IVAW Operation Recovery Launches Today

Submitted by tnjp on October 7, 2010 - 8:20pm.

Operation Recovery launches publicly today
Today Iraq Veterans Against the War publicly announces our Operation Recovery campaign to Stop the Deployment of Traumatized Troops. Our team of campaign organizers has been working around the clock for the past month to prepare for today's action in Washington, D.C.

You can do your part to raise awareness by sending a Letter to the Editor of your local paper. Click here to send a Letter to your local Editor. We've made it easy.

Today's Action

  • The campaign launch will start at 9:15 AM EST at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center where we will hold a ceremony in honor of all those wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • From there we march 6 miles to Capitol Hill, where we will testify about our experiences being deployed in war zones while suffering from traumatic injuries.

  • At Capitol Hill, we will read a letter out loud before delivering it to the offices of members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. (The letter is also being sent by mail to officials within the Pentagon and Veterans Administration.) The letters will serve to put these officials on notice that service members and veterans are standing up for their right to heal, and we will expose those responsible for the deployment of troops who are suffering from trauma.

Today's launch marks the beginning of Phase One of our campaign. Over the next several weeks, we will work to investigate the issues, decide which officials will become our campaign's targets, and work to raise awareness about the campaign.

That's where you come in.....

You can help spread the word by sending a Letter to the Editor of your local paper about the issue of traumatized troops. We've provided some language for you to use, so it's real easy.

Click here to send a Letter to the Editor of your local paper.

With the number of troop suicides now surpassing the total combat-related deaths in Afghanistan, we've got to bring this madness to an end.

We know that these wars cannot continue without using exhausted and traumatized troops, and we are determined to stop their deployment.

Send a Letter to the Editor of your local paper today and get the word out.

And stay tuned for updates on today's campaign launch.

Wish us luck!

In Solidarity,

The Campaign Team

P.S. With the help of supporters like you, we surpassed our goal of getting 2,000 pledges of support for Operation Recovery. It feels good to know that 3,500 supporters will be standing with us today. Thank you!

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IVAW follow-up

Submitted by tnjp on October 8, 2010 - 10:16pm.

Yesterday, in our nation's capitol, Iraq Veterans Against the War's Operation Recovery Campaign to Stop the Deployment of Traumatized Troops was launched. This marks the beginning of what will be a long offensive to hold those accountable who are deploying troops who have been traumatized by war.

The first step is raising awareness, and we achieved that with our successful action yesterday. We received a lot of press coverage in mainstream and alternative press, and even made it into the day's White House press briefing in the following back-and-forth between a reporter and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs:

Q There’s a large group of veterans who participated in Afghanistan and Iraq and they’re demonstrating today. They’re asking that people with PTSD and traumatic brain injury not be sent back, and they’re saying that this has contributed to quite a large amount of suicides in the military. Is the President aware of this? Is he communicating with them in any way?

MR. GIBBS: I don’t know about the protest outside. Obviously TBI -- traumatic brain injury -- PTSD is something that the President worked on as a member of the Senate. Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen have been working with veterans, veteran service organizations, along with General Shinseki, around the alarming and high rate of suicides both in theater and back here, and it’s an issue that we can and should take extraordinarily seriously.

We know that combat in both of those theaters puts an enormous strain on individuals, and both those in combat and those coming back ought to have access to every benefit that they deserve and that they’ve earned. We, through the Recovery Act, increased the funding for the VA to historic levels and we will continue to ensure that those that serve have access to the best services.

Q If a soldier says he or she does not feel fit to go back into combat, back into the battlefield, is there any sympathy for that soldier?

MR. GIBBS: Well, look, again, what I just said -- obviously that concern can and will be taken seriously. I would point you specifically to DOD about the operational procedure for how that might happen.

Clearly Mr. Gibbs and the White House are far-removed from the consequences of their war policies, or else they would know that the DOD's operational procedures are the problem!

How it went down
We started the day with a silent memorial at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where we laid flowers to honor those Afghan civilians and U.S. troops who have been traumatized by 9 years of war in Afghanistan. Then we marched 6 miles to Capitol Hill where members of IVAW spoke to journalists about their experiences in combat while coping with trauma. At the Capitol, we read a letter aloud to members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and then delivered those letters to their offices.

You can see a short clip of the letter-reading where Capitol police attempt to stop member, Jason Hurd, from reading the letter, but he won't be stopped. Watch the clip.

Thank you for doing your part!
While we took action in the streets of DC, thousands of supporters like you helped raise awareness in your own communities. Over 440 letters to the editor were sent out to local papers around the country! If you got a Letter to the Editor published, please send us an email (and if possible, a link to the story) at feedback(at)ivaw.org.

Stay tuned for a thorough media coverage round-up next week, or find information on our website at www.ivaw.org/operation-recovery.

Thank you for your support!

In Solidarity,
The Campaign Team

IVAW needs your help with Operation Recovery!

Submitted by tnjp on October 12, 2010 - 1:30pm.

We are still energized from last Thursday's action that launched Operation Recovery, our campaign to Stop the Deployment of Traumatized Troops. We got some terrific news coverage for the campaign like this story done by Al Jazeera English: http://english.aljazeera.net/video/americas/2010/10/201010825525105293.h... and this interview on CNN: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2010/10/07/veterans.aga... with our Northeast Field Organizer, Chantelle Bateman.

We were inspired by troops in Afghanistan who saw our actions on T.V. and posted messages of support on Facebook. One soldier wrote:
"Hello. I seen you on the news today, I am in Afghanistan right now, and I totally support what you are doing. Thank you for being a voice for those of us who can't right now."

Will you support our continued work with a financial contribution? You can donate here: http://ivaw.org/support.

The Work Ahead

Over the weekend, we gathered for a meeting in Philadelphia to continue planning for the rest of the campaign. We spent two days evaluating our work so far and carefully mapping out the work ahead. We are proud of the fact that we have accomplished so much with so little, but we know we will need more resources to keep the campaign going.

Your financial support now can make a huge difference.

*Will you make a gift today?*

Donate now by clicking here: http://ivaw.org/support.

With our Operation Recovery Campaign, we will support service members standing up for their right to heal, and we will stand against those responsible for violating that right.

We will expose those responsible for the deployment of traumatized troops, demand they end this inhumane practice, and back our demands up with collective action.

We will end these wars by winning our right to heal. We know that without the repeated use of traumatized soldiers on the battlefield, the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan could not continue.

Support Operation Recovery with a generous donation today: http://ivaw.org/support.

An influx of funds right now will:

*Support our investigation of military bases that are deploying traumatized troops on psychotropic medications.
*Send our Field Organizing Team to do targeted outreach events at military bases.
*Help us develop educational materials to share with veterans who are experiencing trauma and help recruit them to our campaign.

There is a lot of work to be done over the next few months, and your donation today will keep our momentum going.

Make a gift now by clicking here: http://ivaw.org/support.

Thank you for your support!

In Solidarity,

The Campaign Team
Iraq Veterans Against the War

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