Kelly Dougherty, IVAW’s executive director, served as a medic and MP with the Colorado Army National Guard in the Balkans and Iraq. A co-founder of the organization, she was spurred on by her firsthand knowledge of the damage the occupation causwa to Iraqis, the U.S. military, and the men and women she served with. Speaking of what compelled her to become involved, she says of the veterans and their supporters at Winter Soldier, “We’ve been transformed in our own lives and feel like we have a responsibility to continue fighting, to uphold values that we took very seriously when we enlisted or that came to be very important to us through our service.”
Dougherty reiterates IVAW’s three goals: immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq, full benefits and healthcare for returning veterans, and reparations and compensation for the people of Iraq. She notes that, like the winter soldiers lauded by Thomas Paine, the testifiers this weekend are continuing a legacy of veterans and soldiers speaking out against unjust, inhumane, and damaging policies.