MARCH 16 2008 15:51h
A former marine, Bryan Csler, said that his colleagues urinated on food they later gave to Iraqi children.
A few hundreds of American soldiers decided to speak up about the torture and the killing of innocent civilians in the battle area in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A four-day event in Maryland gathered the war veterans from the whole country in order to tell their experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. The event was transmitted by TV stations.
Hundreds of soldiers and marines testified at the hearing “Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan”.
Soldiers beat and dehumanised civilians
Jeffery Smith decided to tell how his military unit beat and mocked Iraqi prisoners. A former marine, Bryan Csler, said that his colleagues urinated on food they later gave to Iraqi children.
The hearing started on Thursday and ended on Sunday. The event was organised by the “Iraqi Veterans Against the War”, an antiwar organisation spread all over the country. Veterans told their testimony and urged the withdraw of the American army from Iraq.
Ian J. Lavallee, one of the war veterans form Boston, stated on the phone that he wished to attend the hearing although he did not plan to testify.
Innocent civilians kept in cages
- We dehumanized people. The way we spoke about them, the way we destroyed their livelihoods, their families, doing raids, manhandling them, throwing the men on the ground while their family was crying.
I became a person I never thought I would become. It really upset me that I did these things - said Lavallee, 23, who served in Iraq in 2005 and was discharged in 2006 after he attempted suicide.
Patrick Dougherty, a veteran from Cambridge who directly watched the TV transmission of the soldiers’ testimony, remembered how evil they were in the battle area. He arrived in Iraq in 2003, and there is remained 14 months.
- The way we treated our detainees like animals, kept them in cages in the hot sun all day - said Dougherty.
Soldiers in Vietnam raped, tortured and killed
The four-day meeting also recalled the one held almost 40 years ago, when more than a hundred veterans of the Vietnam war gathered and told their experiences.
In January 1971, the members of the “Vietnam Veterans Against the War” organisation, met in Detroit in order to talk about their experiences on war crimes they committed or they witnessed. The investigation on war crimes, which later became pumped by the media, was named “Winter Soldier”.
In three days, over a hundred Vietnam veterans described their violent behaviour towards Vietnamese civilians, including raping, torturing and killing. But despite the evidence and testimonies from the battle field, the American government still considers the massacring of civilians an exception.