Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is currently working on bring back to the life the Appeal for Redress as a national part of Operation Recovery. The current proposed process will include active duty members protected under the US Whistleblower Act as well as give a voice to veterans and families affected by current militarism. The Appeal for Redress is being used during outreach in the Bay Area, JBLM, and Under the Hood at Fort hood. We are planning to launch our national campaign around the 10 year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. We are timing this to coincide with the release of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hearing press release to look into the abuse and mistreatment of soldiers currently serving and how have served during OIF and OEF.
Operation Recovery brings some concrete wins to the table as well that will tie into the release of the Appeal for Redress as The Jesse Brown VA in Chicago has already been swayed by the threat of IVAW working hand in hand with National Nurses United (NNU) (union in the VA) and we have been able to secure multiple sit-downs with upper management, added 20 more nurses to the full time staff, secured a dedicated women’s center rather than shared space, and the resignation of the director effective today, Jan 4, 2013. As the start of the new year is upon us we are looking to increase pressure on the VA’s across the county including cities such as San Diego CA, Denver CO, and Madison VA.
IVAW is now reaching out to work with many other grassroots organizations and are looking to expand our reach and stand in solidarity to change the current culture and reduce the militarist mindset that has set in so deep.
Today is the second day of the AVAW retreat. Made it to Denver last night and am excited to meet some new people and make our way through planning the new direction that the organization is heading. Follow the blog and I will be updating it soon.
The retreat went great, and we were able to come together and hash out a vast majority of the goals of the newly formed AVAW group. Walking away from Saturday we had the main goals set forth to draft a name change statement to be given to the board of directors at the national convention in Baltimore later next month. Veterans who served in Afghanistan on the ground as well as support came from each side of the country to meet, most for the first time, each other and a member of Afghans for Peace based out Canada.
Sunday we met at the organizers house to share breakfast and a Skype call to Afghanistan to speak with the Afghanistan Peace Volunteers. After the call we closed the weekend by spending a few hours sharing our stories and listening to each other in the safe space that we had created. Sharing stories of the carnage seen overseas at the hands of Americans as well as reflection that this day was the 11th anniversary of the first bombs dropped on Afghanistan. After lunch and some time around the fire we decided it was time to head back to the real world and try to continue the healing we had started over the weekend. We packed up and started our 4 hour drive home.
All in all we were able to accomplish a great feet and meet some new friends all the while helping each other to realize that we are not alone.