Winter Soldierizing

The following comes from Jack Dresser, Ph.D., Behavioral Scientist, Co-founder, Lane County Veterans for Peace: Capt., US Army (psychologist, Vietnam era)

Squadron 13 ; Veterans Against Torture via  G.I. Special-Military Project, Volume: 6B Issue: 16 Ft. Dix, you can read it in Word or in PDF for the rest of the News Letter.


In the winter of 1777-78, after suffering three terrible defeats by the much larger British force and marching hundreds of miles, the 11,000-man Continental Army retreated to a winter headquarters at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Food was in desperately short supply, 2,000 men were without shoes, and many were without blankets. Typhoid fever, dysentery, malnutrition and exposure claimed some 2,500 lives that winter.

American Patriot morale had declined severely and whole militia companies had deserted to return home. Those that remained to weather the arduous winter formed powerful bonds that led them to eventually prevail in our war for independence.

Of these men and the 700 women who fed, nursed and warmed them through that winter, political activist and revolutionary thinker Thomas Paine wrote, “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of all men and women.”

Those that endured have come to be called the “winter soldiers.”

As veterans, we once swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” We do not foreswear that oath upon removing the uniform.

Two Vietnam Veterans visit the My Lai Memorial, Vietnam.

Upon that basis in 1971, following prosecution of Lt. Calley for the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, over 150 honorably discharged, many very highly decorated members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War {VVAW} gathered in Detroit to share their stories. Remaining faithful to their oath beyond their obligated service and harkening back to Paine’s words, they named this the “Winter Soldier Investigation.”

Atrocities like My Lai had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions.

The members of VVAW testified at that time on the systematic brutality and war crimes they had witnessed and inflicted upon the people of Vietnam, stating that unspeakable atrocities such as “free fire zones” were in fact US government policy, violating the Geneva Conventions and other international treaties which are defined by Article VI of the Constitution as “the supreme law of the land.”

Asked by Chairman William Fulbright to present their findings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lt. John Kerry delivered ringing testimony on behalf of the group. He explained, “We who have come here to Washington have come here because we feel we have to be winter soldiers now. We could come back to this country, we could be quiet, we could hold our silence, we could not tell what went on in Vietnam, but we feel because of what threatens this country, not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out.”

Kerry concluded his testimony, “We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us. But all that they have done and all that they can do by this denial is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission – to search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war, to pacify our own hearts, to conquer the hate and fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more… And so when thirty years from now our brothers go down the street without a leg, without an arm, or a face, and small boys ask why, we will be able to say ‘Vietnam’ and not mean a desert, not a filthy obscene memory, but mean instead where America finally turned and where soldiers like us helped it in the turning.”

But thirty years have passed and America has failed to turn.

Thirty-two years later, America launched another equally brutal, equally mindless, equally unjustified attack on the nation of Iraq, again in violation of international treaty laws – the UN and Nuremberg Charters – that prohibit wars of aggression, and once more violating Article VI, the “Supremacy Clause,” of our Constitution. So once again winter soldiers are needed.

Thankfully, a current generation of outraged veterans is arising and a Winter Soldier II investigation is scheduled for March 13-16 in Washington, DC, where members of Iraq Veterans Against the War {IVAW} will replicate the model of their VVAW predecessors. All other peace organizations nationwide have been asked to suspend public events during that time so that media attention can be focused on this testimony. Information about the event may be found on the group’s Web site.

“Over 30 years later,” IVAW states, “we find ourselves faced with a new war, but the lies are the same. Once again, troops are sinking into an increasingly bloody occupation. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming ‘a few bad apples’ instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.”

IVAW is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand.

Our blue-and-white Veterans for Peace bus, “Squadron13 Deployed,” will be there – our gas budget willing – following a 3,400 mile coast-to-coast awareness raising tour taking the southern route around the Rockies.

We will film and post on YouTube as we go and as we witness.

On the 22nd ‘War Comes Home’ posted a DKOS diary on Information on Live Streaming Audio Feed to ‘Winter Soldier II’ on KPFA with feed available at the War Comes Home website as well.

More is now up at the Iraq Veterans Against The War-Winter Soldier website:

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan will feature testimony from U.S. veterans who served in those occupations, giving an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground.

The four-day event will bring together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan – and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, there will be panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans’ health benefits and support.

When: Thursday March 13 to Sunday March 16

For those interested in watching or organizing around the proceedings at Winter Soldier, there will be a number of ways to watch and listen to the event.

**Live television broadcast via satellite tv, accessible through Dish Network as well as public access stations that choose to carry our broadcast – Friday and Saturday only

**Live video stream on the web – Thursday through Sunday { no site url given, as yet, on this video stream }

**Live radio broadcast via KPFA in Berkley California and other Pacifica member stations – Friday through Sunday

**Live audio stream via KPFA’s website – Friday through Sunday

Please return to the IVAW website for specific details in the coming weeks.

