“Winter Soldier” Goes ‘PrimeTime’

The PBS News Hour carried a report on the IVAW ‘Winter Soldier’ testimony in Congress tonight, 5-21-08

Witnesses to War Speak Out on Rules of Engagement

Reports of innocent civilian deaths in Iraq have been numerous, but barring a few instances caught on tape, they have yet to be recognized by the soldiers themselves. Some soldiers have begun to speak out, about the actions they have taken and the things they have seen.

You can Listen with this Link

KWAME HOLMAN: As the House debate continued last week over funding the Iraq war, leading anti-war Democrats convened nearby to hear from a group of veterans who say they witnessed and participated in widespread misconduct during their time in Iraq.

The stories came from a dozen or so former Marines and soldiers who left Iraq at least two years ago. They include accounts of unwarranted killings of Iraqi civilians and mistreatment of detainees that were met with indifference or encouragement by commanding officers.

Two of the men said the weight of such experiences led them to suicide attempts.

They have dubbed themselves “Winter Soldiers,” the same name used by Vietnam veterans who reported similar alleged abuses during that war.

They were welcomed by California’s Lynn Woolsey.

Or you can Visit this News Hour link to listen and read the rest of the transcript of the report.


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  1. KWAME HOLMAN: Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Gary Solis is an attorney and expert on the law of armed conflict. He teaches at West Point. Before watching the televised “Winter Soldier” meeting at our request, he was skeptical about their claims. Afterward, he changed his mind.

    LT. COL. GARY SOLIS: I was immediately impressed with the sincerity, the depth of feeling, the sense of wanting to right wrong.

    What they had to say jibes with reports I’ve received from lieutenants who returned to West Point where I taught. My former students come back and tell me the same thing.

    • kj on May 22, 2008 at 14:53
  2. The testimonies given by the IVAW veterans before the Progressive Caucus of Congress, as I have been reading, little by little, is totally riveting.

    Here is detail of how these U.S. soldiers were encouraged to kill ordinary Iraqi citizens:

    “I was ordered multiple times by commissioned officers and noncommissioned officers to shoot unarmed civilians if their presence made me feel uncomfortable,” Sgt. Jason Lemieux told a panel of lawmakers last Thursday in a packed public hearing on Capitol Hill. “These orders were given with the understanding that my immediate chain of command would protect our subordinates from legal repercussions.” Lemieux, a former Marine who was part of the invading force that entered Baghdad in March 2003, came to Washington, D.C., with Iraq Veterans Against the War, weeks after the fifth anniversary of President George Bush’s declaration of “Mission Accomplished” to tell Congress enough is enough. Invited by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., the veterans spoke firmly and eloquently before members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, telling stories that were just “the tip of the iceberg,” as Lemieux put it, but which nevertheless offered a frightening range of accounts: violent house raids, the killings of innocent people, “drop weapons” used to make dead civilians look like insurgents, racism in the ranks, and their own process of dehumanization as they became inured to the humanity of those who they were supposedly sent to “liberate.”

    The morning was infused with a sense of urgency. “Every day that the occupation continues, more men, women and children will be killed, maimed, or forced to flee their country as refugees,” said Kelly Dougherty, executive director of IVAW, in introductory remarks. “More veterans will return home with lifelong scars, emotional and physical, with little support to help them readjust.

    “Many,” she added, “will fall victim to suicide.” Indeed, of the nine veterans who testified that day, two said they had tried to kill themselves after returning home. . . .

    More and more we are learning and exposing the truths!!!!!

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