Major Antiwar Veterans Groups Plan Antiwar Civil Resistance at White House

The imperial wars rage on. U.S. drones rain missiles down on innocents in Pakistan; hundreds of children die daily in Afghanistan because of the war; contrary to what the President says, the occupation in Iraq continues. The devastation and misery caused by the U.S. invasion of Iraq has not even begun to be addressed. The United States, rather than bringing democracy and freedom to the Iraqi people, has destroyed their country—perhaps beyond repair.

On March 19, 2011, a broad coalition of U.S. military veterans consisting of members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, March Forward!, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace will gather at the White House in solidarity to demand peace. The veteran-led action will be supported by a large array of activist groups including ­ANSWER, Fellow­ship of Reconciliation, ­CODEPINK, Voters for Peace, United for Peace and ­Justice, World Can’t Wait, Peace Action, United National Antiwar Committee, and the War Resisters League.

Veterans will gather to support Bradley Manning, who should be venerated as a hero instead of being incarcerated under conditions amounting, literally (and legally) to torture. We call for an immediate end to the cruel, inhuman, and ­degrading treatment of PFC Bradley Manning during his military ­confinement.

Records and videos allegedly downloaded by Manning revealed horrendous war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, widespread torture by Iraqi authorities with full knowledge of the U.S. military, previously unknown estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed at U.S. military checkpoints, and the massive Iraqi civilian death toll caused by the U.S. invasion.

As veterans, we well understand and cherish the obligation of military personnel to refuse illegal orders and beyond that to prevent and expose war crimes. We know there is no excuse for following, either actively or passively, illegal orders.

We understand the need for justice. Our demand is clear, straightforward, and undeniable. Bring to justice those who committed war crimes, not those who report them—who heroically refuse to be a part of state-inspired mayhem and murder.
Veterans and others will gather en masse at the White House as we did on December 16, 2010, and again refuse to move. We have three clear demands for the President. End these wars and occupations. Expose the Lies. Free Bradley ­Manning.

“The speeches were over. There was a mournful harmonica rendition of taps. The 500 protesters fell silent. One hundred and thirty-one men and women, many of them military veterans wearing old fatigues, formed a single, silent line. Under a heavy snowfall and to the slow beat of a drum, they walked to the White House fence. They stood there until they were arrested.”—Chris Hedges

“We have become a killer nation and our economy is addicted to endless war spending. The ­Congress and the White House have been taken over by the corporate oligarchy and they have drowned ­democracy.”—Bruce Gagnon

America’s corporate rulers understand that their power depends upon a subdued, sedated and ­manipulated public—a public fed lies and fantasies that can, when needed, be manipulated by fear or coercion. But as the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt show us, the people can triumph over entrenched power, lies, fear, and coercion.
Forty-four years ago at Riverside Church in New York City Martin Luther King said, “Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.”
On March 19—the anniversary of the brutal invasion of Iraq, where over a million Iraqis and almost 5,000 U.S. soldiers died with thousands more grievously injured—as the occupation of Iraq and the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan continue unabated, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, March Forward! and Veterans For Peace will bring the largest ever veteran-led nonviolent public civil resistance to the White House.
Our resistance will grow in numbers and strength; and like a hungry lion, our resistance will not abate, will not cease, until our appetite for peace is ­sated.

Download a two-sided flyer with this statement: Color or Black & White

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3 Responses to Major Antiwar Veterans Groups Plan Antiwar Civil Resistance at White House

  1. I can’t be there to support you in this but, know this my heart encompasses everyperson there with the faith of a mustard seed i shall be there

  2. Markin says:

    Why I Will Be Standing In Solidarity With Private Bradley Manning At Quantico, Virginia On Sunday March 20th At 2:00 PM- A Personal Note From An Ex-Soldier Political Prisoner

    Markin comment:

    Of course I will be standing at the front gate to the Quantico Marine Base on March 20th because I stand in solidarity with the actions of Private Bradley Manning in bringing to light, just a little light, some of the nefarious doings of this government, Bush-like or Obamian. If he did such acts. I sleep just a shade bit easier these days knowing that Private Manning (or someone) exposed what we all knew, or should have knew- the Iraq war and the Afghan war justification rested on a house of card. American imperialism’s house of cards, but cards nevertheless.

    Of course I will be standing at the front gate to the Quantico Marine Base on March 20th because I am outraged by the treatment of Private Manning meted to a presumably innocent man by a government who alleges itself to be some “beacon” of the civilized world. The military has gotten more devious although not smarted since I was soldier in their crosshairs over forty years ago. Allegedly Private Manning might become so distraught over his alleged actions that he requires extraordinary protections. He is assumed, in the Catch-22 logic of the military, to be something of a suicide risk on the basis of bringing some fresh air to the nefarious doings of the international imperialist order. Be serious. I, however, noticed no ‘spike” in suicide rates among the world’s diplomatic community once they were exposed, a place where such activities might have been expected once it was observed in public that most of these persons could barely tie their own shoes.

    Now the two reasons above are more than sufficient reasons for my standing at the front gate to the Quantico Marine Base on March 20th although they, in themselves, are only the appropriate reasons that any progressive thinking person would need to show up and shout to the high heavens for Private Manning’s freedom. I have an addition reason though, a very pressing personal reason. As mentioned above I too was in the military’s crosshairs as a soldier during the height of the Vietnam War. I will not go into the details of that episode, this after all is about soldier Manning, other than that I spent my own time in an Army stockade for, let’s put it this way, working on the principle of “what if they gave a war and nobody came.” Forty years later I am still working off that principle, and gladly. But here is the real point. During that time I had outside support, outside civilian support, that rallied on several occasions outside the military base where I was confined. Believe me that knowledge helped me through the tough days inside. So on March 20th I am just, as I have been able to on too few other occasions over years, paying my dues for that long ago support. You, brother, are true winter soldier.

    Private Manning I hope that you will hear us, or hear about our rally in your defense. Better yet, everybody who read this join us and make sure that he can hear us loud and clear. And let us shout to those high heavens mentioned above-Free Private Bradley Manning Now!

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