You can find out more at the IVAW – Winter Soldier – Site, on the left you will find links to the needed information, as well as some embedded links in page text.

Winter Soldier I site page.

In February 1971, one month after the revelations of the My Lai massacre, an astonishing public inquiry into war crimes committed by American forces in Vietnam was held at a Howard Johnson motel in Detroit. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War organized this event called the Winter Soldier Investigation. More than 125 veterans spoke of atrocities they had witnessed and committed.

With Video Trailer and much more.

In the leadup to the present Winter Soldier we get words from one who participated in the one of the past.

Joe Bangert, Smedley Butler VFP, Star of  “Winter Soldier” and “Sir! No Sir!” speaks at the Moonakis Cafe, Falmouth, Mass- 2/9/08- film by Paul Rifkin and David Souza:

Joe Bangert, a Vietnam Vet, of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace, who gave testimony at the 1971 Winter Soldier Hearings, lays the groundwork for Winter Soldier 2.


Visit  IVAW-Iraq Veterans Against The War and Support These Brave Soldiers who have Served for You!

Nixon, and the government agencies under his control, tried to stop and slander the Soldiers of ‘Winter Soldier I’ and that continues today by his loyalist and those still bent on the twisted ideologies, from the very top to the tv and radio talking heads to the print media and today to the internet.

Who will be the first to Attack the Soldiers of ‘Winter Soldier II’, which ‘chickhawk’ will try to Slander their Service and their Testimony on the Realities of War, take your pick, plenty to choose from!!

By Dennis Serdel, Vietnam 1967-68 (one tour) Light Infantry, Americal Div. 11th Brigade, purple heart, Veterans For Peace 50 Michigan, Vietnam Veterans Against The War, United Auto Workers GM Retiree, in Perry, Michigan


Bridging The Gap

There is a broken bridge that they call America

between the people and their government.

Stressed out cracked TV’s, broken fractured newspapers

with jagged concrete facts that they call Iraq.

There’s a broken bridge between our Soldiers

and what they were told they were fighting for.

There is a broken bridge across the Euphrates river

like a broken bridge across the Mississippi too.

Rivers of darkness and light that flow

a lightning bolt currents dark and dangerous,

pieces of humans lay at the bottom and who is responsible,

who does not care at all as the rain and sand

fall like teardrops trying to see through the murky waters,

trying to find a way out, trying to stop the bleeding,

trying to kill the cause and Americans

stand and watch the horror of civilization

pounded by combat boots, they want to stop it

but they doubt it like by voting the war away.

Captain Amerika still acting like superman,

the Statue of Liberty is cracking like the economy,

who cares about a war debt, put it on a Chinese credit card,

green back dollars going down and down drowning

another bridge falling into the water.

To the energy poor depression crashed civilians

of a war wreck they once called America,

the Answer is within our Soldiers

when they come back from another tour.

The Answer is within Americans

when they stand behind the Soldiers

when they refuse to deploy on a no way next tour.

VVAW Dec 26th '70

Once again Country living in Distress!

” Every war, when viewed from the undistorted perspective of life’s sanctity, is a “civil war” waged by humanity against itself.”

Daisaku Ikeda


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    • jimstaro on February 24, 2008 at 14:23

    IVAW Bus Fire Benefit: Fighting Fire With Fire!

    Saturday March 22nd

    Featuring: Adam Kokesh, IVAW DC and Trey Kindlinger, IVAW Ft. Meade

    With Performances by: Head-Roc, Ryan Harvey, S.O.N., and Militant Advocates (members of the Baltimore Algebra Project)

    2640 St. Paul st., Baltimore, MD


    Listen to Audio Promo.

    I have a couple of posts about the IVAW bus fire, this will give you the most recent with a link there to the first.

    • kj on February 24, 2008 at 15:56

    NEW YORK (Billboard) – Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Peal Jam have contributed tunes to the anti-war soundtrack for a documentary about a U.S. soldier paralyzed in Iraq.

    The 30-song, two-disc album “Body of War: Songs That Inspired an Iraq War Veteran” will be released March 18 via Warner Music’s Sire Records label. All proceeds from the sale of the album will benefit Iraq Veterans Against the War.

    “Body of War” focuses on Tomas Young, an Army soldier paralyzed upon arriving in Iraq. It will open on March 13 in Austin, Texas, and expand nationally in subsequent months. Talk show veteran Phil Donahue directed the film with Elaine Spiro.

    • jimstaro on February 24, 2008 at 17:15

    • jimstaro on February 24, 2008 at 19:42

    This Sunday’s New York Times Regional Section has an article about Soldier-Poets of Post Traumatic Press. Walt Nygard is featured at The Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck, NJ. Any vets wishing to submit for the ‘Post Traumatic Press 2008’ should contact editor Dayl Wise.

    Vet Poets Wanted For 2008

    Again contact Editor: Dayl Wise – 1st CAV RVN

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