Are you a veteran on a wait list? Here's who to contact
Is the Department of Veterans Affairs making mistakes on war-related disability claims at a higher rate than previously acknowledged? The Center for Investigative Reporting reviewed a year's worth of VA inspector general's audits and found an error rate of 38 percent in a sample of 1,200 high-profile claims. The VA, which acknowledges it makes mistakes on 14 percent of disability claims, says the targeted audits are not an accurate representation of the agency as a whole. But veterans' appeals clog the system, lengthening the delays for all veterans. Nationwide, the average wait time for an answer on a claim is 260 days, two months longer than a year ago.
Visit the web site of Center for Investigative Reporting for details here.
The GI Rights Hotline
A network of nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations who provide free and confidential information to service members about military discharges, grievance and complaint procedures, and other civil rights to include a toll free phone hotline (1-877-447-4487). Every member of the military should know about this resource. If you would like convenient pocket cards, either for yourself or for other members of your unit, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or
Click here for more info.
The Military: It's Not Just a Job.... It's 8 Years of Your Life:
What you should know before joining the military
Are you considering enlistment? You’ve probably heard the ads and the recruiter’s sales pitch. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? All advertising does. But if military life doesn’t live up to the advertising, you can’t bring your enlistment agreement back to the recruiter for a refund, and you are obligated to the military for a total of eight years, including reserve duty when you could be called back.
You wouldn’t buy a car without looking under the hood. Don’t enlist before you check out the reality of military life that lies behind the glamorous television ads and slick brochures. Check it out carefully!
Click here to download this brochure
Afghanistan: Ten Reasons to Reconsider Enlistment
[PDF Leaflet-short version ]
- Like Iraq, it is also illegal
- No military solution to terrorism
- Funds used for war are needed at home
- Civilian casualties are not acceptable
- War is not good for women in Afghanistan
- Support the troops: Bring them home now
- Torture and human rights abuses
- Climate change and resource wars
- War destabilizes Afghanistan and the region
- Respect Afghani self-determination; No to global military intervention
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
The following resources are provided to steer you toward organizations and agencies that have programs to help homeless women veterans. You should also seek assistance from your local Department of Social or Human Services. Check your local phone book for contact information.
Visit the web site of the Coalition for Homeless Veterans for more complete details.
Thinking of joining the U.S. Military to gain U.S. Citizenship?
Read this first!
1. Things to consider BEFORE joining the military to obtain your Green Card
2. Resources for Undocumented Students (provided by United Teachers Los Angeles UTLA)
Advice from veterans on military service and recruiting practices. A resource guide for young people considering enlistment.
Click here to download this brochure
Iraq War Veterans Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupation
Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War talked about their experiences in Iraq. Among the topics they addressed were hardships experienced by military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, equipment and combat conditions, as well as the quality of mental health issues. [ video testimony ]
Click here to watch these testimonies on C-SPAN
Know Your Rights
The chain of command doesn’t tell you about it but, you have rights. As the saying goes, "Use 'em or loose 'em." Get to know your rights and use them. You have a lot to gain by knowing what those rights are under the UCMJ. Signing on the bottom line does not mean you surrendered your right to express your opinions or to affiliate with groups such as Veterans For Peace or Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Your Rights Under the UCMJ
Courage to Resist
Courage in the military does not always mean boldly facing the dangers of battle. The courage to stand up in the face of adversity to do the right thing and set the ethical example is a value every military member should have. Brave and courageous men and women have refused and challenged illegal and unlawful orders during numerous wars, even refusing unlawful orders to be part of illegal wars. Although widely ignored, hidden and dismissed by history, war resistors have been a huge part of military personnel challenging the unjust, unethical and illegal actions of the US government.
One famous example during the Vietnam war was Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, who stopped the infamous massacre at My Lai. Chief My Lai prosecutor William Eckhardt described how Thompson responded when confronted with evidence of atrocity: "He put his guns on Americans, said he would shoot them if they shot another Vietnamese, had his people wade in the ditch in gore to their knees, to their hips, took out children, took them to the hospital..flew back to headquarters, standing in front of people, tears rolling down his cheeks, pounding on the table saying 'Notice, notice, notice'...then had the courage to testify time after time." Like many other resistors challenging unjust, unethical, and illegal actions, Hugh Thompson was ignored at the time, largely hidden and generally dismissed by military history. However, his actions, much like those of many other resisters, were crucial to saving the lives of innocents.
Click here to visit Courage to Resist.
Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK, Veterans Press 1
The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has founded a national suicide prevention hotline to ensure veterans in emotional crisis have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors. To operate the Veterans Hotline, the VA partnered with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Veterans can call the Lifeline number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), and press "1" to be routed to the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline. Click here for more information
Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan
Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan featured testimony from U.S. veterans who served in those occupations, giving an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground.
This four-day event brought together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan - and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists gave context to the testimony. These panels covered everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.
WATCH Winter Soldier Video Testimony
The Soldiers Project
A group of licensed mental health professionals who offer free and confidential psychological treatment to military service members (active duty, National Guard, Reserves and veterans) who have served or who expect to serve in OEF and/or OIF. The Soldiers Project also provides treatment to members of their families and other loved ones.
Click here for more info.
Conscientious Objector information
Conscientious objectors are people who refuse to participate in the military and war. Some become conscientious objectors after they have experienced being in the military firsthand, either during peacetime or wartime. Others are civilians who do things like oppose war taxes and work to reduce the role of the military in society.
Click here for more info.
Military Rape Awareness Week: October 12 - 16, 2009
Warning: Study says 1 in 3 Women RAPED or sexually harrassed in the Military A.G. Sadler, et al., Factors Associated with Women's Risk of Rape in the Military Environment, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 43:262-273 (2003). Important: see Erratum correcting study's rate of rape from 28% to 30%.
The view of women as sexual prey rather than as responsible adults has always been part of military culture. Women today are indispensable to the military. Nevertheless, one woman soldier observed: "There are only three things the guys let you be if you're a girl in the military - a bitch, a ho, or a dyke." Not all military men see women soldiers this way, but too many do. The hostility is shown by undermining women's authority, denying promotions, denigrating their work, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape.
Read more here
Military Rape Crisis Center
You are not alone. We are here to help. The Military Rape Crisis Center was developed in 2006 to provide support to all Active Duty Military and Veterans.
If you or someone you know has just been raped or sexually assaulted take these Immediate Steps and please contact us. Click here for more info.
The following report helps to shed light on military rape and gender related issues:
Gender in the Ranks - By Maya Schenwar - t r u t h o u t | Report
Appeal for Redress
The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation. The first Appeal signatures were delivered to members of Congress on January 16, to coincide with at the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2007. Appeal for Redress will continue to collect signatures until all active duty, Guard, and active reserve soldiers are out of Iraq.
Click here for more info and to sign the appeal.
The National Lawyers Guild Military Law Task Force
The National Lawyers Guild Military Law Task Force assists those working on military law issues as well as military law counselors working directly with GIs. It trains and mentors counselors and beginning military law attorneys in all aspects of military law through training materials and direct communication. It updates changes in military law and policy.
Click here to visit their web site.
Download their flyer for counseling services >> Click Here
What will happen if I go AWOL?
Being AWOL can be a serious offense, especially during a period of war. However, military personnel during the Vietnam war and the current war in Iraq have been going AWOL by the tens of thousands as a means of resisting and opposing illegal military actions/offenses and refusing to be forced by the state into violating ones conscience and legal duty to refuse and challenge unlawful orders.
Click here for more info.
Health Issues Fact Sheets
The possibility of death or injury as a result of military service is often associated with combat hostilities. However, one of the leading causes of injuries amongst veterans is not a result of the hostile actions of enemy combatants. Government neglect and corruption has poisoned and abandoned military personnel, exploiting and using them for short term military corporate goals and medical trials. Thousands of military personnel since the Gulf War have been poisoned by depleted uranium used in US military armaments causing staggering amounts of cancer, illness and “Gulf War Syndrome” along with birth defects of their children conceived after the war. Personnel have also suffered the adverse affects of drugs and vaccines given to them as well developing PTSD and suffering from a lack of treatment. The US government’s response to these vital issues amongst veterans is to deny that they exist.
Support for Families
Military Families Speak Out (MFSO)
MFSO is an organization of people opposed to the war in Iraq who have relatives or loved ones in the military. Formed by two families in November of 2002, we have contacts with military families throughout the United States, and in other countries around the world. Our membership currently includes over 3,000 military families, with new families joining daily. Click here for more info.
Gold Star Families For Speak Out (GSFSO)
Families of soldiers who have died as a result of war are organizing to be a positive force in our world to bring our country’s sons and daughters home from Iraq, to minimize the “human cost” of this war, and to prevent other families from the pain we are feeling as the result of our losses. Click here for more info.