A video of US army men coming on stage and throwing their medals while criticizing the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan is viral. It is being claimed that 40,000 American troops returned their medals in protest against the US’s involvement in war in the two countries. Twitter user Rais Mohammad tweeted this video with the same claim. It amassed 2,400 views at the time of writing. (Archive link)

Facebook user Mir Hamid also posted this video with the same claim. It has been viewed about 9,500 times.

40,000 US soldiers who fought in #Afghanistan and #Iraq, #Resigned and #Threw away their war Medals in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq.

40,000 US soldiers who fought in #Afghanistan and #Iraq, #Resigned and #Threw away their war #Medals in #Solidarity with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. The accepted that “#The_War_on_Terror” was a Fake war. They are appologizing from the people of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by Mir Hamid on Thursday, October 7, 2021

It is widespread on Facebook and Twitter.

The video is also being circulated with an identical message in Hindi. It has made its way to WhatsApp as well.

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Alt News found a video report by ‘Democracy Now’ dated May 21, 2012, where scenes from the viral video appear at the 8:20 mark. According to the report, a group of American soldiers who fought in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan resigned in protest of the 2012 NATO summit and returned their medals while apologizing to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Reuters also covered this on May 21, 2012. According to the report, about 50 American soldiers threw their service medals in the street in protest of NATO and the US-led fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. A soldier named Zach Laporte, who served in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, was quoted as saying that though the medals were supposed to be for acts of heroism, he did not feel like a hero or that he deserved them. It is noteworthy that the person sporting the red scarf around his neck identified himself as Jake Laporte in the Democracy Now report. Laporte also appears in the viral video.

NBC News and People’s World reported that 40 to 50 soldiers had relinquished their medals with thousands of people having joined in this demonstration. The viral message exaggerates this number to 40,000.

Thus, American military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan threw away their medals in protest of the NATO summit in Chicago in 2012. A video of this demonstration was shared as recent on social media with a false claim of 40,000 American troops returning the medals.

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About the Author

Kinjal Parmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. However, her keen interest in journalism, drove her to pursue journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At Alt News since 2019, she focuses on authentication of information which includes visual verification, media misreports, examining mis/disinformation across social media. She is the lead video producer at Alt News and manages social media accounts for the organization.