Rejecting the Accolades of Unjust War:
Iraq, Afghan War Vets Throw Back Medals, March with Thousands Against U.S.-NATO Wars
by Larry Everest
I'm going to toss this medal today for the 33,000 civilians who have died in Afghanistan that won't have a monument built for them.
Brock McIntosh, Army National Guard, deployed to Afghanistan
I'm giving back my medals for the children of Iraq and Afghanistan. May they be able to forgive us for what we've done to them.
Steve Acheson, U.S. Army Iraq war vet
Chicago. On May 20, more than 40 vets--men and women, from different branches of the military--made a dramatic statement to the world.
Veterans of America's so-called "war on terror" courageously tore off their medals and denounced what they represent: "Global War on Terror Service Medals," "Operation Iraqi Freedom Medals," "National Defense Medals," "Good Conduct Medals," "Expeditionary Medals." They spoke from the heart about why they were rejecting these "cheap tokens," given to them, as one vet put it, "in an attempt to fill the void where our conscience used to be," and repudiating what they had done to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. They talked of the children. The women. The innocent. The destruction. The pain. The sorrow. The hurt. The lies. In a message that now must be spread, these vets hurled their medals toward where the leaders of NATO, the U.S.-led military alliance, were meeting and plotting their next bloody moves.
This action, organized by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), culminated a spirited march by more than 5,000 people--Occupiers, antiwar activists, students, and many others--from all over the country who had come to Chicago to protest NATO's May 20-21 summit, its ongoing war in Afghanistan, and its military aggression across the globe. Joining the vets in leading the march and rally, under the theme "Honor the Dead, Heal the Wounded, Stop the Wars," were women from Afghans for Peace--representing the Afghan people, the victims of the U.S.-NATO invasion and occupation.