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article imageVideo: Interview with Scott Olsen on why he gave back his medal

By Anne Sewell     Aug 12, 2012 in World
Chicago - RT interviews Scott Olsen, an Iraq vet who was badly injured in an Occupy protest in Oakland, on why he gave back his medal. He also explains why voting Republican or Democrat is a waste of time.
Scott Olsen is an Iraq war veteran and Occupy member, who sustained a bad head injury during an Occupy protest in Oakland in October 2011. He has recovered well, although his speech is still a little hesitant.
When asked about why he gave back his medal at the recent anti-Nato protest in Chicago, and whether he felt betrayed, Olsen replied:
" I really do. And betrayal is the biggest fact here I think. We have all joined the military for our own reasons. But we joined to help other people, to be part of something bigger than ourselves and to defend our country. And when we went over to Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever our service was, we saw that it just was not true and we are destroying people’s lives. We are not doing good work in Iraq or Afghanistan and that’s why I don’t want these medals. Because they represent something that is not important to me, it is meaningless to me. I am not proud of being part of the system that has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. That is not something to be proud of and that is not something to get an award for."
On the subject of army recruitment officers possibly lying to get people to enlist, Olsen says, "For military recruiters they at least mislead people. They may not lie to you, but they will mislead you, not give you the whole story. That’s why it is so important if you think of joining the military to talk to as many veterans as you can find and get as many points of view as you can."
When discussing the upcoming presidential elections in the U.S., critics are now saying that Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. Olsen is asked if he expects any kind of change to take place after the elections.
He replies: "Not particularly. Most likely people are either going to vote for Democrats or Republicans and I think both those are wrong choices. They are both working for the same system, they are both taking money from the same people, from the same banks and you can see in their policy that they are rewarding their donors. Voting for the continuing of this policy is not going to change anything at all."
RT asks Olsen about how the media is representing the Occupy movement.
He says, "They have covered it more than I was expecting them to. I didn’t expect much of them. And that’s why we come out here and we build our own media that we need. We build websites and do web live stream events for everybody to know and to find out what they are missing out. But it is a shame that the everyday American is not going to see those things. The American who turns on the six o’clock news, they don’t hear about these things, just like they don’t hear about the wars we are still in. Most Americans probably do not really know that we are at war. They aren’t affected by these things."
The full interview can be heard in the video above.
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