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U.S. | Anti-War

Anti-war Iraq vets reenact occupation at Washington DC landmarks
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist ( jeff [at] paterson.net )
Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM
Iraq Veterans Against the War brought some of the sights and sounds of the Iraq occupation home today to the nation's capitol with street theater.

WASHINGTON DC (March 19, 2007) – A platoon of Iraq Veterans Against the War (http://www.IVAW.net) took to the streets of downtown Washington DC today reenacting their experiences in Iraq as participants in an unjust war. A dozen others people filled the roles of Iraq civilians under foreign occupation. Troops reenacted mass roundups and detentions, prisoner searches and interrogations, and patrol operations on the Capitol Building lawns, the gates of the White House, the Washington Monument, the Treasury Building, and a military recruiting station. Troops barked orders, “To shut the hell up or I’ll blow their freaking head of!” to suspected insurgents and/or Iraqi civilians. Leaflets were distributed to people walking by to explain that “this is what is happening every day in Iraq.” Although the IVAW platoon was detained briefly near the Capitol Building, and shadowed by a multi-agency SWAT team, no casualties were taken. Midway throw the day the platoon joined a press conference with Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, and the Appeal for Redress to call on congress to “Support the troops by de-funding the war.”
§On patrol
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Near Capitol Building
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Scanning for urban dangers
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Suspects rounded up near Capitol Building
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§More suspected insurgents collected
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§IVAW platoon detained briefly by Secret Service and Park Police
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Insurgent gives no resistance
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Keeping Union Station safe
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Marine Sgt Liam Madden, an organizer of the Appeal for Redress
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Auto and occupants searched and questioned
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Suspects rounded up near military recruiting station
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Scanning for danger
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Everywhere possible insurgents
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Possible enemy combatants lined up near military recruiting station
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Ops near Washington Monument
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Marine Cpl Cody Richards urges people to sign up now for occupation duty
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§More civilians detained near White House
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

§Walking the line deep in enemy territory
by Jeff Paterson, Courage to Resist Monday Mar 19th, 2007 8:58 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by celia
( celia [at] riseup.net ) Monday Mar 19th, 2007 9:56 PM
thanks for these images... I hope the corporate media 'got it' ...

what a powerful action

really something

thanks IVAW!
by Antonia Juhasz
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 7:58 AM
Thank you all for being brave enought to do this action.

It was brilliant and moving and powerful.
by Each one tell your story
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 9:39 AM
Veterans, thanks! Telling your own story in words and actions is what makes movements strong.
by Peter Brunner VVAW
( curnon [at] comcast.net ) Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 10:07 AM
I don’t remember us (VVAW) looking that good in 1971. Same war, same oil, same corporate greed, same ole lies from the same ole chicken-hawks, but, much better pictures, and more participation. Out-standing brothers and sisters!
Corpsman-Up Vietnam 68/69
by hannah johns
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 10:13 AM
even still photos show how powerful this action must have been.... seen alot of guerilla theater, some not very effective, but this.....should go on the road. kudos to the people acting as non-combatants, must have been emotional.

thanks to all participants, hope some of the onlookers got the point!
by Rose
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 10:16 AM
Wow, thank you veterans for bringing the war home, hopefully this will be a wake up call for all those who still support this war.
by Dr.Regino R. Diaz-Robainas
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 10:37 AM
Thank the veterans against the war for this action against the bloody oiligarchy. Resistance also involves fighting against the constant lie machine that paints the wars of aggression as noble and patriotic and hides the horror and greed.
by Garett Reppenhagen
( dc [at] ivaw.org ) Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 11:15 AM
Thanks for the amazing photos Jeff,

And thanks everyone for supporting IVAW and their Operation First Casualty,

It was an honor to have worked with my honorable fellow veterans, brave civilian actors and a huge staff of supporters. For everyone who has donated time, energy and love to IVAW I salute you.

