On May 20th, 2012, myself and dozens of veterans of the US/NATO-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan marched in protest of these wars and the NATO organization with an estimated 75,000 people in Chicago, Illinois. 60% of NATO funding comes from the United States, and serves to act as an extension of US foreign policy. NATO was designed to combat a Cold War threat to member nations that no longer exists. The United States and NATO wage wars of oppression for profit and political gain across the world that have killed millions.
Together with my sisters and brothers of the United States military, along with our sisters from Afghans for Peace, we marched to a location near the summit and threw away the tokens given to us by the military for our service in these wars, which we want nothing to do with. One of the best ways I've heard the act of returning medals described was in a letter written by a Vietnam Veteran who did the same thing in 1971, where more than 800 Vietnam Veterans threw their war medals onto the US Capitol steps. He wrote, "I repudiate the lies you told me to trick me into serving in your pointless and cynical war, and I repudiate the bad faith in which you told me those lies."
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have only served to destabilize the world, while raking in record profit for defense contractors and corporations. Hundreds of thousands of civilians and troops killed, billions upon billions of dollars spent, plunging the US into debt. Service members face an epidemic of suicide, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, unemployment, all at the hands of the organizations they serve who refuse to care for them when they return home. In a statistic from the Department of Veterans Affairs, 18 United States military veterans take their own lives daily.
Four Days in Chicago (documentary)