Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Casey J. Porter was a MSgt in the Army and served several tours in Iraq. His films and videos of his experiences as a GI in Iraq have been posted on this blog in the past. You can see them here:

This is a letter Casey has written about his experience with the IVAW (

After serious and long-term consideration, I have decided to end my association with Iraq Veterans Against the War. This was not a choice I made overnight or lightly, but one I must make for many reasons. I would also like to make clear that I very much appreciate the help, support and friendship of many individuals within the membership of IVAW. My reasons for leaving IVAW are in regards to the organization as a whole. IVAW lacks the professionalism necessary to be taken seriously as a legitimate anti-war organization. Whether we like to think so or not, appearance is important in how society views an organization and it's membership. There is a time and place for t-shirts such as rallies, marches, and things like that. IVAW should be requiring it's membership to dress appropriately for TV interviews, whether it's a shirt and tie, or a uniform worn correctly. By doing so, IVAW would be taken seriously as an organization to contend with, rather than another radical activist movement. IVAW is losing its focus on the message/goal of ending the war in Iraq. The national organization for IVAW is highly ineffective and unwilling to take steps to protect the entire organization and their membership. There is a long string of people within the Anti-War Movement and IVAW who will get behind anyone willing to put their face in front of a camera without consideration as to whether that person or their story is in the best interest of the organization. I believe that the organization has too many members willing to push a different agenda, and is causing IVAW to lose focus on that goal. So much so, that people who question the policies and direction being taken over by a “socialist” agenda are attacked. When I first started speaking out, the local Austin Socialist activists were very supportive, and continue to be. They put some of there other causes to the side when helping us. Then if other IVAW members want to work with them, they do. The IVAW board can not seem to understand this very basic principle. Just to be clear, it's not about the “socialist” agenda, anymore than it would be about any other agenda, whether it was “republican” or “capitalist”. It's about having an organization with too many of one group of people at the helm who could steer IVAW towards their agenda, which covers many topics, rather than keeping the focus where it should be. That is, ending the war in Iraq. IVAW has shown a serious dereliction of duty in their lack of support for active duty military members. Many people have asked me what we can do to get soldiers to speak up within the military who are against the dual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. First and foremost, they need someone to turn to, and that organization should be IVAW. However, I can tell you from my personal experience that IVAW, as an organization, does very little, if anything, to support those who stand up within the military. The most support I received from the organization was to have my films on the front page of the website for a short time. I was not looking for monetary donations, but support in the form of promotion via media contacts and also to have my videos used by IVAW to further our goal of ending the war in Iraq. I was willing to fall on my sword, Vlad the Impaler style, in order to bring proof of why the war needs to be ended on film as it happened. Instead, all of the media contacts I have, I had to develop from Iraq via a phone connection with a four second delay and night after night of sending out emails, making phone calls, and editing the films. I know people say I have a big ego and that I love attention, but the message is and has always been my top priority. The fact that IVAW did not promote my films does not hurt my ego, it hurts that they didn't see it fit to devote anytime to what I was doing other than keeping my films on their main page for no longer than a month. Another prime example of no support is Selena Coppa. She has been under immense pressure from her chain of command yet continues to fight hard and loud. When she decided to take on the Socialist element within IVAW she was crucified. The ISO has many Anti-War organizations it uses as fronts, and IVAW just might be one of them. It may not have started out that way, but it is now. These members are not concerned with ending the war in Iraq as they are much more concerned with pushing an overall Socialist agenda. Now Selena is under pressure from the very last group that should be on her case. To those on the board of IVAW that would silence Sgt. Coppa, your actions are disgraceful and you are the worst kind of people: cowards. There are other active duty soldiers that have spoken out and continue to do so. However, to the best of my knowledge, IVAW has done nothing to support them. I fear what will happen to these members, who are putting themselves out there as part of an organization, if the Army ever clamped down on them. I fear IVAW will be nowhere to be seen. I see no support from the organization, and therefore I cannot in good faith recommend joining IVAW to other active duty soldiers I know. I'm sure the Army will be happy to read that. IVAW has put itself, and its membership, into a dangerous legal position by retaining some “problem children” as members. For example, Carl Webb places IVAW in a very