The US invasion of Iraq in 2003 incited a previously unimaginable deepening of sectarian divisions among the people of Iraq following the overthrow of the repressive Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein. The US government and its occupation forces set in place the most serious sectarian and ethnic tensions in Iraq’s modern history and have yet to address the humanitarian catastrophe set in motion by the war. On the 10-year commemoration of the US invasion in March 2013, the Right to Heal initiative brought together Iraqi social justice organizers and unionists with US military veterans opposed to the war and our group of politically-aligned organizations to call for reparations for the people of Iraq for the disastrous legacy US forces left behind.
Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) – an organization comprised of individuals who served or continue to serve in the US Military following September 11, 2001 – calls on Congress, the President, and his administration to reject the use of violence and militarism in response to the current outbreak of violence in Iraq.
Many of our members deployed to Iraq during the recent US occupation. Those of us who were there know first hand that US military solutions in Iraq do not serve the interests of the Iraqi people. We advocate for the self-determination of all people, in this case the people of Iraq. Any solution to this crisis must come from them.
When the United States invaded and occupied Iraq, the formerly secular country was destabilized. The United States and the Department of Defense intentionally created and agitated sectarian divisions that would not have otherwise existed. The result of this is what we see today, and Iraqi civilians are paying for it.
Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is seeking an Operations Coordinator to support organizational operations by maintaining office and financial systems. The primary work of the Operations Coordinator consists of tracking and maintaining day-to-day finances, maintaining the office, providing primary support to the Director of Development, and assisting with membership and communication tasks.
Candidates should possess strong skills in writing, editing, and proofreading, data-entry, financial management, and should be very well organized. Ideal candidates are those who are familiar with the work of IVAW, have a strong knowledge of the database “Salsa,” a background in financial management or in IT. Fluency in more than one language is preferable but not required. A detailed job description can be found below.
Vets Outraged by Political Gamesmanship Over Veterans Healthcare Bill
Yesterday members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) were disgusted to witness the Republican party engage in acts of cynical political maneuvering. A historic veterans omnibus bill (S.1982) that would have increased the quality of life for millions of veterans instead became a political stunt designed to push through dangerous and diplomatically irresponsible sanctions on Iran. When that stunt didn’t work the GOP blocked the passage of a bill that would have opened up 27 new VA health clinics, strengthened one of many health programs like sexual trauma care and gone far in reducing the benefits backlog. These are just a few of the many opportunities to improve the lives of veterans that political gamesmanship squandered.
“Why would Congressional members put Iran sanctions into a bill meant to care for so many veterans? The answer is that in the end members of Congress like Mitch McConnell don’t actually care about healing veterans.” said Matt Howard, Marine veteran and Communications Director of IVAW.
We are joining with Iraqi human rights groups and our allies to hold the U.S. government accountable for the lasting effects of war and to demand the right to heal. Check out the Right to Heal Initiative website at http://righttoheal.org and sign the petition to demand a hearing.
Three days ago I saw the aftermath of explosives that tore through a crowd of unsuspecting bystanders, shrapnel leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. I read how children lost their lives, others lost limbs and a nation looked on in horror. On Monday, this same scene played out over and over again. All of them separate bombings, all on the same day and all in the same country. Iraq is this country, where over 25 blasts rocked major metropolitan areas, many of them car bombs, that resulted in more than 61 deaths and over 274 injured. No doubt the enormity of the loss of life and carnage is hard to imagine but if you had watched the news or read American newspapers you could be forgiven for not knowing it happened at all.
Monday was also significant for another bombing, one that most of us heard about. The kind of terror inflicted at the Boston Marathon just a handful of days ago will not readily leave my mind. The images, testimonies and the moments of bravery demonstrated by people like Carlos Arredondo will continue to haunt me. Unfortunately, the destruction in Boston is all too familiar for those of us that have experienced the unending senseless violence in Iraq. Both for the Iraqi civilians that live in a country that has witnessed more than a decade of war and for US veterans that have returned home to a country that has seemed oblivious to its existence.