RAWA Thanks War Resisters

Solidarity statement to U.S. war resisters and Afghanistan occupation veterans from Zoya, Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). October 10, 2009

Our message to all the soldiers who are fighting and veterans who were fighting in Afghanistan:

We thank you because we think that you believe that you are struggling and fighting in Afghanistan for bringing democracy and peace for our people. But unfortunately we think that you are also the victims of the wrong policy of your government. And that’s that reason that we think you should condemn this war, which is just bringing more sorrow and pain and blood for the majority of the population and the civilians of Afghanistan. And it’s not helping to bring democracy and security in the country.

And we also want to thank those soldiers who resisted and refused to go to Afghanistan and fight for this so-called “War on Terror”, which is more painful and which is more costly for our people than terrorists. We want to thank you and we think that you should come forward and give your solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, all the democratic organizations, and you should make aware your own people about the reality, about the real nature of this war.

And we think that all people of American and the West should condemn this war and pressurize your governments to stop this very failed and very unsuccessful war, which only our poor people and especially the women have to pay the price for, this war so-called “war on terrorism, and not the real terrorists.

Please also read this, war resistors in the US are being subjected to a horribly familiar regime-

…soldiers have been strip-searched while possibly being filmed. Bishop and Church have also been watched by female guards during strip-searches, while using the restroom as well as while in the showers. Both soldiers have been denied one in-person visit by their attorneys and all phone calls with their attorneys have been illegally monitored by guards.

Seth Manzel, a Fort Lewis Stryker Brigade veteran and executive director of the veteran support group G.I. Voice, said of the matter, “These techniques of sexual humiliation are far too similar to those practiced on foreign prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Bagram in Afghanistan. Is the Army at Fort Lewis using enhanced interrogation techniques to break down American soldiers here at home?”

Church was imprisoned for having gone AWOL, which he did in order to prevent his wife and children from becoming homeless. He tried to get help from his unit, but was denied, and received eight months prison time. Church was eventually forced by this ordeal to give his newborn son up for adoption. According to Church, “With everything that was going on, from me leaving, even though it was to care for my family, because I could find no support from the Army, Amanda and I had to place our son, Austin in a loving home through adoption. We did not want him enduring the strife that we had endured and for him to end up being fatherless, because I would be living in prison.”

Andrew VanDenBergh, a Marine veteran of the Iraq war and a G.I. Voice staff member, said of Leo Church in a press release, “He joined the Army, found out his family was homeless, wasn’t allowed to keep his children from living on the streets, went to take care of his family, had to give a child up for adoption and is now locked in prison and being abused. Being abused for what? For taking care of his children?”

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