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December 15, 2006

1000+ Iraqi Troops Call For Withdrawal From Iraq
Posted by Ali Eteraz

It may not be Bush, the Senate, or the blogosphere, which decides if and when the troops come back from Iraq. It will be the thousands of twenty somethings out there fighting. 1000 and counting American troops, headed by a 29 year old Navy man, are calling for immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

The Nation breaks the story about these American refuseniks: 

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 next week 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.

   Here are what some of the soldiers are saying: 

"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.

So the troops want to leave. There won't be anyone to stop them from coming home. They didn't start the war; but they can end it. Looks like that's what they are doing. The fact that we no longer have a draft, though, cuts both ways when stuff like this happens. On one hand, in an all volunteer army -- like employment at will -- if you quit, its like you are resigning. When you volunteer, on the other hand, when you quit, there's nothing symbolic about it. You just quit your job. My sense is that questioning what the military is doing is more emphatic when civilians who have been drafted do it. I think these guys are really brave for standing up for what they believe in. However, they are likely just to get "fired." In that sense, the lack of a draft cuts both ways.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't say something about the Iraqis. When we leave, what will happen to them? Now that they are caught between a warlord of the Shia variety and warlords of the Sunni variety? Are we going to watch the Iraqis be crushed while we celebrate with those of our troops that have come home. What happens if post-departure Iraq becomes another Darfur. Will we intervene?

Originally posted @ Eteraz.Org


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Hurrah--this is what a lot of us have been working for. We knew that the forces of evil would never cease funding and ordering these atrocities, and that, like in Vietnam, it would be the troops that would say "no more." We have been working to bring them the truth about why they are risking their lives.

Yes, it's a little-known fact, but it was a rebellion in the ranks, characterized by a refusal of orders and fragging, that finally halted the Vietnam fiasco. Let's hope that this movement is successful. We need to redouble our efforts to get the truth out to the troops.

"War is a racket . . .the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives"--Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, double recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, 1935.


i'm curious. will your conscience be affected at all if we leave iraq and the sectarian violence only gets worse?

First, WE are not in Iraq. I am not in Iraq and neither are you, I presume. This is not just semantics. The US government, not us, is in Iraq, unlawfully.

Yes, my conscience would be affected positively if the US leaves Iraq.

1. I have had no part in starting or promoting this aggression against Iraq. I demonstrated against this war before it started and while it has been going on, and have spent a lot of time presenting a public case against it, particularly trying to reach the troops who suffer most. I would be most happy if the US left Iraq. I am in no way, repeat no way, responsible for unlawful acts perpetrated by someone else, and that includes the US government, so if there is a down side it's on the government and not on me.

2. The US illegal, brutal occupation of Iraq has included the wanton torture and killing of Iraqi citizens. The Lancet estimates that, based on valid statistical sampling, that there have been 650,000 additional Iraqi deaths from this war, twenty per cent of those by coalition (principally US) forces. A high percentage of those have been under the age of fifteen years. Two million refugees. Three thousand dead Americans.The US must stop it and leave.

3. As a result of the suffering the US has caused, a majority of Iraqis want us out, and a majority of those support attacks on US forces. Iraqis also hate us because we are in control of their country and they want their freedom. As President Bush said on November 30, 2005, our principal enemies in Iraq are ordinary Iraqis. Repeat, according to the President our troops are being killed and injured by ordinary Iraqis on the President's orders. How could stopping this affect my conscience negatively?

4. The sectarian violence in Iraq largely has been provoked and instigated by the US government, as I reported on another post, where I provided many details. I believe that if the US left Iraq then this violence would decrease, but in any case it would be up to the Iraqis. If they continue to kill each other, which they are doing in large numbers now with US forces present, then it doesn't matter if US forces are there or not because US forces are powerless to stop it.

5. The Iraqis didn't interfere in our civil war, as I recall. I have no sense of paternalism for Iraq, but then I'm not a hegemonist like you.

i'm curious. will your conscience be affected at all if we leave iraq and the sectarian violence only gets worse?

The sectarian violence has gotten worse every year we've been there. For three years we've actually used Kurdish and Shia forces to help us fight the Sunnis, which I'm sure hasn't improved ethnic relations.

Your concern for the Iraqis is touching, but the Bush administration doesn't share your sentiment. The fact that they're even considering an "80% solution" proves that.

It's the old, tired "bloodbath" argument that kept us in Vietnam seven years beyond when Americans knew it was a lost cause.

I've said it before and I'll say it again- if we want to win wars, we need to settle what our goal is up front. I am still mystified as to what our goal is in Iraq, now, apart from "winning".

The US goal in Iraq is to control that strategically-located country and its vast deposits of oil, and its water.

Again, that is not "our" goal. That is the US government goal, and "we" don't want to win this war, the US government foolishly does. (I am excluding myself in these pronouns but maybe not you.)

It would be interesting to hear what WWII or Korean war veterans were saying when they were in foxholes in Bastogne or the Chosin Reservoir. I bet they didn't want to be there either.

I hope before Don gets the "truth" out to the troops, he learns the difference between facts and theories. Service members are not as ignorant and uneducated as some might assume. True, experience does bias us, which is why hearing other perspectives is very valuable. But most service members will see right through baseless conspiracy theories.

Am I the only one who finds it distasteful to see fellow soldiers injecting themselves into a debate over the course of a war?

While my ETS looms and my deployment to Anbar is six months in the rearview mirror, I still find it not only odd, but constitutionally tricky, for us to be suggesting our status as troops legitimizes opposition to the war or this nation's policies.

We volunteered of our own volition and we serve at the discretion of Congress under the authority of a Commander in Chief to protect the Constitution. While we don't surrender our right to have an opinion, we should weigh the manner in which we exercise that right while in uniform.

I also strongly doubt that this petition was the "brainchild" of anyone but IVAW, Military Families Speak Out or Veterans for Peace. At least, the marketing and the funding of the initiative bears their collective stamp.

With their active involvement (at least in my opinion) it sullies any true effort by the troops to communicate their frustration.

Siegfried Sassoon didn't need a gaggle of pacifists' help to write his letter to the Times.

Just my opinion.

Right on, being a service member does not make anyone's position against the war any more important. By being an active participant you may become better informed (or more biased), but it doesn't make your voice any more important.

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