In March of this year, a courageous group of veterans brought the war home, at a historic event held in Silver Spring, Md., inspired by Vietnam veterans a generation before. "Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan" convened more than 200 soldiers who have served in the so-called "War on Terror;" like their fellow soldiers before them, who shared stories that laid bare the nightmare of Vietnam, these veterans bore witness to the crimes that have been committed in Americans' names during the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. The hearings lasted four days; in their testimony, soldiers described how the discarding of the military's rules of engagement and its systematic dehumanization of Iraqi and Afghan civilians has led to horrible acts of violence against innocent men, women and children. "These are not isolated incidents," was a common refrain, even as the episodes they described seemed exceptionally brutal. For many of the veterans, it was the first time they had told their stories.
Now, the searing testimony has been compiled in an important new book:
Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupation, edited by Aaron Glantz and published by Haymarket Books. I strongly encourage you to buy the book, preferably though the Web site of Iraq Veterans Against the War, which organized the Winter Soldier hearings and continues to hold similar events in cities across the country. All proceeds of books purchased through IVAW will go to support its crucial work.
The following excerpt comes from Michael Prysner, a corporal in the Army Reserve who came home in February 2004.
-- Liliana Segura, Editor, War on Iraq Special Coverage