WASHINGTON (Reuters) More than 200 active duty U.S. armed service members, fed up with the war in Iraq, have joined an unusual protest calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, organisers said on Wednesday.
The campaign, called the Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq, is the first of its kind in the Iraq war and takes advantage of U.S. Defence Department rules allowing active duty troops to express personal opinions to members of Congress without fear of retaliation, organisers said.
"As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq," states the appeal posted on the campaign's Web site at www.appealforredress.org.
Convergence - something people in the Pacific Northwest know about when it comes to weather. I sense convergence in the growing discontent with Iraq invasion/occupation coming together from different factions.
U.S. Troops speaking strongly on their own behalf - 200 today and will be more tomorrow, and more the next day and more the next day:
Appeal for Redress
An Appeal for Redress from the War in Iraq
Many active duty, reserve, and guard service members are concerned about the war in Iraq and support the withdrawal of U.S. troops. The Appeal for Redress provides a way in which individual service members can appeal to their Congressional Representative and US Senators to urge an end to the U.S. military occupation. The Appeal messages will be delivered to members of Congress at the time of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January 2007.
The wording of the Appeal for Redress is short and simple. It is patriotic and respectful in tone.
As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq . Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home.
If you agree with this message, click here.
The Appeal for Redress is sponsored by active duty service members based in the Norfolk area and by a sponsoring committee of veterans and military family members. The Sponsoring committee consists of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, and Military Families Speak Out.
Members of the military have a legal right to communicate with their member of Congress. To learn more about the rights and restrictions that apply to service members click here.
Attorneys and counselors experienced in military law are available to help service members who need assistance in countering any attempts to suppress this communication with members of Congress.
Several members of Congress have expressed interest in receiving the Appeal for Redress.
Click here to send the Appeal to your elected representatives.
Growing number of US Soldiers speaking out in Resistance Actions taken by troops directly - Seven since Lt. Ehren Watada, Fort Lewis, WA, refused in June 2006 to deploy to Iraq citing his belief of illegal orders to an illegal war in his press conference in Tacoma in June 2006. Read more of his account, the charges against him and the progression for Lt. Watada since his first press conference at website; Thank You Lt.Ehren Watada
Spc Suzanne Swift (2)June 2006; Spc Suzanne Swift arrested at her mother's home in Oregon June 2006 for being AWOL and missing movement.Suzanne cites repeated sexual harrasment by her superior officers. Now confined at Fort Lewis, WA waiting court martial. Read more at website
Sgt Ricky Clousing (3) Aug 11, 2006; Sergeant Ricky Clousing, who grew up in Sumner, Wash., south of Seattle, served in Iraq as an Interrogator, returned, deserted, turned himself in at Fort Lewis, WA after giving press conference at Veterans for Peace conference at University of Washington in Seattle, WA on August 11, 2006. Read more of his account at Seattle Draft and Military Counseling Center website. Sgt Ricky Clousing
Spc Mark Wilkerson (4) Aug 31, 2006; Army Specialist Mark Wilkerson,held press conference to announce his plans to turn himself in to Fort Hood in Texas, after being AWOL (Absent Without Leave) for more than 18 months. Wilkerson, served in the 720th Military Police Battalion in Iraq from March 2003 to March 2004, went AWOL when his request for ‘Conscientious Objector’ status was denied by the Army in November 2004. Read more at his blog, Red, White & Blurry
Spc. Augustin Aguayo (5)Sept 26, 2006; After a two and a half year struggle with US Army to be recognized as a conscientious objector, Agustin Aguayo went AWOL (absent without leave) on Sept. 2, 2006 in order to avoid a forced (second) deployment to Iraq. On September 26th, Agustin, after holding press conference turned himself in to Ft. Irwin Army base. Later that day Aguayo was taken from the Frankfurt airport to the U.S. Army Confinement Facility-Europe in Mannheim, Germany, where he will be in pretrial confinement while Army officials review the evidence to determine the status of his case, according to 1st Armored Division spokesman Maj.Wayne Marotto." Read his blog account at blog
Darrell Anderson (6) Oct 3, 2006; Darrell Anderson, who deserted to Canada last year after being wounded in Iraq, wants to come home. Darrell Anderson,who sought refugee status in Toronto has decided to return home and face a possible court-martial. Oct 3, 2006 he turns himself in to military custody; on Oct 5, he was released from Ft. Knox with an "other than honorable" discharge without facing court martial.
article published by Kevin Tillman 'After Pat's Birthday' (7)Oct 19; 2006; Kevin Tillman, US Army veteran, brother of Pat Tillman who was killed in Aghanistan publishes article 'After Pat's Birthday' which gets reviewed by Randal C Archibold in
New York Times
excerpts from Mr. Archibold's Oct 23, 2006 review;
“Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes,” Mr. Tillman wrote in the 660-word essay
“Somehow,” Mr. Tillman added, “American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.”
In what are apparently his most expansive public remarks since the death of his brother at age 27, he also does not spare the American public, which he suggests too often relies on superficial gestures to support the troops instead of holding politicians accountable.
“Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a 5-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas or slapping stickers on cars or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet,” he wrote.
Mr. Tillman ended with a suggestion that the elections on Nov. 7 are an opportunity for people opposed to the war to send a message.
(Kevin Tillman joined the Army with his brother Pat Tillman in 2002, and they served together in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pat was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. Kevin, who was discharged in 2005, has written a powerful, must-read document - link )
Also see information provided at Iraq Veterans Against the War (www.ivaw.org)
IVAW supports war resisters and conscientious objectors. Learn more about service men and women who are presently refusing to participate in the occupation of Iraq.