Garett Reppenhagen
Chair for Iraq Veterans Against the War
by Beverly Alexander
( macbev [at] pon.net ) Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 11:28 AM
A great action and a great photo essay. I learned what the Vietnam war was about when I saw, back to back 1) Madame Nhu in a white brocade dress and 2) a peasant woman carrying her dead child. Please keep the enactments coming. Power may not be listening, but keep speaking the truth anyway. We hear you.
by Beverly Alexander
( macbev [at] pon.net ) Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 11:29 AM
A great action and a great photo essay. I learned what the Vietnam war was about when I saw,in Life Magazine, back to back 1) Madame Nhu in a white brocade dress and 2) a peasant woman carrying her dead child. Please keep the enactments coming. Power may not be listening, but keep speaking the truth anyway. We hear you.
by Xman
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 12:54 PM
Way to take direct action!
I hope these squads break out all over America!
by Joan Stallard
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 1:41 PM
This was very professionally performed and thank you for the huge effort to do it. We must put ourselves in the shoes of the iraqis who's lives are so haunted and fearful. Please, Congress, get us out of there NOW!
by allison yorra
( ay4codepink [at] gmail.com ) Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 2:11 PM
Powerful, sobering and wonderfully executed. I am mesmserized by photos, video etc. Hopw there are more of these actions...
by Ken Krayeske
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 2:15 PM
I witnessed this yesterday in front of union station and it kind of freaked me out. I saw it, and I just walked away, because I figured it was a para-military urban terrorist training drill by local police or something. I thought it was wierd how people (like me) just went along on their normal daily routine, seemingly accepting it and not paying much mind to the fact that men were accosting civilians on the sidewalk. And I said to myself, jeez, America is occupied territory.

Knowing that it was protest doesn't change how people around the demonstration responded to it.

Thanks for shaking my headspace up a little bit.
by --
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 3:37 PM
Wow. Thanks for the incredible action. As a civilian, I have been speaking out against the war since before we went in. I listened to Scott Ritter, one of the UN inspectors, so I knew the Iraqis didn't have WMD's.

It's easy to feel frustrated at this point. However, it is much harder for people to ignore vets.

Thank you for putting your power where it is most needed--right in our government's face.
by SWN
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 4:10 PM
More people need to see this and know about the Veterans Against the War!
by Jean Gerard
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 4:14 PM
I have some brief skit scripts if you ever think about setting up scenes here and there.
I was glad and heartened to see that the vets once again are leading the way -bringing the reality of war home to dumbed down Americans. When will the mass response be large enough to end this madness?
by Steve Bartelt
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 6:09 PM
I'm not a vet, myself, so when, as a peace activist, I encounter someone who says we are being disrespectful to vets, I'm very grateful to groups like IVAW and Vets For Peace for providing a most powerful antidote. And this is the best use of street theater I've seen. Wonderful stuff! Thank you.
by Phreaque
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 7:03 PM
I just want to say thank you, IVAW.
by peggy for peace
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 7:27 PM
Thanks so much for what you did in DC yesterday and for all the other actions you have performed trying to get the attention of the general population and the Congress and Administration. Your willingness to "speak Truth to Power" is awesome. Keep up the fantastic work you are doing to remind this nation that it is in a war of aggression and we need to get out now!
by Bertha Justice
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 8:15 PM
interesting how few bystanders were paying attention.....
by Chris for Peace
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 8:24 PM
Thank you for presenting truth with such great vision and clarity.
by scott Denny
Tuesday Mar 20th, 2007 8:52 PM

I thought it was real at first as I didn't realize for a second that they didn't have any guns. It feels like they do though. Great idea. A visual taste for civilians to see a little about what goes on. Just a hint of how dark and ugly things are.
Now posted with a link on our site: http://impeachforpeace.org/impeach_bush_blog/?p=758

Semper pacificus.

Mikael Rudolph and Daniel Fearn
(meet some of ya'll in Seattle at the VFP Convention)

by Tina Louise
Wednesday Mar 21st, 2007 3:01 AM
To Jeff Patterson and all those brave souls who sought to bring the hhonest horror, humiliation, fear and terror of the situation in Iraq into the real world. Our samitised reports on mainstream news can never recreate in us the fear that our governments have put into the Iraqis - Iraqis who just like us, simply want to go to work, enjoy their families, plan leisure time and have a sense of safety and peace in their own homes.

Well done all who continue to try to be heard, to be seen and to bring the lunacy of the Iraq war/invasion to an end. We need success for our fellow man as well as ourselves.

