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War Medals of Dishonor thrown out

Published time: May 25, 2012 22:30
Edited time: May 26, 2012 02:30

A U.S. war veteran pulls his medals off his uniform before throwing them towards the site of the NATO Summit in Chicago on May 20, 2012 (Reuters/Adrees Latif)

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RT speaks to US veterans who feel betrayed by the system that pushed them into fighting America’s false-pretense wars, as the former soldiers throw out their medals which they deem symbols of lies.

­Dubbed true patriots, they followed the order to fight their country’s battles. Scott Olsen survived two tours of Iraq, only to be critically injured upon returning home by police clashing with Occupy Oakland protesters.

"To do good work, help other people, to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and to defend our country,” explained Olsen of his reasons for joining the military.

But instead, Olsen — and many others—discovered an ugly truth about the military escapades they were involved in.

Raymond Earl Knaeble IV gave four years to the US Army, and spent five years in Kuwait as a contractor. His experiences changed his perception of America.

“They’re creating the violence. They’re stopping the peace. They’re uprooting the people from their culture, from their communities and killing people in drone attacks,” said Raymond.

This group of retired servicemen – members of Iraq Veterans Against the War – says the system they were part of is one that throws away billions of dollars on endless wars, yet pinches every extra penny when it comes to those fighting them.

“When veterans come home, 1 in 3 of them will be homeless. We have 18 veteran suicides every single day. Every 36 hours, an active duty soldier kills himself,” said veteran Graham Clumpner.

US war veterans are increasingly taking to the streets to challenge what they believe to be false-pretense wars.

“We don’t agree with this illegal occupation that’s being held in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and other foreign countries, because it’s a war not based off terrorism, it’s a war based off other motives – for money, political power, agendas, oil,” said US veteran Raymond Earl Knaeble IV.

Over the weekend in Chicago, dozens of veterans marched the streets, and dumped their war medals by simply throwing them out – in rejection of what those medals signify.

“Our enemies are not 7,000 miles from home. Our enemies are right here and we look at them every day,” said veteran Vincent Emanuele before getting rid of his medals.

In these protests, the veterans were joined by thousands of other Americans also outraged with US wars.

“The American people are angry, they are frustrated and they don’t know which way to turn anymore,” said Afghan war veteran Graham Clumpner.

With presidential elections around the corner, the group of veterans says real change can only come from the bottom up.

“I didn’t expect any changes in 2008 when Obama got elected, and I surely don’t expect any changes now,” said Vincent Emanuele.

Those once taking commands to fight on foreign soil are now taking command of the battle for peace at home.