About Face: Veterans Against the War

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Iraq Against the War marching in Boston, October 2007

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is an advocacy group of formerly active-duty United States military personnel, Iraq War veterans, Afghanistan War veterans, and other veterans who have served since the September 11, 2001 attacks; who were opposed to the U.S. military invasion and occupation in Iraq from 2003 to 2011. The organization advocated the immediate withdrawal of all coalition forces in Iraq, and reparations paid to the Iraqi people. It also provides support services for returning veterans to include health care and mental health.[1][2][3]


The membership is composed of American military veterans, active-duty service personnel from all branches of the military, and U.S. National Guard members and reservists who have served since September 11, 2001.[4] Prospective members are required to provide proof of military service.[5]

The group was founded in July 2004, with much controversy due to its exclusion of Desert Storm veterans, who most obviously had served in Iraq, and were opposed to war. Desert Storm veteran Dennis Kyne spoke at the opening session during the Veterans for Peace (VFP) convention against this separation. To date, veterans who served in Iraq before the re-invasion in 2003 have still not been invited to membership. The group formed at the annual Veterans for Peace convention in Boston, with guidance from Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) seven veterans: former Executive Director Kelly Dougherty (U.S. Army), Tim Goodrich (U.S. Air Force), Mike Hoffman (U.S. Marine Corps), Alex Ryabov (U.S. Marine Corps), Jimmy Massey (U.S. Marine Corps), Isaiah Pallos (U.S. Marine Corps), and Diana Morrison (U.S. Army).[4]

By 2008, the majority of the founding members had separated from the organization.[citation needed]

By 2010, About Face had 61 chapters around the United States; one in Toronto, Canada, made up of war resisters; and a chapter in Germany, five of which are on active duty military bases. The six active duty chapters are on Fort Drum, New York; Fort Meade, Maryland; Fort Lewis, Washington; Fort Hood, Texas; Lawton-Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Camp Lejeune and MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina.[6] Members of the organization reside in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Canada, Europe, and on numerous bases overseas, including bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Membership is currently over 1,800 persons.[7]

Truth in Recruiting[edit]

About Face has actively participated in a nationwide Truth in Recruiting campaign aimed at countering alleged misconceptions of military service propagated by recruiters. Currently, many About Face members are involved in "equal access" policies at high schools across the country.[4]

Stop-loss policy[edit]

About Face has protested the military's stop-loss policy, which is an extension of soldiers' Active Duty service period by the Department of Defense. All service members sign up for a minimum of eight years of total service, a portion of which (generally around four years) is served in the Inactive Ready Reserve. The Defense Department may recall members from inactive service as noted in their enlistment contracts. Several tower-guard vigils against the stop-loss have been held in various places including Colorado Springs, Colorado; Bellingham, Washington; and Washington D.C.[1]

Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan[edit]

Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan was an event in Washington, D.C. in March 2008, run by About Face, at which U.S. veterans spoke about their experiences during the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan (2001–present). It was inspired by the similar 1971 event put on by Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW).[citation needed]

Action following Fort Hood shooting[edit]

Following the Fort Hood shooting of November 5, 2009, Michael Kern, former President of the Fort Hood About Face chapter attempted to hand President Obama a statement from the organization, when the President visited his barracks at Fort Hood on November 10. The statement in part demanded that the military radically overhaul its mental health care system, and halt the practice of repeated deployment of the same troops.[8]

In August 2010, members of the About Face took part in protesting the deployment of the 3rd ACR[clarification needed] as the troops were leaving for Iraq. During the protest, at least one person tried to stand in front of the buses carrying the troops.[citation needed]

Refuge in Canada[edit]

A majority of Canadians are of the view that U.S. war resisters who had fled to Canada to avoid having to serve in Iraq should be able to remain in Canada.[citation needed] The Canadian parliament is considering an amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which would provide legal sanctuary for U.S. war resisters.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Peter Phillips; Andrew Roth (2011). Censored 2009: The Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007-08. Seven Stories Press. pp. 299, 302–303.
  2. ^ Nan Levinson (2014). War is Not a Game: The New Antiwar Soldiers and the Movement They Built. Rutgers University Press.
  3. ^ "About Face (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War) Archives". new.Booklyn.org. Booklyn. Retrieved 2021-06-25.
  4. ^ a b c Manski, Sarah. "Nothing Short of Criminal". Liberty Tree Journal. 2 (3): 6. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2008.
  5. ^ "Verification of Service | Iraq Veterans Against the War". www.IVAW.org. Iraq Veterans Against the War.
  6. ^ "Chapters and Regions | Iraq Veterans Against the War". www.IVAW.org. Iraq Veterans Against the War.
  7. ^ "Iraq Veterans Against the War". www.IVAW.org. Iraq Veterans Against the War.
  8. ^ "Fort Hood soldiers suggest overhaul of mental health treatment to the President". www.IVAW.org. Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) National Newsletter. April 9, 2014.
  9. ^ "Canada wants US war resisters to stay: Bill C-440 is before parliament to legislate what most Canadians approve: sanctuary for US soldiers who object to the Iraq War". www.TheGuardian.com. The Guardian. 29 September 2010.

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