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Troops Starting to Demand Withdrawal

Posted on Dec 15, 2006

Truthdig contributor Marc Cooper, writing for The Nation, uncovers a growing movement of active-duty soldiers who are petitioning Congress to begin the withdrawal of troops. A 21-year-old soldier serving in Iraq who signed the petition says of the war: “The well is so poisoned by what we have done here that nothing can fix it.”

The Nation:

“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.

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By Sean, December 19, 2006 at 3:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If protesting an amoral war is ‘treason’, then over 3000 US troops have given their lives for nothing.

Robert, you disgust me, why don’t you sign up and fight this war you cheerlead so vigorously? 

Giving up your 1st ammendment rights just because your half-wit president lied and cheated to start a war…that’s not America.

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By Robert, December 17, 2006 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Funny how someone stationed in Hawaii is throwing their “friends” in battle under the bus.

This type of writing does nothing but help the enemy and the author should be hung for treason.

Well done folks, the best ally the enemy has lives within our own borders…. more of your comrades die because your simple minds can’t see the reasons we are fighting. not for now but for the future….kind of the same reason we can’t fix the problems in dafur, or anyother hotbed of terrorism. Folks like you all keep the death toll high are ya happy?

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By jkoch, December 17, 2006 at 11:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People confuse anti-war sentiment with anti-loser grumblings.  60% of the “Bush is a dope” sector consists of people who are only unhappy about not winning.

About 30% of Americans still worship Bush.  Another 25% are disappointed with Bush as a coach, but still sympathetic to his aims of avenging 9/11 by stomping Aye-rabs.  Most of the officer corps is to the Right of Bush.  Most “grunts” are tired, but not ready to sign petitions, much less mutiny.  McCain will exploit this in 2008 to argue that the US did not go Right enough.  Plenty still thinks that the US is not winning simply because it has not tried enough.

McCain’s 2008 campaign argument will be that the US did not win because Pelosi and the Democrats lacked nerve.  Hillary will also campaign pro-war for fear of appearing soft or complicit in a failure caused by weakness.

The only thing that will shift this situation is the outright failure of a “surge” policy which presses troops to the limit to challenge the insurgency.  Thus, if Bush insists on ordering a charge of the light brigade, best that this happen.  To date, the core Neocons remain utterly unapologetic about anything, except failure to deliver victory.  Their ideology and formulas will not die unless given full opportunity to fail.  Otherwise, McCain or some other war-monger will simply persuade voters that has the huevos that W did not.

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By yours truly, December 16, 2006 at 8:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In regards to turning Election ‘08 into a plebiscite on TROOPS OUT NOW (Comment 42450), the only thing that could possibly prevent the outcome predicted would be that some rogue military/CIA operation is turned loose to carry out acts of terrorism, such as the bolulism attacks that were piggy-backed onto 9/11.  Fortunately there is a way to prevent such “official” acts of terrorism, and that’s for there to be, in solidarity with the American people,  a worldwide moratorium on violence.  Then there’d be no way that our government could get away with murder and mayhem, because the whole world would know that It had to have been our government since its terrorists would be the only ones still on the loose.  And for them the first commandment is never get caught. 

So how about that moratorium?.

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By Michael Funyan, December 16, 2006 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Glory be to the bomb, the rifle, and the grenade, for as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, war without end.  Amen.

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By Bukko in Australia, December 16, 2006 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You gotta sympathise with these soldiers who signed up for patritoic reasons and found out that they were being USED. And now they’re going to be thrown into the meat grinder for TWO SOLID YEARS just so that lying weasel Bushwit can say “I didn’t lose in Iraq. I never gave any order to retreat.” Imagine all the people who will be killed only for that: so this pathetic president can deny that he was a loser.

Will it take a military mutiny to stop U.S. troops from dying needlessly? The equivalent of a slowdown strike? Soldiers are trained not to think for themselves, which is a sad but necessary part of any task when part of the job is following orders that might get you killed. And the U.S. doesn’t necessarily want soldiers who are too politically active. Avoids those messy military coups…

But at what point does it become “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” (For those who didn’t have to study it in school, this is a poem about a British mounted regiment in the Crimean War which rode to their deaths in an impossible mission, because they were following a stupid order.) Do the U.S. troops have to keep getting picked off, one or three or five at a time, for two more years before this bastard Bush buggers off?

What about this? BUSH—RESIGN! GET OUT NOW! That way, you could say the U.S. was not losing when you left office. And history will be SO kind to you. You left a winner, you miserable putz. It was only the weaklings who came behind you who pulled out.

Let’s everybody say it. Impeachment’s too slow. BUSH OUT NOW! And next, the troops.

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By B, December 16, 2006 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well I must agree with the last soldier…“We rushed into the war on false assumptions, and now we might rush out just as falsely. “

However his other point is also just as valid…“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.”

This is a situation so delicate both can be more trap than cure.

This means to me that it is a situation we must gingerly feel our way out of. How do we do this? We start to try new tactics. We reinforce those that work and discontinue those that don’t.

There are plenty of fringe options as well. Many are scary (regional war, new terrorist states, worldwide war, etc.) and some are political (shut down the Iraqi gov. and start anew, take back operational control within Iraq followed by a renewed push against the militias, muj, and external forces).

