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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Winter Soldier Gathering to Hold Crisis in Veterans' Healthcare Panel on Friday

The Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan testimonies begin at the National Labor College near Washington, D.C., today and continue through Sunday. The event title hearkens back to the 1776 writings of Thomas Paine: "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Tomorrow, Friday March 14, 2008, The Crisis in Veterans' Heathcare panel will be convened from 11:00AM – 12:30PM EST. From the event schedule:

This panel will look at neglect and abuse of veterans and service members with regards to their mental and physical health. Testimonies will include accounts about the impact of an under-funded Veterans Administration, injured soldiers being forced back into combat without fully recovering from their wounds, cases of the military’s denial of mental healthcare for those suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome and exposure of service members to depleted uranium munitions and other hazardous materials.

(Speakers: Martin Smith; Adrienne Kinne, IVAW member and worker in Veterans Administration; Eugene Martin, national organizer with American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO; Joyce & Kevin Lucey, parents of a son who committed suicide after being denied treatment for post traumatic stress syndrome; Zollie Goodman; Tod Ensign)

Listen in via online stream or check other viewing options.

In educational interest, article(s) quoted from extensively.

Details from The Nation:

From [today] through Saturday the Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan hearings in Washington, DC will feature testimony from US veterans detailing what's really happening on the ground in these occupations.

They'll present photographs and videos, recorded with mobile phones and digital cameras, to back up their allegations of brutality, torture and murder. The event is inspired by the Winter Solider tribunal held in 1971 by Vietnam War vets, including, famously, John Kerry.

Winter Soldiers, according to Thomas Paine, are patriots who stand up for the soul of their country, even in its darkest hours. With this spirit in mind, the current generation of Winter Soldiers are standing up to make their experiences available to all who are concerned about the direction of our country.

Some Americans may not agree with the desire for war veterans to come forward to speak plainly about their experiences -- especially while war still rages. And one quick Google News search using the keyword 'Winter Soldier' will show how little the mainstream media wishes or cares to cover the event.* But, if any group has earned the right to be heard on issues having to do with war and peace, it would be those that have worn the uniform in battle.

*Indeed, a new Pew poll shows an overall waning of media coverage of the Iraq War.

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