For Immediate Release
The Iraq War is Not Over; We're Still Fighting the War at Home
NEW YORK - Recently the media has been filled with announcements that the war in Iraq has finally ended. But in a war fought not only by enlisted foot soldiers, but also largely by corporations, mercenaries, and drones, what constitutes an end?
As service members and veterans, we have been working endlessly to apply pressure on the military and government to end the occupation of Iraq since our organization was founded in 2004. The resistance of the Iraqi people combined with the voices of American veterans and the American public have finally forced the US government to follow through with the agreement outlined in US - Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which requires a withdrawal of all troops by the end of this year. This was not achieved because we elected the right politician. It happened because we made our voices impossible to ignore. But our work is far from over.
Although it is an important and significant milestone, the withdrawal of troops from Iraq does not necessarily signify an end to occupation. The US footprint is still heavy in the form of corporate contractors who employ indentured servants (under the euphemism “third country nationals”) and mercenaries without oversight, accountability, or transparency.
The Iraqi resistance movement is preparing for what it calls, “the second face of the occupation.” According to a statementreleased by Uday Al-Zaidi, this includes structures imposed by the US such as the sectarian government and its divisive constitution. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, families have been destroyed, displaced, and forced into refugee status all over the world. We support self-determination for the people of Iraq, and continue to work toward our goal of making reparation with the people who have been so deeply affected by this war and its aftermath.
Last Tuesday, President Obama addressed soldiers at Fort Bragg, thanking their families for carrying the burden of war, and telling soldiers that their fallen comrades legacies will live on in the form of parades and memorials.
Meanwhile, over 4,000 American service members have been killed, and many more are living with physical disabilities and invisible wounds, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Military Sexual Trauma, and Major Depressive Disorder. Troops are living with undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries, many of which go undetected for months or even years. Instead of being treated when they return, many service members receive orders to deploy to Afghanistan, even though a part of them remains at war in Iraq. For returning veterans the war at home is just beginning, if this nation wants to honor its veterans, we need them to honor our right to heal.
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Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) advocacy group of veterans and active-duty U.S. military personnel who have served since September 11, 2001. IVAW’s Right to Heal Initiative is focused on holding the U.S. government accountable for human right violations of the health of Iraqis, Afghans and U.S. veterans. IVAW currently has over 2,500 members in fifty states, as well as in Canada, Europe, and Afghanistan.