David Zeiger : This is Where We Take Our Stand

Episode One : For Those Who Would Judge Me

This is Where We Take Our Stand
A web series about Winter Soldier

By David Zeiger / The Rag Blog / July 18, 2009

I am more than pleased to announce to Rag Blog readers that the web series produced by Bestor Cram and me about last year’s Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan Investigation is finally starting. Throughout the summer we will be posting six episodes of This is Where We Take Our Stand, one every two weeks, at www.thisiswherewetakeourstand.com. Episode one is available now, along with the trailer for the series, and I want to urge all of you to not only watch but post, promote, and help spread the series throughout the internet.

Why this series, and why now? you may ask. Good question. Last year we spent three months following and filming the complicated, intense and emotional process of bringing two hundred and fifty veterans and active duty soldiers to Washington, DC, to expose the realities of America’s occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan from their own experience. With strong support from the antiwar and progressive funding community, we hoped and expected to have a film available in six months. But surprise! Along came Barack Obama and suddenly that support was dust in the wind. I won’t go into details — I think you know the reasons.

In my view, there is no better time than now to present this series. In the name of “not looking backward,” the very policies and strategic goals put in place by the Bush administration in the Gulf region stand fundamentally unchallenged and unchanged by the Obama administration. Am I overstating the case here? Yes, the rhetoric is different, and Obama has even called the invasion of Iraq a mistake. A mistake?! If it’s a “mistake,” that means the goals are valid and righteous, they’re just being pursued with the wrong tactics-as Obama has repeatedly said in the name of “supporting the troops.”

Well, I beg to differ. At the risk of stating the obvious, if these wars were illegal and immoral under Bush, by what logic are they not illegal and immoral under Obama?

Below is the statement about the series written by Bestor and me. I hope that our series will do a little to rattle the sleep out of many people’s eyes, as these occupations continue and, in the case of Afghanistan, expand. Please help us make that happen.

[David Zeiger is an award-winning film producer and director whose highly–acclaimed film Sir! No Sir! documented the little-known GI resistance to the Vietnam War. His production company is Displaced Films.]

This is Where We Take Our Stand:

The series that tells the riveting and timely story of the hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who testified at last year’s Winter Soldier investigation, has now begun. We hope to reach thousands, even millions worldwide as the six episodes are released throughout the summer:

  • Episode One: For Those Who Would Judge Me available now. See above or click here.
  • Episode Two: Rules of Engagement will launch July 27, 2009.
  • Episode Three: Why We Fight will launch August 10, 2009.
  • Episode Four: Broken Soldier will launch August 24, 2009.
  • Episode Five: This is Not Human Nature will launch September 7, 2009.
  • Episode Six: No Longer a Monster will launch September 20, 2009.

Where’s the debate?

Are we watching passively while Barack Obama carries out the same policies as George W. Bush?

When an American bombing raid this May killed over two hundred civilians in a village in Afghanistan, it was met with a deafening silence. When Obama’s promised “withdrawal” from Iraq leaves 130,000 troops there for at least two more years and 50,000 permanently, it’s hailed as an end to the occupation. And who is demanding to know just what the mission really is when 30,000 more troops are sent to Afghanistan?

Where’s the debate?

In March of 2008, two hundred and fifty veterans and active duty soldiers marked the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by gathering in Washington, DC, to testify from their own experience about the nature of the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. It was chilling, horrifying, and challenging for all who witnessed it. Against tremendous odds, they brought the voices of the veterans themselves into the debate. That was then.

This is now. Today, we present to you This is Where We Take Our Stand, the inside story of those three days and the courageous men and women who testified. And we present this story today, told in six episodes, because we believe it is as relevant now as it was one year ago. Maybe more.

Here is our challenge to you: Watch the series; spread it far and wide; and ask yourself, Is this about the past, or the present and future? Then add your voice.

If you are a veteran or active duty, present your own testimony. If you are not, but you are still a living, breathing member of the human race, then do whatever you can to join and fan the flames of debate.

– Displaced Films and Northern Light Productions

The Rag Blog

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14 Responses to David Zeiger : This is Where We Take Our Stand

  1. masterspork says:

    Except with the half-truths to outright lies that the Winters Soldier made in the past, why should we listen now?