serious position through his advocacy of radical action from the safety of his keyboard. Advocating of sabotage and other such actions puts other people's lives at risk and IVAW by not condemning such rhetoric and disassociating itself from persons who advocate sabotage places all members in a compromised position. It now becomes dangerous to any active duty soldier who wants to speak out by giving the Army the ammunition it needs to paint IVAW as a radical and dangerous organization. If it went to trial, all a prosecutor would have to do is point out these posts and that alone could sway a Military Jury into believing the organization is radical and advocates sabotage. And yet, IVAW is silent on Carl Webb and his methods that place other soldiers in harm's way. There is a time for forgiveness and tolerance, but I cannot be part of an organization that will not take action when a member willfully advocates putting others in harm's way. By allowing people like Carl Webb to remain a part of IVAW, not only does IVAW have a serious legal issue, it also keeps other potential members from joining. Why doesn’t the board try to remove Carl? He lashes out at other members, like me for example, and pushes for dangerous and illegal action. But guess what side he is on in IVAW? The Socialist side. IVAW treats its members with inequity and lacks credibility. While an admitted rapist, and being a party to rape on more than one occasion, Matthis Chiroux, is accorded accolades for making a big deal out of something that required no action on his part to begin with. There are also allegations that he used donated money from IVAW members and activists to pay his rent and buy drugs. But the board does not seem to be concerned with investigating or kicking him out. They even posted his “confession” on the main page of the IVAW site! Where he only brings up the rapes not out of a moral awakening but because he got called out on it. Furthermore, he blames the Army for it. The Army mindset and training made him a rapist. That is just a load of garbage and any who believes that is a fool. I also talked to the Executive Director, Alex Bacon, about this. I brought up how this is public relations nightmare and that Matthis must be dealt with. But he believes that this will not be big issue. IVAW has tried that in the past with disastrous results. I am very disappointed to see the new Director being so soft on such a volatile issue. That IVAW threw so much support behind someone like Matthis, who only had to not show up to something and would have been fine, and left active duty soldiers with little to no support, is a travesty against the many fine people involved in this organization. I read time and time again "We are made up of many different people with many different ideas and we need to be respectful of those ideas." That translates into "We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings." No matter how badly some members conduct themselves, IVAW and the "movement" seems to handle everyone with kid gloves, when they should be acting to protect the organization and it's members. It also angers me to no end how people still support Matthis. Killing someone in the heat of battle, or reflecting on past actions and coming to terms with them and speaking out is one thing. But he only came out about these crimes because he had too. Rape is nowhere near the same as taking a life in combat. I am also surprised how many women still support him. Do you ladies have any self-respect? Let’s go find the women he knew were being raped, and raped himself, and let them read his letter and see if they buy his new found “wisdom”. Here is the real kicker: neither Matthis Chiroux or Carl Webb have violated IVAW’s ultr-loose fitting rules. That’s disturbing to me and there must be some sort of accountability. To those who would marginalize the board, IVAW national, or issues dealing with Matthis and Carl you are not seeing this for what it is. Saying that we should just focus on the local level is like saying “Don’t pay attention to what your elected leaders in D.C. do, just focus on your local city government.” IVAW national represents us all, and people must understand that. As of now, all the films I have made with “IVAW Ft. Hood Presents” and credits for “” will stay in place since they are reaching a large audience and I believe it is information that needs to be out there. I want my profile removed from the IVAW site. There will be more films and interviews to come regarding the war in Iraq, however they will be done as Casey J Porter the filmmaker, not as an IVAW member. The Deployment Game: Livin' FOBulous will at some point be taken down and re-edited to remove the dedication title from the beginning to remove any reference to Matthis Chiroux. I will also be contacting the producer of Winter Soldier: Austin and see what happens from there with that film. My next film, Return of the Camaro, will be out on May 4th. Fire Mission, the next film dealing with Iraq, will be out on July 20th. Considering the legal liabilities, lack of support, possible financial mismanagement, and a rapist amongst the membership, I am removing myself from this organization effective immediately. To those among you who have been and continue to be supportive of me, I thank you for all that you have done. There are many good people involved with IVAW and I wish you luck. I ask all media contacts to no longer refer to me as an IVAW member. Casey J Porter


Bryan Casler said...

Just a point of correction I believe Casey is a Sgt not a MSgt.

Bill Corcoran said...

Bryan: Casey already told me that, but thanks for reminding me anyway.