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Winter Soldier 2008: Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans Speak Out

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posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 07:43 PM
I have debated the location of this for a bit and because these Winter Soldiers testimonies are currently happening now, I figured this is the place.
Alright. In light of the recent thread that I started about the US soldiers shooting a 10 year old Iraqi girl, I decided to look a bit into the winter soldier 2008 testimonies. These soldiers are gathering for a four day event, as they did in 1971, to tell their stories of war crimes that they have been a part of while in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During the thread about the Iraqi girl, many military people shared their opinions as to how they felt about this girl being shot. The agreeing term, at least from intelligent posters, was that whether it was accidental or on purpose, it is a sad thing that this girl died. It is truly sad that anyone has to die over there, but that goes without saying.
My goal with this thread is to hopefully get the opinions of some military personnel on how they feel about these soldiers coming forward and sharing their stories. Some of the things they claim to have been a part of are beyond comprehension. I am curious to know whether people believe that these guys should not be saying anything, or if they agree that these crimes deserve to be heard and dealt with.

Here are excerpts from two articles about this event. There is some profanity in the articles so be aware when checking out the links.

Marine Jon Turner spoke of his first kill. He called the person "the fat man," and said he was an innocent. His commander celebrated the death. According to Turner, his commander would have given him or any other marine a 4 day leave pass, if his first kill had been by stabbing.
...., "We were ordered to guard a fuel station - and a bunch of people rushed to get fuel, and we jumped off the truck and charged at the Iraqis and we really beat the hell out of them with rifles, fists, feet, and so once they had fled, broken and bleeding, we mounted up our trucks and left."

Article 1

Clifton Hicks talked about free fire orders in city neighborhoods and the indiscriminate, often vengeful, targeting of cars and civilians, and about riding through the gates of their compound one night, aware that the humvee in front of his had run over a civilian.

Article 2

I guess my question is this. Are the actions that these soldiers had to take justifiable or are they just actions that are part of war? My biggest concern is that the commanding officers in these situations seem to be "getting off" by conducting this occupation like a competition between their men.
I know not all soldiers act irresponsibly. That is a given. And this thread is by no means intended to attack the military. It is however to attack the "so called war on terror" coined by or fearless leader GW.
To be honest I feel sorry that our soldiers have to be put into these situations in the first place. If our protectors weren't given false info in the first place, this would not be necessary. We have now reached a point where it may not be possible to bring these guys home anytime soon. This I believe was the intention from day one of this conflict. The atrocities that these soldiers speak of are not to be blamed on them but to be blamed on the current leaders of this great nation we call home.
I know that some will take the quick post of, you should be grateful that these guys are protecting you and allowing you to be on your computer. But, those who really care about our protectors know that they do not need to be fighting an unnecessary battle created by a man with his own agenda and not the best interests of our nation at heart.
Whether you side with the argument that war is war or that you feel these actions are inexcusable, the fact of the matter is that we need to know what our soldiers are being put through on a daily basis and the toll it takes on them both physically and emotionally.
Thanks for taking the time to read this thread and to keep our soldiers in your thoughts.
thank you to alternet for the two contributing articles in this thread.

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 10:53 PM
In truth, our protectors should be ourselves, ever vigilant in the fight to maintain freedom. Clearly that is a duty many leave to few in this country, and too many have been led to believe that the whole idea of needing to keep vigilant is archaic.

As for the stories that the individuals have to tell, let them flow forth. Without open information about our government, we cannot perform our vigilant duty. Without their stories, we will not know what our (non)elected officials are doing to us.

Excellent thought on the matter.

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 11:12 PM
Well, honestly, these types of things have been happening in war for thousands of years, the only difference is that now we are all "politically correct" and overly emotional about the loss of human life. WAR IS HELL. No way around that. There are many things that happen in the heat of battle that shouldn't happen, but they do regardless.

I do not condone killing innocent civilians by any means, however there are extenuating circumstances. For example...some of my friends were on a covert mission to capture/assassinate (last resort) a leading member of the Al Qaeda organization in Afghanistan. They went out in a four man recon team, inserted into the Hindu Kush mountains. Along the way their position was compromised by a goat herder and his grandson. Obviously (them being SEALs), there is a huge risk of letting them go, because they could very well tell someone where they are at and get themselves killed. They took a vote and two wanted to kill them, two wanted to let them go. The team leader (my good friend) decided to let them go, as he didn't want to face charges back in the states for war crimes. Needless to say that was a big mistake...

