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The Irony and Absurdity of Occupation (Winter Soldier Day 2)

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***This article will not do the first full day of hearings in the Winter Soldier Investigation justice. It will, however, fill the void by informing the public of what happened. It will combat media blackout on the Winter Soldier Investigation hearings. This is only testimony from a few of the speakers on Day 2. Check for archives of today's testimony for more speakers and more biting testimony.***

Today, presumably, Americans went to work and they came home looking forward to a weekend doing what they do on the weekend. Work probably did not permit many Americans to tune in on their computers to the testimony of Iraq Veterans Against the War and others who support their efforts. Thankfully, I was able to tune in for a significant chunk of the hearings and will post bits and pieces that caught my attention.

I ask that others on OpEdNews treat this as an open thread and add comments on what they heard. Or, I ask that others write articles that talk about some of the testimony I missed so I can become informed of what was said.

As I tuned in to the hearings in the morning while I was on break during class, I heard a terrible story of suicide being told by two parents of the soldier that had died. They described his mental state with detail. Their faces were of anguish.

When they went to play a song to highlight their son’s last days, the music played without words. The malfunction---the technical difficulty---was tough to handle when considering that it seems ever since their son came home from war nothing has gone right.

At 2 pm ET, I tuned in to the testimony of IVAW members and supporters on corporate and military contractors and their pillaging and plundering of Iraq. The testimony was as unsettling as the stories of soldiers experiencing post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). If anything, this portion showed just how abysmal the media is because it uncovered some evidence that in a free democracy with a functioning Fourth Estate we Americans would have had knowledge prior to this investigation.

Luis Montalvan, an IVAW member, spoke of his connection to the American Enterprise Institute and how they had “contrived ‘the surge’”. He described how the root cause of instability in Iraq is corruption.

According to Montalvan, five hundred million taxpayer dollars given to Parsons for building, health, and education sectors only 3 of 11 construction projects have been completed. 141 primary health care centers to 186 million taxpayer dollars were not built. And they conveniently talk about how security conditions made it unfeasible to construct these contracts but that’s a lie.

This is one example he gave of the mammoth corruption in Iraq.

He ended by describing how he was privy to general’s and colonel’s resolution notes and took a look at notes from 29-Nov-05 between Deputy Commanding General Kevin Bergner, who was the general of Task Force Freedom which was in charge of Mosul and Northern Iraq in 2005, and Deputy Commanding General of CPAT, which is the civilian police.

“There’s no guidance on how to request, issue, and account for issued Iraqi police equipment. Currently there’s no regulation or standard operating procedure pertaining to the issue, receipt, storage of Iraqi police equipment. In addition, there is no guidance on the operation of the LDI warehouse over responsibilities of Task Force Freedom vis-à-vis LDI warehouse.”

LDI is Lee Dynamics International. The Task Force Freedom Iraqi Security Force drafted a basic standard operating procedure and made a recommendation that CPAT issued guidance on the operation of the LDI warehouse in order to enhance the corporate responsibility of the warehouse and that CPAT should also provide policy on command supply discipline.

LDI who was given billions of taxpayer dollars to procure, store, and distribute badly needed supplies to American soldiers to give to Iraqi police and other security officers was non-existent. There was no standard operating procedure. General Petraeus was in charge of CPAT and oversight of contracting operations. He was not held accountable and Congress and the American people have allowed this to go on unchecked.

Antonia Juhasz, a fellow with World Change International and a visiting scholar with the Institute of Policy Studies, expressed how she would bring the experiences of Iraqis into her testimony. She accurately labeled the U.S. invasion “an illegal act of war.”

It was unsupported by international law, U.S. law, the U.S. military code of conduct, and morality. In the execution of the war and the ongoing occupation, a clear pattern of war crimes and crimes against humanity have and are being committed. Soldiers, therefore, who refuse to fight, who stand up to the war, who speak out against the war are not only morally right but legally required to take such measures. They are upholding their obligation to reject illegal orders and to defend the Constitution of the United States.


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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for
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