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Veterans Demand Congress End the Forever Wars 

Truthout, Mike Ludwig, March 22, 2019 As politicians and pundits opined on the 16-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq this week, organizer and veteran Perry O’Brien observed that people who were born after the 9/11 attacks and the beginning of the global war on terror are now old enough to join the military and deploy to Afghanistan, where fragile peace talks between with the Taliban continue. Blood is still spilling in Kandahar, the province in Afghanistan where O’Brien served as a medic during the early years of the Afghan war.

“In 2003, the idea of being in Afghanistan even five more years would have sounded unlikely; 15 years would have been madness,” O’Brien said in an interview with Truthout.

Nowdays, O’Brien is a political organizer with Common Defense, a nationwide group of progressive veterans that grew out of protests against President Trump’s racist remarks on the 2016 campaign trail. Conservative political forces have long held a monopoly on the public image of military service and patriotism, O’Brien said, but the nationwide community of progressive veterans is actually “enormous.”

“We didn’t want to be props for Trump’s campaign for hate,” O’Brien said. “We were outraged by his remarks about Muslims and immigrants, and the whole platform and were, you know, angry with … how he wraps himself in the flag and the symbols of service even though he has never served anything other than himself.”

Common Defense organizes and trains veterans to advocate on issues ranging from racial and economic justice to opposing the Trump administration’s ban transgender troops, but after nearly two decades of seemingly endless war, O’Brien and other vets want to make it glaringly clear to policymakers that supporting U.S. military intervention has nothing to do with supporting the troops.

“There is a mistaken view that the military community wants you to show your support for the troops by being pro-intervention,” O’Brien said. “Nothing could be further from the truth in terms of what the military community really wants.”

Congress Debates U.S. Militarism Under TrumpCommon Defense is one of several veterans’ groups on both the left and the right that are putting mounting pressure on Congress to bring a clear end to the “forever wars.” Now that the war on terror has come to 80 countries, directly caused nearly half-a-million deaths and cost taxpayers more than $5.9 trillion since 2011, momentum among lawmakers to reassert their constitutional war-making authority is gaining steam after years of inaction and failed bipartisan attempts to rein in the White House and Pentagon.

Both the House and Senate have approved resolutions to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen’s bloody civil war, a clear rebuke of both the Saudi royal government and its cozy relationship with President Trump. Lawmakers in both chambers, particularly Democrats, have warned against U.S. military intervention in Venezuela, where hawks in the Trump administration are actively supporting a right-wing opposition leader as the country suffers an ongoing political and humanitarian crisis. …… https://truthout.org/articles/veterans-demand-congress-end-the-forever-wars/

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March 23, 2019 - Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war

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