This weekend I have been listening to Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan on KPFA. Winter Soldier is not widely covered in the mainline media. This conference of soldiers who experienced the trauma of war in the Middle East is patterned after the first Winter Soldiers report that took place in 1971. In the first Winter Soldier conference, American veterans of the war in Vietnam told their stories of incidents in war that had deeply scarred them. These were stories of combat, dehumanization, and atrocities that they had been involved in or witnessed while in country. That Winters Soldier report fueled the protest in this country that helped bring the war in Vietnam to a close.
In the present Winter Soldier report, held on the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, soldiers again speak of the atrocious situation of war. They again speak of combat, dehumanization and the pressures of war that brought them to the point where the harassment, wounding, maiming, and killing of civilians has become common place. These soldiers’ stories are heart wrenching. I encourage others to listen Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan and consider the situations in these countries where our soldiers, under the stresses of combat, multiply the devastation of war. KPFA will continue to make these soldiers’ stories available on its website: kpfa.org.