Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) comes together in solidarity and resistance with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Oceti Sakowin (The Great Sioux Nation), and the thousands of water warriors defending their land and livelihood from the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). If construction is completed, the DAPL will transport 450,000 barrels of fracked and highly volatile crude oil per day from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois. As US Military Veterans and Service members, many of whom have witnessed first hand the degradation and pollution caused by war, we denounce this corporate environmental catastrophe in the making.
Preparing to give a talk to the Stop the War coalition in the UK, I’ve reflected on 15 years of war. I spent the first five years in the military and most of the time since then working to transform our militaristic society with Iraq Veterans Against the War. These are my reflections from the decade and a half Global War on Terror.
2001: I joined the Army and through basic training I learned the violence of war is made possible in part by demonizing and dehumanizing the people on the other end of US military actions and by desensitizing warfighters to the human cost of war.
2002: I saw that the Global War on Terror has many fronts. Drill Sergeants told us to prepare for war, I expected to deploy to Afghanistan. Instead I was deployed to Kuwait, and a year before the invasion of Iraq we were holding training exercises on the border in the same location we would cross in the invasion. Congress approved the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, solidifying the sense that we are in a constant state of danger and building the public fear necessary for war.