Winter Soldier 2008: Who Supports the Troops?

If I were a far better writer, I might -- might -- be able to convey the intensity of these Winter Soldier hearings.

On the way in were a few dozen right-wing protesters organized by the "Gathering of Eagles" -- a spin-off from the "Vietnam Vets for Truth" started during the 2004 campaign to go after Kerry. I've seen them at antiwar protests, and what struck me was that their messages were unchanged -- 'support the troops.' The concept that those giving testimony inside were the troops -- several with chests weighed down with decorations and metals -- was the definition of cognitive dissonance.

There was a heavy police presence surrounding the site of the hearings -- the campus of a local college in Silver Springs, Maryland. Snipers watched from rooftops, a mobile command post was set up and cops outnumbered protesters 2-1.

The panels were heart-breaking and gut-wrenching. Many of these vets are so young, and yet they've seen more than most of us can imagine. We talk about what the military is doing in our names, but to hear from people who were there doing it themselves, is something quite different. They talked about getting their first "kill," of having no clue what the mission was, of being in a clusterfuck of unbelieveable scope.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.