In today's New York Times, Deborah Sontag's "An Iraq Veteran's Descent; A Prosecutor's Hard Choices" explains why it's so important to provide real care to returning veterans. Walter R. Smith disintegrated and was discharged. He apparently had no real care provided to him. He's now on trial for murdering Nicole Marie Speirs, his wife.
When the government sends people into an illegal war, when they order to take part in war crimes, it is going to have a long lasting effect and providing no real care for the returning doesn't help anyone. Walter R. Smith explains of his time in Iraq, "We were opning fire on civilians. We were taking out women and children because it was them or us." The article begins on the front page and continues on A24 and A25.
Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Qais Mizher's "15 People Are Killed Across Iraq on Shiite Religious Holiday" runs on A5.
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Remember IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:
In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.
Lastly, Melissa asks ("I'm begging") that we noted this, from David Jackon's "Obama to return Rezko-linked donations" (Chicago Tribune):
Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama said Saturday that his campaign would give charities $40,350 in donations linked to his former friend and fundraiser Tony Rezko, a Chicago businessman who has pleaded not guilty to federal influence-peddling and bank fraud charges.
[. . .]
According to Saturday's Chicago Sun-Times, which cites an unnamed source, Obama was the unnamed "political candidate" referred to in a Dec. 21 court document that accuses Rezko of orchestrating a scheme in which a firm hired to handle state teacher pension investments first had to pay $250,000 in "sham" finder's fees.
From that money, $10,000 was donated to Obama's successful run for the Senate in the name of Glenview entrepreneur Joseph Aramanda, the story said.
[. . .]
The Tribune had reported that Obama hired Aramanda's son as a 2005 summer intern in Obama's Capitol Hill office after Rezko recommended him.
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