Tina Louise
by Gordon Soderberg
Wednesday Mar 21st, 2007 6:53 AM
Copy the following to embed the movie into another web page:
download video:

ivawwashdc.mov (1.6MB)

by Brooks Campbell
( vet4peace [at] comcast.net ) Wednesday Mar 21st, 2007 3:07 PM
Thank you ! I can imagine 100 doing what you did tomorrow and then 1000 and then a surge to 150,000 ...What would the woman quoted in the Washington Post article say then, about you all "getting in the way". Part of the 25% that still don't get it and won't until "their" cow is stolen. Hmmmm... Battle groups in the gulf....???
by Michael J Olson
( michaeljolson_edd [at] hotmail.com ) Thursday Mar 22nd, 2007 3:27 AM
Right ON brothers! (from a Vietnam Veteran Against the War)
by Stan
Thursday Mar 22nd, 2007 8:32 AM
It's come to this. Civilians -- who are supposed to control the military -- forced an end to the madness of the Vietnam War.

Now, the current batch of civilians aren't up to it; the military has to do it for them. It really makes one pause when one hears that phrase "support the troops".

by Sheridan Peterson
Thursday Mar 22nd, 2007 9:11 PM
That's good for a start; however it needs to be more realistic. Wooden weapons that fire caps mounted with wooden bayonets painted silver, fire crackers, buckets of red paint that can be washed away. Humdrees with turrets and machine guns. Shreeking children, bandaged civilians mainly elderly women.
by un compa
Saturday Mar 24th, 2007 5:39 PM
This was beautiful and inspiring. Y'all some brave mother fuckers. I never been in the military, but I imagine that they don't look to kindly on stuff like this.
Much love from the hood.
Keep it up, and we'll stop this shit once and for all.
by Luna Crow
( lunacrowlove [at] yahoo.com ) Saturday Mar 24th, 2007 6:11 PM
The bravery and integrity these men are showing has brought me to tears. It rekindles my . hope for humankind. My prayers go out for these men that they be protected and can stay strong for we most certainly need men like this right now. These are true warriors. I would like to tell them in person how grateful I am (and I'm sure many others) and give each one a big hug.
by daniel w rhoads
Sunday Mar 25th, 2007 12:49 PM
i cant ungerstand why the american congress, either"CANT" or" WONT" DO ANYTHING ABOUT THE ABSOLUTE CRIMINAL way this country is being run by these assholes- they are too self centered about their own ass's so they sit arround and let the whole country go down the drain.- how many more boys have to die for this lunicy?
by John Mason
( jomason57 [at] verizon.net ) Thursday Mar 29th, 2007 7:45 PM
Thanks, Iraq Veterans Against the War, for letting us here see what war really loks like, without the news media filtering it. We in this country don't have troops marching through our streets or car bombs going off, so this shows us what military occupation looks like. PLEASE keep up the work!
by Pallist
( pallist3-n4ptimes@yahoo..com ) Saturday Mar 31st, 2007 7:26 PM
My group was sent these images via our listserve and I hope to follow it up with similar actions in the Chicago area! It is so sad and disgusting that this kind of drama is necessary. Yet we must perform it in order for people to wake up to what our country has become!
by e. vaughn guloyan
( evaughng [at] tampabay.rr.com ) Wednesday Apr 4th, 2007 4:03 PM
What you did was great --it was imaginative, creative, and
The technique holds great potential for consciousness raising.
Consequently, I suggest a day of several [or many]such
actions in a busy area at a critical time [like lunchtime].
Goodluck for a noble cause.
by Cathy Clark
Tuesday Apr 10th, 2007 4:17 PM
In April 1971 I was taken as a POW by Viet Nam Vets Against the War when they camped out on the Mall in Washington D.C. It was a powerful experience and I was glad to see it being repeated by IVAW. My son served in Afghanistan and Iraq w/the 82nd. He is now serving with the Reserve and has changed his m.o.s. He now understands what his Dad, a Viet Nam Vet, and I were trying to tell him and will do whatever it takes to not participate in this horrible war again. And I will help. Thanks for taking a stand.
by Dawn
Saturday May 26th, 2007 9:36 AM
This type of direct action is teaching exactly what "Thou Shalt Not Kill" and "Love Thy Neighbor" looks like. Thank you for your blessed work.
by jen
Tuesday May 29th, 2007 9:44 AM
I am so profoundly proud to call you my fellow Americans.
Thank you for speaking out.
by Jon Stone
( stoneje [at] email.uc.edu ) Thursday May 31st, 2007 7:44 AM
Thank you for this demonstration. As a former Marine myself, our actions in Iraq are deplorable and disgusting. I am truly embarrassed by our country's actions there and for the thousands of innocent people/victims in Iraq. It truly is our generation's Vietnam with no victory for anyone involved.
by Karma Tenzing Wangchuk
Thursday May 31st, 2007 9:35 AM
thank you for bringing the war closer to home. it's deeply encouraging in this very dark time to see young men and women come back from the war and bring truth to our streets in the form of powerful theatre. bless you all for your courage, creativity, and leadership. together, we can take back the white house and halls of congress. let's do it--vietnam vet and member, veterans for peace
by mopinko
( mo_cahill [at] sbcglobal.net ) Thursday May 31st, 2007 3:05 PM
this is a fabulous action. i hope you take it to other cities. i hope you repeat it in d.c. might be nice if a few congresscritters found themselves among the detainees.
keep up the good work.
by David McNulty
Friday Jun 1st, 2007 4:01 PM
Anyone whose discharge status change due to these re-enactments automatically becomes more honorable as the US military dishonors itself further by doing the bidding of an insane CIC.
by BC
Saturday Jul 14th, 2007 9:38 PM
Theres the queen of IVAW, Kelly Dougherty, who never saw combat, let alone went on a patrol, theres is Geoff "Stolen Valor" Millard who was a secretary who never left the wire (did he award himself another CIB and CMOH for playing patrol?), medic Perry Obrien who never left his base in Afghanistan, .... how many other of the palm pointers are just shitbag military wash-out REMFs looking to play soldier while challenging the illegal war in Iraq?

