"I joined the National Guard.. didn't know it was going to be the International Guard."
Next week, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and occupations will come together in Washington, D.C. to tell the world about their experiences.
Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan will feature testimony March 13-16 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.
It is not an official, government-sponsored hearing. Rather, like the 1971 hearings sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, these hearings are being organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War.
IVAW held a fundraiser in Milwaukee recently to help cover expenses of vets making the trip to DC, and this 10-minute video resulted. It's a good preview of Winter Soldier, featuring local vets,the Chicago veteran who thought of holding next week's hearings, and some footage from Iraq.
It ends with a powerful statement by Barry Romo, national director of Vietnam Veterans Against the War:
"What is great is that veterans are standing up again, and they know what's gonna happen to them … They saw what happened to [John] Kerry … There is something in terms of your souls; you are setting yourselves free from this culture of death which says you are supposed to keep your mouths shut and allow another generation to be sold down the river … You have seen what can happen from speaking truth to power and you are not afraid …
Audio and video of the hearings will be available online. Public viewing is being sponsored by veterans and peace groups in many communities.