Category Archives: Announcement

The Iraq War is ending, but the work continues…

It is still a bit hard to believe: after almost 9 years, the Iraq War – this war that should never have started, that inspired the largest protests the world had ever seen, that cost the lives of 4,470 service members and unknown thousands of Iraqi civilians – will officially come to an end. 

As military families, we rejoice when any troops come home, and we are relieved our loved ones will never again be deployed to Iraq.  However, we know that the war is not really over, not for military families, not for veterans, and not for the people of Iraq.  It is not over for families with loved ones who will leave Iraq only to be redeployed to Afghanistan. For the families whose loved ones never returned from Iraq, or who took their own lives, or who returned with significant physical and psychological wounds,  it will never really be over.

The people of Iraq will still be faced with private U.S. military contractors and years of rebuilding their country.  In Iraq, it is not just the military but the entire country that will have to deal with the physical and psychological wounds of war.  To add insult to injury, Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta recently announced that 40,000 troops will stay “in the region,” meaning the U.S. could easily have troops back on the ground in Iraq at any time.

There is still a lot of work to be done, and the voices of military families are more important than ever.  We must continue working for an end to the war in Afghanistan, for better treatment of our service members, and for proper care for all veterans.  We must hold our government accountable and continue to speak out.

As always, we say: “Bring ALL the troops home now, and take care of them when they get here!”

Afghanistan Veterans Against the War Speaking Tour

In July 2011, U.S. Army veterans Brock McIntosh and Jacob George returned to Afghanistan with a U.S. delegation for nonviolence, eager to meet with local Afghan peace and social justice organizations. Their mission was twofold: to gain a greater understanding of ordinary Afghans’ needs, fears, and desires for their country, and to discover ways U.S. activists can support indigenous nonviolent efforts to reach those goals.

Now back in the U.S., Brock and Jacob are prepared to report back to the American public on this landmark first dialogue between occupied and former occupiers. Embarking on a nation-wide speaking tour, Brock, Jacob, and other veterans will address the problematic nature of the U.S. occupation in Afghanistan using firsthand anecdotes as both soldier and observer. Brock and Jacob will draw on their recent experience in Afghanistan to facilitate a discussion on meaningful actions we as Americans can take to support Afghan civilians and their right to self-determination.

Click here to find an event near you.

Do You Love A Veteran? Call for Submissions

The second volume of “Do You Love a Veteran?” is in the works!

For the second volume, I am compiling a set of essays, poems, drawings, etc. about people’s experiences, joys, and struggles with supporting veterans and how these struggles have transformed them.

Submissions can be anonymous or credited depending on the author’s preference. We will distribute the zines amongst our communities and also leave these zines in places like VFWs or American Legions where other vets might pick them up and share them with their loved ones. They will also be distributed at VA Facilities. Submissions may also be published on this site, as the author wishes.

Submission Guidelines:
1. story, article, essay, poem, song, art work (children’s or adults’) by, for, and about loving a veteran or a GI and all the complexities that come with that.
2. Maximum length- 2 typed pages single spaced
3. Please include whatever identification information you would like included in the zine ( First Name, Last Name, Town, City, State, relationship to veteran…any or none of the above. This can be as credited or anonymous as you choose)
3. Deadline September 30th, 2011
4. E-mail all written submissions to  nbaltrushes@gmail.com . Art can be scanned and e-mailed or you may send it to:
Nicole Baltrushes
3324 W Palmer #1E
Chicago IL 60647

Getting Started:

If you’re having trouble getting started, here are some prompts that might help. You can just try free-writing and see what comes out. Often that can be the most honest and meaningful work.

When you (he/she) came home….

Since you’ve (she’s/he’s) been back…

How has war, and your loved one’s service, changed you?

I’m angry that…

I’m thankful that …