Barry Romo

  • Anti-war activist
  • National coordinator of Vietnam Veterans Against the War

Barry Romo is a national coordinator of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). He served in Vietnam for a year and then returned to the United States and joined the anti-war front. VVAW was founded in 1967 and, from its earliest days, portrayed U.S. troops as war criminals and the Communist aggressors in Vietnam as “naionalists” seeking peace. The group’s consistent anti-U.S. position remains undiminished even in this era of terrorism. Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, VVAW issued the following statement: “[O]ur country has to address the reasons behind the violence that has now come to our shores. The seeds of this anger and hatred were sown over many years. . . . As long as U.S. foreign policy continues to be based on corporate exploitation and military domination, we will continue to make more enemies.” After the U.S. deposed Saddam Hussein in 2003, Romo and fellow VVAW coordinators Dave Curry and Joe Miller accused the Bush administration of systematic deception: “The connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda still does not exist. The weapons of mass destruction still haven’t been found even though U.S. forces have access to the entire region through conquest. The imminent danger posed by nuclear weapons was fabricated. The complications of this tragic prefabrication are being played out with British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a major villain in his country.”

Romo further stated that the Iraq mission was in essence a betrayal of the reasons for which young American soldiers had joined the military. “These kids didn’t enlist,” he told the Communist Party organ, People’s Weekly World, “because they wanted to further Bush’s grandiose schemes or Cheney’s oil-Halliburton interests. . . . They wanted a chance to do some good, and to get some education and a job.”

VVAW’s leftwing politics makes the organization far more favorably disposed to the military and foreign policy decisions of Democratic, rather than Republican administrations. Thus when President Bill Clinton and NATO bombed Belgrade and Kosovo, Romo and his fellow coordinators issued a statement strongly supporting the action, blasting Republicans for not joining them in doing so [in fact, Republican congressional leaders did support the bombing and the war]. “Why is it,” the VVAW asked “that the Republicans, who have supported every military adventure in the last century, are now opposed to any effective attack on Milosevic? There is no oil in Kosovo. The lives of women and children have never really been a concern to the rich. The refugees are Muslims, though of white European descent. And the rich ruling class is split. Many of them support Milosevic as a local ‘strong man,’ much as their kind supported Hitler, Mussolini, Marcos, and Pinochet. . . .”