NATO Summit: Veterans Share Views on NATO, Afghanistan

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By Laura Fitzgerald and Cheryl Waity
The Red Line Project
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2012

As world leaders prepare to make decisions on the fate of the war in Afghanistan at the NATO summit this weekend in Chicago, the Iraq Veterans Against War members are preparing to symbolically return their medals from serving in these wars in a Sunday ceremony outside McCormick Place.

As the dignitaries discuss foreign policy inside, the veterans will occupy the corner of Cermak Road and Michigan Avenue along with other protesters. Their ceremony will take place behind anti-scaling fence that separates them by two blocks from the decision-makers inside McCormick.

The war in Afghanistan has lasted more than 10 years. According to Department of Defense, records the total number of deaths for the war in Afghanistan at 1,965 as of May 16.

According to a New York Times/ CBS News poll, 69 percent of Americans believe their country should not be at war in Afghanistan

And while they won’t be consulted about policy issues, the veterans’ service overseas has shaped their views of America’s involvement in Afghanistan. Here is what three veterans think (click on name for full story):

Acheson Photo by Laura Fitzgerald"This is not the first time that NATO has directed illegal and unjust wars in the name of war-profiteering. Unless we stand up and use our First Amendment rights to show them how much we disapprove of their actions and policies, this type of warfare will continue to plague us as a society and species."
David Gagliano Photo by Laura Fitzgerald"I don’t really know what are we getting out of Afghanistan now. And I guess that’s why we’re getting out now. I completely support the president and everybody else who’s saying we need to get out. I think a managed withdrawal is definitely the right thing to do to try to hand it over to the Afghans.” 
Joe Franzese Photo by Cheryl Waity"Afghanistan has turned into the longest war in American history. And you’ve got to look at the cost of life on both sides-the civilian casualties, the enemy casualties and the U.S. casualties. And what’s it all worth and why have we done it?” 

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