  2. Bryan Casler says:

    Andrews, you can not dismiss Winter Soldier as a half truth or an outright lie. I think your missing the broader point of Winter Soldier, the reason 250 Veterans from different branches, different AO’s and different backgrounds, descended upon College Park last year. Our voices telling our own first hand accounts of what we experienced and witnessed. I suggest you watch the raw videos and Dave’s webisode’s, even contact the members themselves. What you’ll find is men and woman like you, who were once proud of what they were doing, but through personal experiences and educating themselves they became forever changed. If video isn’t your thing I would suggest reading Dahr Jamail’s book “The Courage to Resist” it is very well cited and in itself a testament to the ugly truth laid out bare during Winter Soldier.

  3. Bryan Casler says:

    Correction: Dahr’s Book is “The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan” Available here http://www.amazon.com/Will-Resist-Soldiers-Refuse-Afghanistan/dp/1931859884

  4. masterspork says:

    Why not? Because of such people that have been caught in lies, Like Macbech and others. Here is one,James Morriss. He took part in Winter Soldier claiming that his company CO tried to get him to shoot a Afghanistan child when the truth was that he had never been there let alone finish basic. Or the claim by Andre Sheppard that we do not treat the Iraqis that get hurt in the conflict. That is a lie, I have seen and helped in this first hand. So when people like Victor Angosto and Andre Sheppard claim to know what is happing in Iraq from the safety of the FOB and somehow I do not. I question their creditably.

    I do not need to see the videos because I have seen Iraq first hand. I have videos and photos of my own. I am not nor ever will apologize for my actions in Iraq.

    http://www.armystrongstories.com/blogger/warren-andrews/

    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewPicture&friendID=106744985&albumId=2009403

    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.channel&channelID=106744985

    Also consider all the people that are real Iraq veterans leaving IVAW. It is one of the bigger ones.

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=10593

    Also Dahr’s Jamail is a joke and does not know much to anything about millitary life.

    For example;

    On that day, Agosto was ordered to get his medical records in preparation to deploy to Afghanistan. He refused to do so. The Army threatened to take punitive measures, but Agosto wrote on the Counseling Statement, “I am not going to Afghanistan. I will not take part in SRP [Sealift Readiness Programme].”

    Yea if you are too lazy to do your research, why should we listen to any of your stories.

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=11165

  5. Bryan Casler says:

    First off lets find our common ground, Jessie Macbeth, James Morriss, Duncan… all turds! IVAW has over 1700 members, those three account for less than 0.17%. What do you say to the other 99.83% of us ? Are we all liars, or is it more reasonable to believe IVAW is like any other growing public organization. We will have to stay ever vigilant against those who would lie and deceive for own personal gain.

    I would also add that Thisainthell’s blog and commentary is filled with more hate spewing, sexist and racist remarks then I can shake a stick at and trying to throw Dahr’s journalistic integrity into question because himself or an editor confused military vernacular is ridiculous. DTIC.mil lists “Sealift Readiness Programme” for SRP and Miliarywords.com lists another 31 results. Additionally I can say that Dahr has interviewed hundreds of Veterans from all branches with various backgrounds. In my 4 years of service I was limited to mostly interacting with my MOS and men in my unit/branch. Dahr is in a better position to comment on our military then your or I will likely ever be.

    Let’s also get one more thing straight, no one is asking you to apologize for you service. IVAW has active duty military in it’s ranks, we have active duty chapters. Even more personally two of the guys in my chapter are Iraq vets and still reservist, hell! one of them is my roommate. Your service is not on trial here, it’s the war that is and always will be. Occupying Iraq is not helping Iraqi’s it is only helping U.S. imperialism. Occupation is not a form of humanitarian aid.

    As for members leaving, 99% of it is political and organization disagreements. I don’t believe a single member has left because they now support the war.

    Warren I have seen you pop-up in the blogosphere before. I believe we have more in common then divides us. We are both Iraq Veterans, we are proud of the hard work we accomplished while serving. We cared about the people we interacted with (it appears you were a doctor, and while I was in Fallujah I served as a first responder medivac). I’d like to know your reservations about what IVAW stands for. Your personal attack on IVAW’s members does nothing to address these issues and the larger questions at hand.

  6. masterspork says:

    I use to think that is was just a few, but now after seeing case after case. I cannot be said that these are isolated incidents. Given the fact that the people and IVAW (read ISO) are more then content at painting everyone who has served as a common criminal.

