Anti-war Iraq veterans arrested at Ft. Benning, Georgia

Anti-war Iraq veterans arrested at Ft. Benning, Georgia

COLUMBUS, GA – Three members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) were arrested on July 2nd and charged with criminal trespassing when they attempted to gain access to the base to meet with active duty soldiers there. Ft. Benning is the most recent stop of the group’s bus tour to military bases in the Southeast to outreach to active duty troops and listen to their stories.

After being told they could not wear ‘political t-shirts’ onto the base, Liam Madden and Nathan Lewis approached the gates of Ft. Benning to inquire with the guard there about gaining access. Both were wearing t-shirts that read, “Iraq Veterans Against the War.” They were immediately hand-cuffed and placed under arrest. Then, after changing out of his IVAW t-shirt into a plain shirt to avoid arrest, fellow member Adam Kokesh approached the gates, but he was also arrested. The three Iraq veterans were detained inside the Ft. Benning military police station for several hours. They were released and issued citations for court appearances on charges of criminal trespassing.

Two days earlier, Madden, Lewis, and Kokesh were among five Iraq veterans on the bus tour to be detained at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina under similar circumstances, but were released with no charges. The veterans have been traveling through the Southeast for the past ten days in an effort to reach out to thousands of service members who are now questioning the war in Iraq. The veterans have been visiting military installations and hosting BBQs for troops, dialoguing with them about the personal impact of the troop surge, and educating them about their rights to express their dissent as active duty personnel. “We feel we have a duty to talk with service members who may be deployed over to Iraq, to let them know what they’re in for, and that they do have rights,” stated Kelly Dougherty, Executive Director of Iraq Veterans Against the War who organized the tour.

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW)

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