • JonS says:

          Gah, I does hate disqust. It baffles me why BB use it. 1) because it’s a PITA to use, and 2) because it appears impossible to post without leaving digital spoor.

          anyway, the edit I haven’t been able to add was :

          … but more important than that, I forgot the [snark] tags. Their implied presence wasn’t obvious enough, and I apologise. For the record: good on these guys.

          • UncaScrooge says:

            I am disturbed that there are people who were unable to detect the snark in your original post. The last person that I ever met that could use the phrase “commie hippie” without detectable irony was my high school principal. And that was in the early 1980s.

            I am also disturbed that my original post stating the above was devoured by Disqust.

  4. Stonewalker says:

    This is beautiful.  Served as soldiers and are now continuing their commitment to justice and freedom.  Seriously, wonderful and heavy.

  5. Aaron Swain says:

    I’m sure they will be summarily pepper sprayed by the Chicago PD in “occupy” fashion. Though I do hold their symbolic gesture in the highest regard.

    • That_Anonymous_Coward says:

      I wonder how the media will attempt to spin this.
      With Occupy it was easy to just call them entitled brats who want it all from you.  With these Veterans they can’t do that without screwing themselves.  They might have to look at the actual issues being raised rather than trying character assassination.  Because I’m guessing that bashing a buncha veterans will negatively affect their bottom line.

      • Anon_Mahna says:

         I put money on being labled as traitors and/or something along the lines of ‘they’re just jaded for XYZ reason’

        • That_Anonymous_Coward says:

          That would be a hard sell…

        • That_Anonymous_Coward says:

           Many of them are from the “Greatest Generation” still, and will have a hard time parsing these valiant warriors now decried as something else.

          • Anon_Mahna says:

             The “Greatest Generation” part is exactly why I think they’d buy into it hook line & sinker, since  (roughly) their logic is soldier=true patriot, and a ‘true patriot’ would never side with the ‘unAmerican’ peace-nicks. The ones that watch FN oft are poor in the critical thinking and reasoning.  In full honesty though, I do hope that I’m dead wrong on this issue.

        • That_Anonymous_Coward says:

          We just need to hope that they will take offense to the idea of Soldiers who served in combat being insulted that way.

      • chgoliz says:

        Considering how much “concern” I’m getting from family and family friends who mainline Faux during all waking hours — I live on the south side of Chicago — they’ve been negatively spinning the civic disobedience groups for quite some time already in preparation for this latest event.  These heros will get lumped in with all the others.  We’ve had threads here about other soldiers who have been harmed and even killed by police forces despite doing nothing dangerous or illegal.  It’ll be more of the same.

    • That_Anonymous_Coward says:

      As a side thought…  they lock these men in rooms with teargas and more…
      Pretty sure the standard pepper spray won’t make them flinch, and that should scare the hell out of the CPD.

  6. I have more respect for the handful who recognized that the order to wage aggressive war on Iraq was an illegal order and refused to obey it, but contrition is better than no contrition.

    Of course, decades from now, if any of them run for office, chickenhawks their own age who cheerleaded for the war but didn’t serve will accuse them of being cowards who fraudulently obtained those medals. And future pro-war billionaires will fund those ads through a group run by other chickenhawks called Iraq War Veterans for Truth.

  7. Cowicide says:

    These guys are amazing.  I watched them make riot police cry (literally with tears) after a stand-off after the Rage Against The Machine/MC5 show during the Democratic National Convention in 2008.  They were at the lead of the march along with Rage members.  These are the soldiers that think for themselves like any other patriotic Americans should do.

  8. teapot says:

    Good on them. Any idea if this event will be live streamed anywhere? That’s a sight I’d like to see.

  9. Petzl says:

    Most soldiers voted for Bush II, twice.  Most soldiers still vote republican. When are most soldiers going to learn? Sure, if you’re a general or a SecDef, republicans are great for the war business.  But if you actually have to fight the war, a republican president is going to kill you.

    Gore, had he been in office in 2003, would have read a map correctly and never invaded Iraq.

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