    Lets talk about Alax Bacon, A guy that has never served in Iraq or Afghanistan , but some how he is qualified to be the executive director on telling other what is going on there. Or Carl Webb that tried to get US troops in Afghanistan to sabotage US vehicles, putting US lives in danger. But Camilo Mejia is letting him stay in the IVAW, even though once again never been there. Also about him, this is the same guy that said this;

    What you have before you, Selena, is a typical GI Resistance publication, Vietnam-era style. Many such publications were the work of civilians who were working alongside GIs, which is the case of GI Special. Tom Barton works with members of VFP, IVAW, VVAW, etc and they reprint articles from papers like the Army Times, and from web sites such as our very own.

    Your opinion of this publication is a reflection of just how out of touch you are with the organization you’re in. Have you ever checked out Vets For Freedom? They loooove the constitution, they’re flag waving patriots, and they want troops to reenlist. I bet they would have a similar opinion to yours about GI Special.

    I’m not going to waste too much on this, Selena, but I really think you should explore other organizations that would better meet your desire to be a hard core patriot. IVAW is really not that place.

    Yours truly,

    cm.

    Or how about Matthis? The guy that spent all of 6 days in a FOB and that is the best speaker you have? The reason that keeping coming up with the people who left is that the IVAW has forgotten the main idea of the soldier. “That I do this for the guy to my left and right”.

  7. masterspork says:

    I do not trust the IVAW because of their past actions. You say that my actions are not on trial but when a member on the IVAW advisory board calls those that went to Iraq as criminals by default.

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/coppa-vs-reilly-pt-2.jpg

    Or how about this?

    IVAW member is say that “The heroes are not the ones that are wearing the uniforms, but the ones on the other side”
    http://masterspork.livejournal.com/154658.html

    And this?

    http://activedutypatriot.blogspot.com/2009/04/newsflash-if-you-support-anti-iraq-war.html

    I will stick with This ant hell website. Also I have been commenting on there for several months under the name “sporkmaster”. Oh that is me on the left of that photo in that school.

    But one of the questions that I have asked is that most if not all of the people that have been in Iraq have been in 2003-2006. But I think that Iraq has changed for the better since late 2007. Just from the time I have been there from May 2008 to June 2009, I have seen things get better. There is a long way to go but it is nothing like 2003 on. This is from the people that where here in the original invasion and onward. But the IVAW does not seem to have anyone in ranks that is from the 07-08 time period to reflect the changes for better or worse.

    I am a medic that served with a engineer company in the Diyala providence. So I got a chance to talk to several Iraqi army, police and citizens. When we where doing our job of repair and improvements, they could not be happier. So I have a hard time understanding how our presence here was not befitting them.

    This is a short explanation on why I do not trust Winter Solider or IVAW.

  8. masterspork says:

    Any thoughts one my post?

  9. Jonn Lilyea says:

    “I would also add that Thisainthell’s blog and commentary is filled with more hate spewing, sexist and racist remarks then I can shake a stick at”

    Since there are so many “hate spewing, sexist and racist remarks” at my blog maybe you can provide an example of each category.

    It’s easy to move your fingers and form the words, it’s a lot harder to prove it. Seein’s how you lied about that, Casler, I should do a FOIA on you and see what else you lied about. If sure if it was true so many of your friends wouldn’t be hanging out there.

    Maybe we can sort out if Casler did two tours of Iraq; http://ivaw.org/bryan-casler, or three tours; http://ivaw.org/membersspeak/winter-soldier-liveblog-racism-and-war-bryan-casler. (Oh, I screen shot those pages before you can fix them Bryan…again)

  10. masterspork says:

    I think we should, I would love to see what that would turn up.

    Also if he is a fraud, the we should get his comments saved on other fakes.

  11. Bryan Casler says:

    John and Andrew I am on a cross country road trip moving my ass to warmer weather, so this post will have to be short. As for my deployments, I was part of the invasion into Iraq, later deployed to the U.S. Embassy in Kabul Afghanistan and after that deployed to city of Fallujah. As for the Winter Soldier live blog by Justin Cliburn it reads “Brian Casler was a Marine during three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan”. So besides some poor grammar and spelling choices on Justin’s part, your pulling at nothing.

    John and Andrew stop acting like trolls swinging at every person who walks across your bridge.

  12. masterspork says:

    But here is the real kicker. If it where not for the repeated lying that people in the IVAW have done, you would not be in this posistion.

    Also look forward to a reply to my other post.

  13. masterspork says:

    Looking forward to a reply to my posts since that IVAW elected another person who has never seen Iraq or Afghanistan as Executive Director.

  14. Masterspork says:

    Here are two more people who have not deployed to ether Iraq or Afghanistan. Yet they IVAW has no problem with that.

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=14838#comments

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