Wednesday, 29 March 2023

Iraq vets share protest message


Darrell Anderson, Damon Murphy, Ethan Crowell and Michael Cuzzort Jr. represent Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), a group of 20-something vets who are traveling the country as part of IVAW Deployed to actively protest the U.S.'s military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barbara Christwitz, who helped organize the KPFZ fundraiser Dec. 16 at Clearlake City Hall, invited the group members to come and speak.

Anderson and his fellow vets are traveling the country in a converted school bus to share their experiences, visiting schools, parking at military recruiters and appearing at other venues. Their bus often breaks down, he said, and they've had to fix it and panhandle in order to continue on their journey.

In the time they've been together, the group also has spent time working to help rebuild New Orleans, Cuzzort's home.

To make Saturday's meeting, Anderson said they had to rent a car "because the bus wouldn't have made it."

On Friday, the day before KPFZ's event, the group met with Sen. Barbara Boxer's staff in her San Francisco office.

"Why aren't people supporting the GI resistence?" Anderson, dressed in desert camouflage, asked the audience of about 50 people. "That's the only way we're going to stop the war."

The anti-war movement has not been there for Iraq vets, said the young vet who went AWOL rather than return to Iraq. Now, he said he has a young cousin who will be going to Iraq herself in a few months.

Saying that talking won't stop the war, Anderson urged people into action. "You have to protest or it's not going to work."

While speaking with audience members following the event, Anderson agreed that Congress needs to cut off funding to the war, which he said doesn't go to help the troops, but instead funds large corporations with a stake in the war.

Anderson said he and his comrades have been welcomed as they've traveled the country. "The West Coast has been very receptive to the bus."

He's critical of media coverage of the war. "Every news story coming out of Iraq was a lie," he said, explaining that whenever civilians were killed, the media reported that it was actually insurgents who had died.

Anderson said he wants to see the soldiers brought home now, and the war ended.

"How many more soldiers have to die?" he asked. "How many more innocent people have to die?"

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