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Re: Active Duty Soldiers Call for Iraq Withdrawal

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  • Gregory
    Greg, Great post! This is one of those under-reported stories about the war...I hope that this gets broad coverage in the mainstream press. In the summer of
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 19, 2006

      Great post!

      This is one of those under-reported stories about the war...I hope
      that this gets broad coverage in the mainstream press. In the summer
      of 2005 I met a guy who was AWOL and he told some stuff that made me
      feel there was a very active and irrate part of the military that did
      not care for the war. He was headed to Canada and a friend of mine
      was going part way and gave him a ride.

      Again, great post!


      --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...>
      > http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070101/cooperweb
      > December 16, 2006 (web only)
      > About Face: Soldiers Call for Iraq Withdrawal
      > Marc Cooper
      > For the first time since Vietnam, an organized, robust
      > movement of active-duty US military personnel has
      > publicly surfaced to oppose a war in which they are
      > serving. Those involved plan to petition Congress to
      > withdraw American troops from Iraq. (Note: A complete
      > version of this report will appear Thursday in the
      > print and online editions of The Nation.)
      > After appearing only seven weeks ago on the Internet,
      > the Appeal for Redress, brainchild of 29-year-old Navy
      > seaman Jonathan Hutto, has already been signed by
      > nearly 1,000 US soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen,
      > including dozens of officers--most of whom are on
      > active duty. Not since 1969, when some 1,300
      > active-duty military personnel signed an open letter
      > in the New York Times opposing the war in Vietnam, has
      > there been such a dramatic barometer of rising
      > military dissent.
      > Interviews with two dozen signers of the Appeal reveal
      > a mix of motives for opposing the war: ideological,
      > practical, strategic and moral. But all those
      > interviewed agree that it is time to start withdrawing
      > the troops. Coming from an all-volunteer military, the
      > Appeal was called "unprecedented" by Eugene Fidell,
      > president of the National Institute of Military
      > Justice.
      > The Nation spoke with rank-and-file personnel as well
      > as high-ranking officers--some on the Iraqi front
      > lines, others at domestic and offshore US military
      > bases--who have signed the Appeal. All of their names
      > will be made available to Congress when the Appeal is
      > presented in mid-January. Signers have been assured
      > they are sending a communication to Congress protected
      > under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act. The
      > Pentagon is powerless to take official reprisals and
      > has said that as long as active-duty personnel are not
      > in uniform or on duty, they are free to express their
      > views to Congress.
      > There are of course other, subtler risks involved. The
      > military command exercises enormous power through
      > individual reviews, promotions and assignments. But
      > that hasn't kept a number of signers from going public
      > with their dissent.
      > Navy Lieut. Cmdr. Mark Dearden of San Diego, for
      > example, enlisted in 1997 and is still pondering the
      > possibility of a lifetime career. "So this was a very
      > difficult decision for me to come to. I don't take
      > this decision lightly," he says. But after two "tough"
      > deployments in Iraq, Dearden says signing the Appeal
      > was not only the right thing to do but also gave him
      > personal "closure."
      > "I'm expressing a right of people in the military to
      > contact their elected representatives, and I have done
      > nothing illegal or disrespectful," Dearden adds.
      > Other interviews with active-duty soldiers, sailors,
      > Marines and airmen who have signed the Appeal for
      > Redress reveal an array of motivations. Here are
      > excerpts:
      > "Lisa"--20 years old, E-4, USAF, Stationed at Hickam
      > Air Force Base, Hawaii:
      > I joined up two weeks after I turned 17 because I
      > wanted to save American lives. I wanted to be a hero
      > like any American child.
      > I supported the war when I joined because I thought it
      > was justified. Only after my own research and the
      > truth coming out did I learn how wrong I was, how--for
      > lack of a better word--how brainwashed I was.
      > Now I know the war is illegal, unjustified and that
      > our troops have no reason for being there.
      > When I saw an article about the Appeal in the Air
      > Force Times I went online right away and signed it and
      > have encouraged others to do the same.
      > "Sgt. Gary"--21 years old. US Army. Deployed with 20th
      > Infantry Regiment, near Mosul, Iraq:
      > I joined up in 2001, still a junior in high school. I
      > felt very patriotic at the end of my US History class.
      > My idea of the Army was that you signed up, they gave
      > you a rifle and you ran off into battle like in some
      > 1950s war movie. The whole idea of boot camp never
