Letter: More materials on line providing the anti-war perspective about the Wars

March 23, 2008


As we “celebrate” the 5th anniversary of W’s war, there are two things I want to draw your attention to if I may. Above: Chicago alderman Rick Munoz (above, holding banner saying "Stop the War") helps lead that massive anti-war march in Chicago on October 27, 2007. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.

1) On March 13-16, 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) conducted roughly three full days of public hearings about the war at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, MD (a suburb of Washington, DC). These were personal accounts of what individual soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen/women had done or had witnessed personally, overwhelmingly — but not totally — in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were also reports about the institutionalized sexism of the military, dehumanization of Iraqis and of US troops (by the US military itself as part of getting US troops “prepared” to kill and destroy upon command), contractors in Iraq, the impact of the war upon families of veterans after returning home, and treatment by the VA of veterans upon returning home.

The hearings were called “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan,” and the name chosen both in relation to Thomas Paine’s words in 1776, and the 1971 Winter Soldier hearings that were held in Detroit by Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The audio-taped versions of the hearings are available at , and video-taped versions are in the process of being placed on , the web site of Iraq Veterans Against the War: some of the video-taped sessions are already up, but at the last time I checked, they did not have the complete yet up yet.

These are the first honest reports of the war that have been provided to the American people. If you support the troops, I suggest it important that you listen to them, and especially when they speak publicly about how they carried out the war that our government initiated.

Please watch/listen to them, and then tell everybody you know about them. These reports have been reported around the world, but not by major US newspapers such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal. There was a story in the Washington Post, but rather than being in the “national” news section, I was in the “Metro” section. I wonder why they don’t want Americans to know what our troops are doing in the Middle East...? I think Americans need to know: please encourage everyone you know to watch them, to make up their minds first-hand about what our veterans are saying, and not rely on the news media.

There is a growing amount of material on the web about these Hearings — google “Winter Soldier” — and I know Michael Moore, for one, has posted a great deal of material about the hearings, the war, the protests on his web site ( ).

2) There is a new video on the web that is powerful and very good. It’s called “Leading to War” and is at . This is a 72 minute film that, until the very end, does nothing but show clips of the Bush Administration’s conscious campaign to invade Iraq. This video can be streamed for free over the internet, so you can download to your computer and/or watch over the internet, or you can purchase for $10. There are no “voice overs” or anything other than Bush Administration officials, either speaking in front of an audience or responding to news reporters’ questions. They tell at the very end what we now know, but until the end, there is no editorial commentary, etc. On the web site, there is extensive information, analysis, clips, etc., about different statements about the war. While I have not looked at everything, I have looked at a number of things, and everything I’ve seen is clear and well- referenced. They even provide transcripts of news conferences so you can check to see if the clips were taken out of context.

These materials — the “Winter Soldier” panels and “Leading to War”— are powerful materials for sharing and discussing. They are appropriate for high school classroom discussions, as well as for college. (“Winter Soldier” panelists were extremely well disciplined and professional, and there is almost no swearing in any of the testimony: some gruesome pictures, but almost no swearing.)

I highly recommend these items, and ask you forward this message throughout your networks, and ask that each recipient forward widely as well. We’ve got to stop this war.

Wage Peace!

Kim Scipes, Chicago

Former Sergeant, USMC, 1969-73

Editor's Note: The film "Sir No Sir!" about the Vietnam era anti war movement within the military is also a powerful tool for helping students understand the complexity of the war and the manner in which history has been distorted for the current generation. Google "Sir No Sir!"

The letter above was first published in the April 2008 print edition of Substance.


Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

4 + 4 =