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Soldiers' Iraq testimony draws hundreds
Soldiers' Iraq testimony draws hundreds
by Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid - SGN A&E Writer

Northwest Winter Soldier
May 31
Town Hall


In spite of little mainstream media coverage, hundreds of people from various anti-war and other concerned groups showed up at Town Hall last Saturday, May 31, for the second Northwest Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Speak Out About The War event to hear testimony by soldiers who have served in both wars testify to what's really going on "over there." Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Viet Nam Veterans for Peace organized the second event, which was a follow-up to the original event, which took place near Washington, DC, in March.

The event presented a panel of male and female soldiers who testified to seeing other soldiers exhibit brutish behavior toward Iraqi citizens, and one soldier who'd recently returned from Iraq spoke of units who "went around not sure of what their mission is, or what they're supposed to be doing over there." He continued his testimony speaking of how units were often burnt out from doing so many missions and his testimony was added to with additional examples being given of units out of control and racist behavior of soldiers by Chanan Suarez Diaz.

"Actually I was pretty lucky, in that my unit was pretty lefty, with only one really rightwing guy," Diaz testified. A female soldier's mother spoke of her daughter's going AWOL as the way her daughter reacted to being afraid of being raped by other soldiers - a growing statistic in this war - and how she was in disagreement with the reasons for the war in Iraq.

"She was afraid for her life," the mother testified. There was also an anti-war march to the Federal Building after the program, which was accompanied by a larger-than-the-crowd group of Seattle police on bicycles and motorcycles, but the march was peaceful.

To find out more about future anti-war events go to Iraq Veterans Against the War, or check out www.divestfromthewar.org, an organization trying to get people interested in signing petitions to get companies with financial ties to both wars to divest monies, an initiative they hope to get on November's ballot.

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