Join vets at City Hall today to mark nine years in Iraq

We're out of Iraq, but for some vets, life will never be the same.

Lest we forget, today marks the ninth anniversary of the start of our war in Iraq. If you plan on passing by City Hall today, you'll have a vivid reminder of today's important milestone -- 481 pairs of combat boots will be lined up on the seat of our city government's steps, a visual precursor to the afternoon of speeches by vets and their families that has been organized by the Bay Area chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

The vets' message is rendered all the more important now that US conflict in Iraq technically ended last December. A US service member commits suicide once every 36 hours, and 223,609 veterans are struggling with possible signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many battle with the after-effects of head trauma, a poorly-understood injury that can lead to serious psychological problems (the suspect in the massacre that took the lives of 16 Afghanis a few weeks ago was a US soldier who suffered from head trauma and multiple re-deployments.)

President Obama has decided that today will be a "Day of Honor" for our veterans. Now might just be a good time to get down to City Hall and hear what the United States citizens most affected by our engagement in the Middle East and elsewhere have to say. Today's speakers at the City Hall demonstration will include Scott Olsen (the vet whose skull was fractured by a police-thrown projectile in an October Occupy Oakland demonstration), Ryan Hollerman (an active-duty soldier), and Paula Santos, whose son commited suicide after coming home from war, in addition to others from Swords to Plowshares and Military Families Speak Out

Iraq Veterans Against the War press conference and "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit

Press conference: Mon/19 noon, free

Exhibit: Mon/19 9 a.m.-5 p.m., free

City Hall

One Carlton B. Goodlett Plaza, SF


the right thing to do, and that the result was a success.

But your piece does indicates it's "Veterans's Against the War" so presumably we'll only be hearing one side of the story at City Hall, right? Right up there in the long SFBG tradition of one-sidedness.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 19, 2012 @ 11:04 am

Sorry Greg it looks like your information is a bit outdated, the most recent Pew poll of veterans held that more than a third of vets thought the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were 'not worth it' and a majority felt that we should be focused on our domestic problems over foreign affairs:

When our government continually beats the war drum and veterans voices that are against these wars are not part of the national dialogue, how is a newspaper reporting on this event one-sided?

Maybe my opinion doesn't count as a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq war that feels we should never have been in these countries in the first place because let's be honest at the end of the day I'm too 'one-sided'.

Matt Howard

Posted by Matt Howard on Mar. 19, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

a majority approve of it.

Wanna try again?

And of course it's one-sided if only troops AGAINST the war show up at city hall. what about the rest?

Posted by The Donald on Mar. 19, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

Donald, just because a third of post 9/11 veterans say that the costs of both wars wasn't worth it doesn't mean the rest gave it a thumbs up. Here is another article that breaks down the recent poll:

"In a new Pew Research Center report on war and sacrifice, half of post-9/11 veterans said the Afghanistan war has been worth fighting. Only 44% felt that way about Iraq, and one-third said both wars were worth the costs."

A clear majority this is not.

In terms of "one-sidedness" I'm sure if other veterans groups felt strongly about celebrating the 9th anniversary of our invasion of Iraq as a success that they would have been given equal access to city hall, yet they didn't. I wonder why that is?

Posted by Matt Howard on Mar. 19, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

these wars than oppose them. You said one third oppose, which is 33%, while 44% favor the war.

Ignoring the abstainers, that means that one third more Vets support the Iraq war than oppose it.

So why are we hearing from only one side, and the minority side at that? It's biased and misleading.

Posted by The Donald on Mar. 19, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

of the military supporting these wars" with Greg's initial post to quibbling over a difference of 11% between those supportive of the war and those against. Sorry I'm not seeing the clear majority in that.

In terms of why are we hearing from the minority? I didn't know a minority opinion (by a relatively small margin) is all of a sudden invalid and not worth considering.

I'm going to bow out of this particular comments section I have a feeling twild could devolve quickly.

Congrats Bay Area IVAW for standing up for what you believe in.

Posted by Matt Howard on Mar. 19, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

It's not an 11% difference at all.

Discounting the "don't know's" and "don't cares", we find that 44% of Vets approve of the Iraq conflict and 33% do not.

So, four Vets approve of it for every three who oppose it.

That's almost 60% of Vets who have an opinion in favor - about the same majority that elected Lee as Mayor. AKA a landslide.

So let's call this one what it is - a whiney minority.

Posted by The Donald on Mar. 19, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

This is a Republic - not a military dictatorship.

Every single vet I know from Iraq or Afghanistan opposes both wars.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

Which is more probably since Matt's poll shows a clear majority of Vets support both wars.

You probably just move in circles where you are more likely to meet anti-government people.

Posted by The Donald on Mar. 20, 2012 @ 8:05 am

Former special forces and combat veterans are clearly more "anti-government" than the armchair warriors of the Air Force's desk service you've been talking to.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2012 @ 10:23 am

The military divides 60-40 in favor of the wars. You can't spin raw numbers.

Posted by The Donald on Mar. 20, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

Just to point out folks that anyone can put on an exhibit at City Hall Plaza, you just have to care enough to get a permit, to plan, to organize it and to actually do it. I did not see any "Pro the great success of the Iraq War " events yesterday.

Just the terribly moving laying out of the boots to remember 481 Californians who lost their lives in Iraq.

And 9 Veterans, a military Mom and a student who were willing to stand in silence for 105 1/2 minutes in the street in front of City Hall to ask people to give a thought to the 6000+ military members and veterans who have died by their own hand since the wars began. This was done out of love and sorrow.

Those of us who put it on are, for the most part, anti war/pro peace types. We believe that there are other means besides war with which to solve our human problems and we long to end the suffering caused by these wars here in the U.S. and abroad. The statistics are staggering.

What people experienced yesterday at City Hall was a one of the only acknowledgments of the final anniversary of that 9 year long war. I think that shows actually a lot more caring about the issues that effect active duty and veterans than complaining and quibbling from behind
a screen

Posted by Guest Siri on Mar. 20, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

a significant majority of Americans in favor of them at the time. You can spread anti-war propaganda - that's part of what Vets fight and die for. Doesn't mean that most people agree with you though.

Those who protest make a noise. The silent majority just get on with their lives.

Posted by The Donald on Mar. 20, 2012 @ 5:08 pm