On Thursday, October 30th we lost a member of our community to his own hands. Ethan Kreutzer was a member of IVAW Bay Area who served in the Army from 2002 to 2004. He was a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He left a lasting impression on everyone he came into contact with and couldn't stay in one place for too long due to his wandering soul. We wanted to highlight some remembrances of Ethan from close friends of his. As we mourn his loss please take the opportunity to read about our brother who has moved on:
We lost an important member of our community with Jacob George's passing last week. His contribution to both our movement and to the many people that he shared his experiences, music and unbridled spirit with is impossible to measure. We at Iraq Veterans Against the War are supporting each other in this difficult time and will be remembering Jacob's legacy in many ways. One way we wanted to honor Jacob's memory is to share the stories of those closest to him. Jacob's close friend and fellow IVAW and Afghanistan Veterans Against the War (AVAW) Committee member Brock McIntosh reflects below on Jacob's life. Please take a moment and read it:
A line has been drawn in Ferguson, Missouri. A line that separates a community collectively grieving for their lost son, and on the other side, a police force that is sworn to serve and protect but instead has brought nothing but fear and violence. A line that separates the institutionalized racism of city, state and federal government decisions and the people across the country who want to see justice for Michael Brown and the many other victims of police violence. This line didn’t begin and doesn’t end in Ferguson. It has its roots in a long history of police violence against Black and Brown communities in the U.S.
Over the last three weeks, we at Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) have watched with dread the endless bombing of Gaza, leading to the senseless killing of now more than 1,300 Palestinians and the destruction of their homes, lives and livelihoods.
In the past we have announced our support of the right to self-determination for Palestinians, alongside our firm conviction of the illegality and dehumanizing nature of the blockade of Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank. This moment is no different.
The US government has continually provided arms and money to Israel to the tune of $3.1 billion per year. It is our own country’s weaponry that is causing the deaths of entire families in Gaza. We see it as our duty to resist the steady grinding militarization of our foreign and domestic policies and we stand in solidarity with those resisting the same efforts overseas, both the Palestinian people and the Israeli reservists who have refused to serve in this conflict.
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.
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.