Re: Active Duty Soldiers Call for Iraq Withdrawal
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@...>
> 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
> 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
> "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
> 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
> 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
> 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.