About 30 minutes later they were ambushed by a group of over 100 Taliban fighters. Imagine... 4 men vs. 100.

They fought to the death, taking out over 80 Taliban fighters single handedly (Hooyah!), however only one SEAL made it out alive.

Here are the names of the deceased...

Mike Murphy
Matt Axelson
Danny Dietz

RIP Brothers.

Marcus Luttrell was the only one to make it out alive, simply because the Taliban left him for dead. He took a couple of rounds to his body and an RPG concussion to the leg. Somehow he managed to hike it out to a local village where the tribal leaders made the decision to nurse him back to health and return him to the nearest U.S. military base. This tribe had been at war with the Taliban for a long time and stood up to them in defense of him, regardless of the threats they made to burn the village and kill all the people. They succeeded in getting him out to the nearest base within a few weeks.

Mike Murphy received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions on that mountainside, and all others involved received the Navy Cross for combat valor.

Ironically (and very sadly) they had called for backup while engaged with the enemy and a chopper loaded with Pararescuers and SEALs was deployed to their location. It was shot down by an RPG...... All aboard were killed......

This goes to show what everyone doesn't want to hear. If they would have just killed those civilians none of that would have ever happened and 16 men wouldn't have lost their lives...

Sometimes, it's just better to be safe than sorry...however, exercise judgment and consider the ramifications of your actions at all times. You will have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life... Imagine how Marcus feels...

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 11:19 PM
Right off the top of my head ( when I saw this post) as a "very active vet nam vet" is GGGeeeeSSSUSSSS KKKKK RRist!!

Get a grip!! The american GI Will always go the right way!! The USA has gave SO MUCH (as has the UK and others) we need to stand as a WALL !!

Those ass-clowns that want to bring us way!! We are the folks that know the right..damn if we'll let ass-clowns bring us down!!

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 11:24 PM
reply to post by StarChild

I don't mean to belittle your story here - it is heartwrenching indeed - but think if we were not lied to as a pretext for war. How many lives would have been spared then? Think if our leaders had not attacked us on our own soil. How many would be living now?

Yes, the guys on the ground have choices to make and consequences to deal with. And I applaud every honest and brave action. But the point is that they should not have to be there making those choices and dealing with those consequences in the first place.

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 11:26 PM
reply to post by RUFFREADY

I'm truly sorry but I couldn't quite tell which guy you were talking about.

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 11:32 PM
You have a point and I agree to a certain extent, however it frustrates me to see all of these people blaming our troops for their actions in a combat zone, while they are safe at home, sitting at Starbucks sipping their lattes... Go get some combat experience and live in the desert for a few years; then come talk to me about war. I might be a little more open to your opinions on this topic...

It is always the people who have no firsthand experience or knowledge of the subject who make the biggest fuss. Do you think we like this situation? Do you think our guys enjoy fighting over there? Do you honestly believe that they want to be there? You would be surprised how many guys I know in the military hate our government and participate in discussions right here on ATS... Our troops realize we are fighting a f**ked up war...just as our predecessors did during the Vietnam War... Nothing has changed... WAR IS HELL.

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 11:37 PM
No disrespect intended to you personally, when I stated "Go get some combat experience and live in the desert for a few years; then come talk to me about war. I might be a little more open to your opinions on this topic...

It is always the people who have no firsthand experience or knowledge of the subject who make the biggest fuss."

I was referring to people in general.

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 11:42 PM
reply to post by StarChild

What starchild says...look and my brother (who has TWO purple hearts and a bronze star with a "v") both served in Nam..we made it back..we went about our lives and are both glad to be alive!!

We both knowlife is a crap shoot, you got to make the best of it ( there is always that sociopath out there that will do their thing no matter what is going on in the world) you have to keep going forward...the past is the past, we are born alone and we all die alone!!

Trust no one!!

do your best to live your life!

[edit on 16-3-2008 by RUFFREADY]

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 11:44 PM
Thank you for your service, RUFFREADY. I salute you and your brother.

