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Post 9-11 Veterans Oppose U.S. Military Strikes in Syria
Combat Veterans of Iraq & Afghanistan Fear Countless Civilian Casualties, See Similarities to Recent Wars
NEW YORK - September 6 - In the wake of a horrific attack on Syrian civilians, President Obama and a bipartisan team of hawkish congress members are rushing the US towards military intervention in Syria. The post 9/11 veterans who make up Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) remember all too well the lead up to wars that sent many service members on repeated deployments to the Middle East, Afghanistan, and surrounding countries. Now these veterans call for diplomacy and an alternative to military strikes that will inevitably lead to more civilian deaths and a destabilized region.
As veterans of wars that witnessed the immense loss of civilian lives, the hypocrisy of a foreign policy that claims the moral authority to “save” a population suffering under civil war through military strikes is not lost on them. As two-time Iraq veteran Joyce Wagner says, “I cannot fathom the logic of saving children by bombing their country. Iraqi children are still suffering the consequences of our bombs and of chemical agents used by the United States.” Veterans are increasingly finding themselves speaking out with urgency to call on congress to resist this drive to war and address our needs at home.
Iraq Veterans Against the War and its partners in Iraq have been fighting for the Right to Healafter more than ten years of occupation, violence, and trauma. This partnership of communities impacted by recent wars has been working to expose both health damages and birth defects caused by toxic chemical munitions used by the U.S. military inside of Iraq along with highlighting the psychological effects of repeated deployments to combat zones.
Seasoned Marine combat veteran and Board member, Vince Emanuele sees fundamental problems in the White House’s approach, "After decades of militarism abroad and austerity at home, it's time to radically change the reckless, criminal, and morally bankrupt foreign policy of the United States. As veterans know from firsthand experience, so called 'surgical strikes' in Syria will only lead to increased civilian casualties and violence, not stability and peace. We need more diplomacy, and less war.”
Alongside the majority of the American people this community of veterans reject the Administration’s march to war and demand that all diplomatic avenues are pursued and that the Syrian people have a right to self-determination. They aim to remind their political leaders what they can not soon forget: war does not save people, and it doesn’t make Americans safer.