Eli Israel

Eli Israel speaks out at Kennebunkport rally. 8/25/07. Photo: V Kelly Bellis

By Eleonai “Eli” Israel. August 27, 2007

The last few months have changed my life forever. From Soldier, JVB Protective Service Agent, and Sniper in the middle of an occupation war, to anti-war veteran within days.

Thank you for your support during my moments of tragedy, and more importantly, thank you for the hope. It’s a hope for healing my soul, and finding ways to deal with the aftershocks from my role in the larger tragedy known as “Iraq”.

I arrived stateside from Iraq/Kuwait August 13, and was completely released from the military on August 17. I found myself back in my hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky planning to take some time off to “decompress”. However, I quickly found myself writing to Courage to Resist and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) instead, asking what I could do now to help the cause and to end the war. Together the two groups flew me to Syracuse, New York where I have hooked by with other members of IVAW and have attended a series of speeches, press conferences, rallies, and marches. Just hours ago we returned from the huge anti-Iraq-War march in Kennebunkport, Maine.

It’s been a pretty busy first week, but I can’t bear not being active. It’s not enough for me to take comfort in the fact that I am longer over there myself. There is too much at stake. People are dying, people are killing, people are being tortured in their own homes, right now, and in our name in Iraq. I have to do something.

Our brothers and sisters (the other members of the military who are caught in this occupation) are still involved in this conflict under compulsion. Many, if not most of them, are either consciously opposed to the occupation, or are forced to make attempts to justify their actions.

One soldier that I met this week is suffering from PTSD, and he is being sent back to Iraq without care. His unit has refused to schedule an appointment for him to see a psychiatrist until after his new deployment begins. It is for reasons just like this that we are now truly fighting for our fellow brothers and sisters. We need to do more to assist returning veterans who are neglected by the VA system as well.

I’m also getting ready to begin the fight to have my name cleared, my discharge upgraded, and to regain my veterans benefits that were taken from me after I voiced my opposition to the Iraq occupation.

I’m hoping to use my experience and my education to change the course our country has been on: To end the policies of occupation. To stop the avoidance of domestic defensive measures. To end the violations of domestic liberties. And to stop the heavy-handed offensive actions around the world which are done in the name of security, but which instead result in more insecurity.

This starts now and it starts with us. Thank you, all of you, for your support in the cause that we now stand for together.

Seek the truth, make the stand.