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 11:53 PM
reply to post by StarChild

No problem, sir. Y'know, I worked on a Marine base, and I heard a lot of stories. I understand what the grunts and not-so-grunts are going through. I appreciate very much their difficulties.

I am just frustrated that so many spend so little energy doing what they can to solve the underlying issue. And that is why I want to hear all the stories. Not just the "kosher" ones.

posted on Mar, 16 2008 @ 11:57 PM
reply to post by RUFFREADY

Gotcha. Yep. My best is to be ever vigilant, and to sound the horn at every breach. Thanks for serving, to both you and your brother.

posted on Mar, 17 2008 @ 12:09 AM
reply to post by StarChild

Thanks my friend, I was with the air, and my bro was with the ground, (durning most of it my dad was in the Marine corps "26 years") my dad could keep preety good tabs on my bro, (but not me in the air-wing..heck..I could not either was a day by day thing..I was on the USS Oriskany, "with the well know fellow know as " William Milton Cooper"
who I remeber walking around "looking weird" and stand-offish..thats for another post if need be...) anyway were was I dad, knew almost ..up to the hour ..where my brother was on the ground (my brother was a marine re-con-like in that movie "heart break ridge) ..he would keep up with all the movements (my dad was on the joint cheifs of staff, at the Navy annex in D.C.) I remember when (my mom) my brother got wounded the first time , that they got it WRONG they said he got wounded in the face!!! ( I read the telegram) they had him mixed up with another marine!!!

I had came home on emergency leave for that and my MOM was so upset ...It took almost two weeks to hear from my brother (I keep telling myself hgow I could joke with him with his face all messed I knew air folks "that servived" had those same kinds of injuries) anyways, when Brad, (my bro) got a hold of us before the corected telegram...we all ( my mom passedf out) were so glad to hear that he was just wounded in both legs and right arm...

You see, when all this crap is going on...(war,Bush,9/11,evolution,creationism,CO$,)

Its just you and your family!! (my brother told me to fly to Canada and work on the pipe line...don't EVEN go back!!! ...EVEN THOUGH HE HIMSELF DID ...AND ENDED UP SAVING A WHOLE BUNCH OF BUDS ...AND HAVING A write - up in parade Magazine....(that insert in the paper) My brother on the ground in Nam did things that most americans would do , if they had to save their buddy next to them.

Thats the whole point.

posted on Mar, 17 2008 @ 01:09 AM
you know, as an after thought...

there has been a few stories of AMERICAN G.I.'s bringing back DOGS.

If folks really want to make a dent in this crazy world that we live in..why not go to your local animal shelter and bring a dog ( or cat) home.

If that don't make ya fill good, (and the dog or cat) I just can't help ya.

posted on Mar, 17 2008 @ 10:20 PM
reply to post by RUFFREADY

I was on the USS Oriskany, "with the well know fellow know as " William Milton Cooper"

Well, I am holding William Cooper's book in my hands right now. I have reread through the portion of the book that deals with his military service. No where does he ever mention the USS Oriskany. So is he lying about his service?
The boats that he says he was on are the USS Tibiru and the Tombigbee.
Did you guys just hitch a ride on the Oriskany? I don't know how those things work so I am just asking.
As far as the questions I posed, you guys didn't answer them. Do you feel these soldiers should keep their stories to themselves?
And how do you explain their commanding officers offering them leave passes for killings done by stabbing?
Please do not take my questions personally. I am asking as I am one of those without combat experience. And just because someone doesn't have the combat experience doesn't mean they are not entitled to their own opinions. Whether you agree or not. Not everyone is suited for combat situations. I for one am thankful that there are guys that can go and do that job. I, on the other hand have chosen a different path in life. Not because I was afraid, but because another career path offered better options in my situation.
So instead of saying we are hiding behind our computers and bashing our soldiers for their actions, please try to help us understand what it is like. We cannot just run out and get combat experience. It takes a certain mindset to be a soldier just as it does to be a doctor, or an artist, or a scientist.
I wish I could be at these Winter Soldier gatherings so that I may get a clearer scenario of what these guys had to deal with. It is hard to do over the computer. Being able to see someone's expressions really help to paint the picture of their experience.
I do think it is cool about the dog idea. I have two dogs from shelters myself and they are great.

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