We walk this tight rope due to our own fault. We MUST make it stop NOW. We must reign in Bush. We must open dialog with Iran, Syria, and N. Korea. We cannot allow a chimp (my apologies to the chimps) to run the nation when there are so many delicate issues to be dealt with.

Impeach, prosecute, rethink, and do what must be done. There’s my recipe for getting our heads out of our asses.


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By jon eden, December 16, 2006 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Troops fight in our name and at our (the body politic) behest, so their wanting to continue to fight is not really an issue in whether or not we continue to do so in any given situation.

On the other hand, when troops (in sufficient numbers) don’t want to fight, that is end of ball game—what you might call bottom up democracy, as if there could be any other kind.

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By yours truly, December 16, 2006 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

End the war anyone?  How?  We turn the 2008 election into a plebiscite on TROOPS OUT NOW, which begets us Congress and the presidency, whereupon, for his crimes against humanity, ex-president George W. Bush II goes on trial at the International Court of Criminal Justice.  And after that?  Empire collapses.  And then?  It’ll be up to us.

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By Kevo, December 16, 2006 at 8:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes, the saddest of all sad things in my life time has been the results of President Bush’s “pre-emptive strike” policy perpetrated upon the sovereign nation of Iraq. Mr. Bush, (and his advisors), has abased our whole way of life in his zealous execution of his war on “terror.” I think Americans are waking up to just what this war was all about - it has been an oil war!

I have nothing but heartfelt saddness for all our soldiers who have been put in harm’s way needlessly as this president calls a time out to decide what to do next. 

Mr. Bush, you are a dirty man! -Kevo

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By "controling the families of the dead", December 16, 2006 at 4:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow, the military and the wh is really trying to “control the families of dead soldiers”.  If I was that mother I would chisel the damn casket open and hire a carpenter to do same.  I would hire a medical examiner.  I would hire a photographer.  Whatever it took, these “criminals” would NOT control ME.  No way, no how!!!  I then would place a poster outside the funeral home for every Republican and Democrat Senator / House Member that STILL supports this war with his or her name on it.  Labeled “Murderer”!!!

““sealed to prevent a viewing of the badly damaged body parts,”“

John Wood’s family said the military support they received has made his loss at least bearable. Still, when Wood’s 12-year-old son wanted to place a letter to his father inside his casket, but couldn’t because it had been sealed to prevent a viewing of the badly damaged body parts, the pain was nearly too much.

“The cost is too high,” said Wood’s sister Shelley Cole. “I’m angry. I lost my brother over there. What it does to a family ... the cost is too high.”

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By Bert, December 16, 2006 at 2:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I’d like to see our troops home, and the people of Iraq run their own country. It’s going to have to happen eventually, better sooner than later…

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By busta, December 15, 2006 at 10:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great Journalism the lawsuit filled by the troops in October might have given them a clue.

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By mrJJ, December 15, 2006 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Surge of Troopers to Iraqi Theatre to begin…

Pentagon to move troops into Kuwait

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By Jim C, December 15, 2006 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I visited this Petition for Redress site. There’s nothing there to keep people who are not military members from signing as military members. Given that and The Nation’s propensity for being a left wing mouthpiece, I’m having a hard time believing that any of those listed in the article are anything other than anti-war protesters claiming to be military members.

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By HeadlessHessian, December 15, 2006 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Does not surprise me.  These young people had high expectations of saving fellow citizens. And they would have too had this jackass president not taken his eye off of the ‘wanted dead or alive’ bin Laden ball.  He lied, we all know it, and now these young folks are suffering for it.  And to add insult to injury, the entire muslim nation hates us.  Our allies are now ‘ex-allies’.  Live and learn America…‘I’m a uniter not a divider’ he said, liar!.  Let those words ring in our ears for decades to come, for we are paying for it now and will continue to pay dearly for this ‘cocky little texan idiot’.  If you are a working man/woman with a family or just a plain worker, you have no business voting republican.  Republicans will use you, and throw you into war and then abandon you when you come home by selling you to the corporations.  They will be more than happy to send your job overseas so you can work for WalMart at minimum wage, if that!!!  I use to be a republican precinct captain folks..many years ago..until I wised up and found out how much they lie and twist things.  Dems are no saints, but at least they try to keep the home front in some decent shape.  This country was in terrific shape in 2000.  Our election was stolen!!!!!!!
I hate this president with a passion.  I can’t wait for 2008 so we can kick the republicans again…bastards.  My sons best friend died from an IED in Iraq…I knew this kid since he was 8…cubscouts..boyscouts..I better stop.


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By Rodney Matthews, December 15, 2006 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We owe it to our troops to support them by bringing them home from this senseless unwinnable war. They have given all they could give.They are the only ones along with their families who made any sacrifices in the war on terror. We have no draft, no taxes were raised, the Bush and Cheney Cronies are becoming billionaires while our soldiers are dying. Now the some of our soldiers are realizing the truth. They are fighting in a civil war and getting killed by everyone in this every man for himself killing field. George Bush doesn’t care about the troops. He only cares about preserving his legacy as the war president, the decider as he calls himself.We will one day look at our nation and realize that fall of america as a superpower stsrted in november 2000. We will never get it back but George Bush will still be looking for his legacy.

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By Quy Tran, December 15, 2006 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This guy will be disciplined when telling the truth.

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