Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the

In the spring of 2008, inspired by the Vietnam-era Winter Soldier hearings, Iraq Veterans Against the War gathered outside Washington, D.C., and testified to atrocities they personally committed or witnessed while deployed in the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. In this book are the powerful words, images, and documents of this historic event.

The collective testimony of the dozens of veterans present at the hearings showed that well-publicized cases of American brutality like the Abu Ghraib prison scandal are not isolated incidents perpetrated by “a few bad apples,” as many politicians and military leaders have claimed. As the testimony shows, such injustices are the logical outcome of U.S. foreign policy. Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan preserves and honors the participants’ courageous contributions in order to ensure that people around the world remember their stories and struggles.

Along with the moving testimonies of dozens of veterans and family members of fallen soldiers, Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan

Exposes the Department of Veterans Affairs’ systematic denial of mental health care and disability benefits to soldiers returning from conflict zones and the devastating results of such policy, including suicide rates among veterans that have risen to as high as eighteen per day; Uncovers the U.S. military’s continual disregard for the official Rules of Engagment in warfare, resulting in the targeting of schools, hospitals, mosques, and a general disregard for civilian life; Explains the culture of racism and dehumanization of the enemy permeating the military occupations; Shows the additional battle that women, gays, and lesbians within the ranks are forced to fight, in order to combat the severe discrimination and brutality directed at them during their service.

About the author

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) was founded by Iraq war veterans in July 2004 at the annual convention of Veterans for Peace (VFP) in Boston to give a voice to active duty service people and veterans who are against the war. Today, IVAW has over 1,200 members in 48 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada, and on military bases overseas.

Aaron Glantz is an independent journalist whose work has appeared in the Nation, The Progressive, San Francisco Chronicle, the American Prospect, and on Democracy Now!. He is author of How America Lost Iraq (Tarcher/Penguin) and the forthcoming The War Comes Home: Washington’s Battle Against America’s Veterans (University of California Press). Glantz reported extensively inside Iraq from 2003 to 2005 and has been covering veterans’ issues since his return to the United States.

Video

Much of the testimony from the original Winter Soldier hearings is available online. Here, Garret Reppenhagen addresses the dehumanization of Iraqis used to justify the occupation:

Reviews

“As we enter the sixth year of the war in Iraq, more time than the United States was involved in World War II, we should honor the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan—by listening to them.”
--Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!

“Vivid and detailed accounts, in the soldiers' own words…. a gut-wrenching, historic chronicle of what the U.S. military has done to Iraq, as well as its own soldiers.”
--Dahr Jamail, author, Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq

“Aaron Glantz rips apart the myths we tell ourselves about war.  He illustrates, in the painful detail, the dark psychological holes that those who have been through war's trauma endure and will always endure. He reminds us that the essence of war is not glory, heroism and honor but death.”
-- Chris Hedges, former New York Times foreign correspondent, author War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

"Aaron Glantz has brought the Iraq Occupation home like nothing else written or photographed during this massive catastrophe.

"Here is the war as it should be reported, seeing the pain, refusing to sanitize an unprovoked attack that has killed over one million people. All over America are victims who have returned from this conflict with hideous wounds -- wounds that turn the lives of the entire family upside down.

"And the American people are not seeing this. Until now.

"Winter Soldier, an enormously important project of Iraq Veterans Against the War, cuts this debacle to the bone, exposing details hard to come by and even harder to believe. This is must reading for patriots who have already begun the effort to insure that this never happens again."
--Phil Donahue