Any coverage of the IVAW float in the SanFran Gay Pride parade with IVAW's "gayest member" Stephen Funk?
by Jim Mirich
Thursday Aug 16th, 2007 1:21 PM
My son served in Afghanistan and Iraq w/the 82nd. He is now serving with the Reserve and has changed his m.o.s. He now understands what his Dad, a Viet Nam Vet, and I were trying to tell him and will do whatever it takes to not participate in this horrible war again. And I will help. Thanks for taking a stand.
Tuesday Oct 30th, 2007 7:07 PM

Wow, what a THEATRICAL, ARTISTIC perspective on OIF... but is it accurate?

As a member of the armed forces who has served twice in Iraq (OIF-2/-4), and who is now completing a PhD on counter-insurgency and urban operations involving Iraq (2004-2007), I am somewhat perplexed by the actions of IVAW et al.

I support freedom of speech and expression, and frankly IVAW can continue to demonstrate and engage in street theater to their hearts content. What is obviously lacking in their displays (written, verbal, etc), is a depiction of the complexity and reality of the operational environment, the men and women involved in such operations, the changes in policy and tactics since 2003, and the complicated and often contradictory perspectives of Iraqi civilians.

There have been fantastic gains AND significant losses over the last four and a half years, and while operations have been difficult, I am convinced that progress has been made - though at a cost to Americans, Iraqis, and Coalition members alike. Of course, one could certainly ask if my perspectives, and indeed if I as an individual see things objectively? I don't believe anyone could claim to be completely objective, though I make a concerted effort to listen to and read the opinions of those who do not share my viewpoint, as well as question my own assumptions and the veracity of information. I would ask if members of this forum and IVAW honestly do the same?

While the IVAW performance is provocative, it seems to be little more than insular, circumscribed theatrics... where is the theatrical portrayal that goes beyond presence patrols and detainee operations? Where are the scenes of Soldiers and Marines playing with children, the rebuilding a school, the mismanagement of reconstruction funds by contractors, the meeting where Sunni tribal sheikhs want to join US forces because al-Qa'ida in Iraq terrorized their people and killed their sons, the Marine jailed for mistreating or killing an Iraqi civilian, or the massive decrease in sectarian violence and criminality in Baghdad over the last few months (and not just according to figures supplied by the DOD, but verified by the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, the Times (London), etc), the poor policy choices made by civilian leaders in the past that have influenced current ground realities, or the close-knit bonds that have developed between Soldiers at Combat Outposts and local Iraqis?

