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The other USA - Gainsville CMC

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Friday April 11, 2008 16:27author by Andrew Report this post to the editors

An interview with James Schmidt of the Civic Media Center infoshop in Gainsville, central Florida. Interview covers student town, recession, CMC origins, IWW, homelessness, organic farms and farmwork and the elections
This is hitched to a car with a huge anti war sign on the roof
This is hitched to a car with a huge anti war sign on the roof

While doing the talk in Gainsville I attended the 'Winter Soldier' hearing in the town where 6 vets of the Iraq war spoke out against the war and what the US is doing to Iraq. The testimony included first hand accounts of 'mutiny' and plans to frag an officer and sabotage vehicles. I'll post more details as a comment when I have some time.

Related Link:

Local radical paper
Local radical paper

Frat boys for the war
Frat boys for the war

Iraq vets against the war
Iraq vets against the war

Interview with James of the CMC, about 26 mintues
audio Interview with James of the CMC, about 26 mintues 2.98 Mb

author by Andrewpublication date Fri Apr 11, 2008 17:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While in Gainsvillle I attended a local 'Winter Soldier' hearing. A couple of weeks back the first of these was held in Washington DC when 50 ex soldiers of the Iraq was testifyed against the war. You can view a lot of the testimony on youtube by searching for Winter Soldier including that of some of those mentioned below.

Six US military who had served in Iraq were there to testify to a crowd of maybe 400 in opposition to the war. Five of them were men, one a women and they were drawn from the Marines, Navy (who had been on the ground in Fallujah 2), Armour, Infantry and supply. Four were members of Vets against the War which recruited 250 vets in the previous month.

The testimony they gave was varied ranging from the way the experience had destroyed their lives (there have been 10,000 vet suicides and at least two of the six speakers seemed a little suicidal to then point where during the Q&A one audience member appealed to them to talk to people who could help). Others talked of the horrors of the war, of dead bodies floating in sewage during Fallujah 2 and being used for target practise to sight in weapons. Of how they were told they were obeying the Geneva conventions because it was left to their Iraqi interpretors to torture captives which they looked on. Of the experience of contractors driving fleets of 3,000 dollar a week SUV's while they could not get the air conditioner needed to keep their warning computer running all day. How dogs and livestock were used as target practice and of how a farmed irrigating his field one night because that was when the electricity was available was delibretely shot even it was known that was what he was doing.

Some of the most interesting testimony was from the guy who had served in the armored division as it was the first time I heard a first hand account of the sort of demoralisation that crippled the US army in Vietnam. Apart from individual resistance in the form of drug taking (more self medication than anything else) he revealed that his crew would pretend to go out on mission but really sit in the bases Burger King and radio in reports as they supposidely passed way points. This would be considered mutiny. Of how they had several serious discussion of fragging one particularly hostile officer and that the only reason nothing had happened was that in the end he didn't manage to get anyone killed. Of how when there was a chance they would be sent back to Iraq for another tour they planned to sabotage their vehicles.

Each of the six had different views on the war, some had broken much further with US policy than others. So while one worried about what would happen if they pulled straight out another in calling for immediate withdrawal compared the resistance to what would happen if an invading army occupied Florida. And called for not only an immediate pull out but for the US to pay repariations to the people of Iraq. Over the summer they hope to open the first 'GI coffeeshops' near military bases just as was done during the Vietnam way to make contact with those still trapped in the army.

The Winter Soldier hearing
The Winter Soldier hearing

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