      > really entered my head.
      > I supported the war in the beginning. I bought
      > everything Bush said about how Saddam had WMDs, how he
      > was working with Al Qaeda, how he was a threat to
      > America. Of course, this all turned out to be false.
      > This is my second tour, and as of a few days ago it's
      > half-over. Before I deployed with my unit for the
      > second time I already had feelings of not wanting to
      > go. When in late September a buddy in my platoon died
      > from a bullet in the head, I really took a long hard
      > look at this war, this Administration, and the reasons
      > why.
      > After months of research on the Internet, I came to
      > the conclusion that this war was based on lies and
      > deception. I started to break free of all the
      > propaganda that the Bush Administration and the Army
      > puts out on a daily basis.
      > So far in three years we have succeeded in toppling a
      > dictator and replacing him with puppets. Outlawing the
      > old government and its standing army and replacing
      > them with an unreliable and poorly trained crew of
      > paycheck collectors. The well is so poisoned by what
      > we have done here that nothing can fix it.
      > "Lt. Smith"--24 years old, 1st Lieutenant, US Army.
      > Deployed near Baghdad:
      > I cannot, from Iraq, attend an antiwar protest. Nor
      > could I attend one in the States and represent myself
      > as a soldier. What I can do is send a protest
      > communication to my Congressional delegate outlining
      > grievances I feel I have suffered. Appeal for Redress
      > gives me that outlet.
      > I am encouraged by the November elections, but still
      > wary. We rushed into the war on false assumptions, and
      > now we might rush out just as falsely. What troops
      > need now is a light at the end of the tunnel, not just
      > for this deployment but for all deployments. Bringing
      > everyone out this summer is too fast to be supported
      > by our Army's infrastructure. We would hemorrhage
      > lives if we do so. But so would we if we stay the
      > course.
      > I am encouraged by politicians who call for a
      > withdrawal by the conclusion of President Bush's term
      > in office. That seems a realistic timetable for me.
      > Mark Mackoviak--24 years old. US Army. Recently
      > returned from Iraq. Stationed at Fort Bragg, North
      > Carolina:
      > I joined the Army on September 23, 2001. I had been
      > out of school for a year when September 11 came
      > around, and I was supportive of our action in
      > Afghanistan. I wound up there a year later, and it was
      > pretty eye-opening to see how people live.
      > I was also in Iraq for about a year, deployed near the
      > International Airport, west of Baghdad. I was never
      > that supportive of the invasion. I thought the media
      > coverage of it was horrendous, really disgusting.
      > Just about everything I saw in Iraq reinforced my
      > views that it was wrong. The point that really hit me
      > was when the Asmara Mosque got blown up. I said, Wow,
      > this is really a civil war.
      > I really enjoy being in the Army, enjoy the
      > experience. I just happen to not support this war. I'm
      > very open about that. My buddies either disagree with
      > me or just pay no attention. But I get absolutely no
      > hostility. None.
      > "Rebecca"--26 years old. 101st Airborne, US Army. Just
      > returned from Iraq. Stationed at Fort Hood, Texas:
      > I joined in 2004. I was trying to go into the human
      > rights field, but it was very competitive. I was in
      > need of health insurance, and the Army seemed
      > feasible. Now it looks like I will be stop-lossed
      > until 2010.
      > I had strong feelings about the war, against it, but
      > I'm the type of person that wants to fully understand
      > both sides of the argument.
      > My experience in Iraq confirmed my views, but it also
      > gave me a more multifaceted view of things. I did see
      > some of the good things being done, but it seemed like
      > a Band-Aid on a gushing wound. Mostly I saw the
      > frivolity of the missions, the lack of direction, the
      > absurdity of the mission. You go out in your Humvee,
      > you drive around, and you wait to be blown up and get
      > killed by an IED.
      > About 40 percent of my unit were stop-lossed. Their
      > first mission was to take down Saddam and his regime,
      > and they seemed to understand that and agree with the
      > mission to take down a ruthless dictator. Now they
      > can't seem to understand why they are there, caught in
      > the cross hairs of a civil war.
      > I think it is safe to say that the majority of
      > soldiers are wondering what this grand scheme is that
      > we keep hearing about from those above us but that is
      > never translating down to the ground level.
      > Some politicians are starting to see that not only a
      > majority of Americans oppose to this war. Now they see
      > this very powerful statement of soldiers who have
      > already been on the front line and who are still in
      > uniform and are also opposed. None of them have been
      > where we have been, none of them have seen what we
      > have seen. It's time they do.
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