The fight for stability and security in Iraq is far too important and complex to trivialize it by saying 'everything is good' or 'everything is bad'... its an answer most people don't like, or want to accept. But in the case of Iraq, reductionist thinking will only provide simplistic, incomplete perspectives. Is an immediate withdrawal the correct course of action? Is any death of a member of our military worth the cost? At what point would it be worth the cost? If you're dead-set against foreign interventionism, particularly by military means, is that consistent with your perspectives on both Iraq AND Afghanistan, or does Afghanistan somehow not apply, or not apply as much? Would you have or have you protested past wars? Or is Iraq somehow different? And why? If you can answer these questions with using simplistic answers such as 'coz of the oil', or 'Iraq was an illegal war'... you're probably not getting my point.

But fear not, if you disagree with me or are challenged in your thinking, all you have to do is call me a war-monger, a part of the establishment, and casually toss aside my remarks - its up to you.


by David Harris
Sunday Nov 4th, 2007 7:14 AM
I think this sort of display is important. However, I believe good journalism and objective documentaries accomplish much more than these sort of antics. Americans don't want to be bothered with the war in Iraq in their day to day lives. That's why they didn't join the military. Invading their space and occupying public areas I guess does add to the overall effect the group must have been after. I'm in the Army but have never really deployed except for a week in Afghanistan which I don't think really counts. I would say, I don't really appreciate seeing people so unkempt wearing a uniform. If you're going to put on a uniform, at least shave and cut your hair. It makes it seem like the point of your display is to shame and disgrace soldiers instead of American foreign policy, which is what I think should be addressed. I think it is interesting to note the differences between the Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Iraq Veterans Against the War groups. The VVAW probably had a large number of vets who were drafted, but IVAW are all volunteers. Does it make a stronger or weaker statement for a volunteer soldier to speak out against his government's actions compared to someone who was conscripted? Although, I guess in America, even draftees can be considered volunteers since they could have gone to Canada, Mexico, or jail (which all sound like better options than Vietnam) as a way of choice. well, I guess I don't know what to think about this display one way or another. I am proud of you for having served and I am also proud that we have soldiers willing to speak honestly about their experience in Iraq, but maybe that is a stronger statement than a performance in a park. Just make friends with people and one on one tell them about what you saw and what you did. I think that will stick with people more than someone thinking "I saw some bearded soldiers acting silly by the white house....fuck you Lockheed Martin"
by Robert Placer
Wednesday Jan 2nd, 2008 7:36 PM
This is an amazing display of reality for the American public. How did you organize this event? Did you get permits to do this or were you arrested for doing this? Next time you plan one of these reenactments let me know. I would like to play the part of a civilian under occupation. My postal address is the following:

Robert Placer
P.O. Box 29
Quakertown. PA 18951-0029
Tuesday Mar 4th, 2008 9:17 AM
For all the Marines out there, you should take a better look at youself. This is a War we may have started for the wrong reasons but, we have an obligation to fix what we broke. Or this will end up just like Afghanistan and the Taliban. Leaving a pulling all reasources out of a country torn apart will only breed hate and extremeism. As an USMC Infantryman deployed twice to Fallujah and Ramadi when it was still hot, I can see this. In many cases its not pretty but it is war. You just have to regulate as best you can. This Will Never Be A Vietnam!!
by Lucyd'vue
( pmernaburna [at] gmail.com ) Wednesday Jan 21st, 2009 12:00 AM
Brilliant protest. Absolutely love it. If you ever want to do one in Chicago Contect me so I can be an enemy combatant and get arrested.
This looks ridiculous in pictures. It must've looked even more ridiculous in person. However, I commend you folks for doing this. Hopefully, there was a narrator in accompaniment to explain the value of the patrols, searches, and questioning of suspects/criminals. Thank you for your service to the USA in war and peace. Getting the message out to the public about the US's efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places around the world directly affects the safety, security, and livelihood of people living in the USA is critical. So, regardless of how silly you all may have felt doing this, your work is appreciated. Thanks for helping people understand the importantance of the US mission in Iraq.
by Patriot
Saturday Dec 18th, 2010 7:13 PM
Thanks for your comment. You are correct. In addition to a narrator to explain the importance of the events taking place, it would also be informative for a narrator to explain the tactics, techniques, and procedures used during the patrols, searches, and questioning in order to explain to the public why these exact measures are required.