In Chicago on Sunday, nearly 50 U.S. military veterans at an anti-NATO rally in Chicago threw their service medals into the street, an action they said symbolized their rejection of the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They said they're proud of the men and women with whom they served, but not of missions they were asked to perform.
Marine Vet, Scott Olsen who was severely injured when he was hit in the head with a tear gas canister during an Occupy Oakland event in 2011 drew loud cheers from the crowd as he stepped up to speak and throw away his medals.
The "NoNATO" protesters said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are based on lies and failed policies, and that the wars have cost hundreds of thousands of lives and consumed trillions of dollars which could have been spent on schools, clinics and social programs at home.
Some are calling for the dissolution of NATO, the 63-year-old military alliance.
"We see that the global war on terrorism is a failed policy and we don't want to be part of that mistake anymore," Aaron Hughes, who served in Iraq in 2003, said prior to the event.
Hughes said he especially wants to call attention to the medical needs of American servicemen and women who are suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or are the victims of sexual assault. He said that too many are not having their needs addressed and instead are often being returned to combat.
"That's because of the generals and their failed policies, and not because of the service members. That's why we're going to march on NATO, and that's what this is really about. It's about them acknowledging that they made a mistake," he said.